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A West Cork hub, Skibbereen translates as “little boat harbour,” after the River Ilen, which flows through the town on its way to the sea at Baltimore. A lively hub of culture, food, and activities, Skibbereen is a great place to base yourself as you tour West Cork.
Taking place in early September, A Taste of West Cork Food Festival celebrates West Cork’s status as a centre of excellent food by attracting a distinctive combination of markets, demonstrations, cookery competitions, banquets, tastings, talks, exhibitions, children's events and more to Skibbereen.
This July event delivers a busy week for children of all ages in Skibbereen. Workshops take place in music, dance, cycling, archery, photography, hair, baking, flower arranging, arts & crafts, and family art. Other attractions include a talent show, sandcastle competition, fancy dress disco, treasure hunt, and teddy bear's picnic.
Listed as one of the top 3 “cycle hub towns” in the country, Skibbereen has a range of cycling trails to suit all abilities. Bike hire and maps are available in the town centre, with routes taking in some spectacular mountain and coastal scenery.
West Cork Arts Centre is a publicly funded arts facility that opens up the world of the arts for the people of West Cork. Focusing chiefly on the visual arts, it offers unique opportunities to experience and work with real artworks and live artists.
Lios Aird means “high fort” in Irish, and these gardens are situated on the original site of a ring fort and souterrain with an impressive outlook over the surrounding landscape. The 150 acres of gardens, ponds and forest create an atmosphere of tranquility and openness. Access to the gardens is free.
Skibbereen Heritage Centre is housed the award-winning, sensitively restored Old Gasworks Building in Skibbereen. One of its chief exhibits is the Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition. It is also home to the Lough Hyne Visitor Centre.
Tragumna and Tralispean beach both lie within easy reach of Skibbereen, although Tralispean is not as easy to find. Both are safe and child friendly. Tragumna is near a pub, and Tralispean is a great place for a picnic.
Held in Fairfield car park in the town centre, Skibbereen is a great place to pick up tasty, locally produced fruit, vegetables, baked goods, preserves, fish, meat, and cheese, as well as some interesting locally made crafts.
Lying 5km south-west of Skibbereen is Ireland’s first marine nature reserve. Fed by Atlantic tidal currents, the small lake contains an unusual habitat of highly oxygenated, warm seawater that supports a massive range of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the country. Visit the Lough Hyne visitor centre in Skibbereen before you go.
Enjoy spectacular views of Lough Hyne on this challenging walk to the summit of Knockomagh Hill (197metres). It’s an hour-long trek up a steep incline, but the panoramas to be relished when you stop for breathers make it worth the effort.
7.3km from Skibbereen
Enjoy a charming seaside location overlooking Sandycove Bay, with fantastic views of cliffs and the ocean. You are close to a sandy beach, ideal for rock angling, swimming, windsurfing, and cliff walks. This three-star property has three bedrooms (two double and one twin) and can sleep six people. Its kitchen/dining room has every modern convenience and offers fabulous views. There is a small utility room with a washing machine and tumble dryer.
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1.3km from Skibbereen
Stay at a small and exclusive holiday home development in a delightful location overlooking the River Ilen on the Schull Road in Skibbereen, West Cork. It takes just 5 minutes to walk from the property into Skibbereen Town.
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