Shore Excursions – Glengarriff and Bantry
Scenic Bantry Bay includes not one but two harbours – Bantry and Glengarriff, both with a long tradition of welcoming discerning cruise ship visitors.
These towns epitomise the best of West Cork, offering visitors a mix of traditional and cosmopolitan, culture and history, rugged mountain scenery and sparkling coastal towns and bays nestled along the Wild Atlantic Way.
People here value the good things in life. It feels warm-hearted and kind. It’s a place that takes its time and helps to slow us down.
These wonderful Glengarriff Shore Excursions will showcase some of the best of our region.
Top Glengarriff and Bantry Shore Excursions:
Bantry House & Gardens
Stunningly situated on the southern shores of Bantry Bay and surrounded by formal gardens, this 18th century mansion was once the home of the Earls of Bantry.
It contains an eclectic mix of furnishings, paintings, artefacts and antiques from around the world, gathered by the 2ndEarl and his wife as they travelled on their grand European and Russian tour in the 1820’s. A pair of tapestries made to celebrate the marriage of Marie Antoinette to the Dauphin of France adorns the drawing room.
Situated in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff, this garden paradise has a history dating back 100 years. Its renowned gardens are laid out in beautiful walks and feature a Martello Tower, a Grecian Temple and Italian Gardens and specimen plants which are rare in this climate. Seal Island is included in the short ferry ride and watch out for the resident, nesting White Tailed Sea Eagles.
Gougane Barra – the Island Oratory in the Lake
In the 6th century, in this inspiring, very beautiful location situated in the heart of a peaceful valley, legend has it that St. Finbarr, patron saint of Cork, was led by an angel to the source of the River Lee, Here, he founded a monastery, the remains of which and its ancient prayer cells can still be seen.
Today, a tiny oratory built on an island, surely one of Ireland’s most photographed, greets the visitor as they arrive to this breath-taking place.
Ring of Beara
The Beara Peninsula’s spectacular scenery is framed by the Caha Mountains that form a spine along the peninsula and its remote beaches and rugged coastline on either side.
This less well known of Ireland’s “Rings” rewards visitors with a mixture of market towns and working fishing ports, colourful villages and the spectacular winding Healy Pass connecting Cork and Kerry. It boasts more ancient monuments than anywhere else in Ireland.
Skibbereen Heritage Centre and Lough Hyne
Skibbereen Heritage Centre tells in detail the story of the impact of the Irish Famine of 1841, recognised now as the worst humanitarian disaster of 19th century Europe.
The story is told through engaging audio visual and pictorial illustration and complemented by the wonderful local historians and guides who take much pride in sharing with visitors. It is an interesting, award winning experience for young and old alike and vividly brings to life this defining time in Irish history when 1 million people perished and another million emigrated.
Also in the Heritage Centre is an introduction to nearby Lough Hyne, Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve which is located just 5kms from here. Nestled amongst scenic hills, the marine lake is fed from the sea via a narrow channel known as The Rapids.
Pirate Trails in Baltimore & Sherkin Island
Baltimore today is a small village of high quality pubs and restaurants with many of them situated overlooking the harbour. It is chocolate box gorgeous.
It was the site of the so-called Sack of Baltimore, in the 1600’s when 100 inhabitants were taken away in an early morning attack that was to become the worst pirate raid ever to take place in Europe. Follow the Pirate Trail today with a local historian guide.
Sherkin Island, a short ferry ride away, is an artists’ colony. Meet the artists at work in their studios. Visit the ruined Franciscan Abbey dating back to the 1400’s and stroll along beautiful, unspoilt beaches.
Visit the West Cork Islands
Seven inhabited islands and one garden paradise, West Cork’s Islands are strung like jewels along the Southwest shoreline.
They’re the perfect places to explore the landscape, seascape, heritage and culture of beautiful West Cork.
Heir, Bere, Sherkin, Whiddy, Dursey, Long and Garinish offer fantastic activities and intriguing histories. Shaped by the Atlantic waves and their unique island histories, they are fascinating places to experience the exhilarating power of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Ewe Sculpture Garden & Gallery
The Ewe Sculpture Garden – Ireland’s Eden - is a must see for anyone interested in art, nature or just a totally unique experience; the perfect destination for a memorable day out.
Set along a spectacular waterfall it is a journey like no other. Slowly explore the meandering pathways and hidden corners. Take the Evolution Walk through the Valley of Eden, wend your way past humorous sculptures, and discover a surprise at every turn.
Wild Atlantic Way Adventure and Activities
This stunning area provides a natural playground whether on land or on water. And there are award-winning adventure and activity providers that are looking forward to welcoming you.
Whale watching www.whalewatchwestcork.com and www.corkwhalewatch.com