Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Our Cork Adventures ~ The Conclusion in Fabulous Clonakilty & Castletownbere!

To conclude Our Cork Adventures I’ll tell you about four other great places to visit on a budget while in West Cork. After a run around playing with the kids that lived in the field beside our holiday home in Clonakilty we set off for the day to Kinsale. I say kids as they were literally kids, baby goats! They tried their best to eat my daughters top, much to her disgust but uproarious laughter from the her brothers and sister. 

Charles Fort ~ Kinsale

It’s a relatively short drive of 45 minutes to the harbour town of Kinsale from Clonakilty. We decided to visit Charles Fort as my husband is a military history nut. Charles Fort is located in Summer Cove, Kinsale. Construction began in 1677 & took 5 years to complete during the reign of King Charles II. The Fort was designed in a star shape by Sir William Robinson to resist attack by cannon; he also designed the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Charles Fort remained occupied by the British Forces until 1921 when it was signed over to the Irish during the Anglo-Irish Treaty but before they left they ensured they burnt nearly every building within the Fort. 

It is now operated by the OPW; they have done great work in reconstructing parts of the buildings. There are lots of grassed areas for children to run about & have fun; we spent ages exploring the old buildings. The views are amazing from all around the Fort but it can get quite windy even on a summer’s day, we were glad to warm up with a hot chocolate in the onsite cafe. Admission is Adult €4, Child €2, Family €10 or if you go on the first Wednesday of the month admission is free as with all OPW run heritage sites with the only exception of Muckross.  

Glenview Gardens ~ Enniskean

When we are staying in Ireland, I sometimes like to take a drive just to see what we’ll find by following the brown tourism signs; it was on one of these meanders around Cork that we found a hidden gem. Glenview Gardens in Enniskean, a 20 minute drive from Clonakilty, home to Irelands only Hobbit House. It’s a 3 acre garden lovingly grown over 25 years by David & Mary Tanner on West Cork’s Garden Trail. There are lots of mini gardens within Glenview such as a Japanese garden, bog garden & white garden there’s even a canal & pond. 

Our children loved the birds in the aviary; they have about 40 birds of differing breeds. We spent over an hour having a ramble around. I didn’t tell the children about the Hobbit house, I just let them stumble across it themselves. They were delighted with it, even more so when they realised you could go inside to explore the little two bedroom house. Tea rooms are located at the back of the garden with an honesty box to pay, very quaint & very Irish! Admission is Adults €5 & Children €2 with no discounted family tickets available.  

Castletownbere ~ West Cork

We’ve family in Castletown-Bearhaven so a visit is a must every time we’re in Cork. If you haven’t been I’d highly recommend a trip to Castletownbere, it’s a beautiful fishing town waaaay out West Cork. Pop into MacCarthy’s Bar on Main Street for a lemonade in the snug. If you haven’t read Pete McCarthy’s hilarious bestseller McCarthy’s Bar you can purchase it here for €10. You can also purchase A Doctor’s War detailing the amazing true life story of Air Commodore Joseph Aiden MacCarthy OBE GM, an Irish Doctor serving in the Royal Air Force who was captured & interred in a Japanese POW camp. 

His daughter Adrienne still owns MacCarthy’s Bar, be sure to say Hi! Bere Island is one of the few Islands that can be accessed via car ferry, so you can bring your car over for the day to explore the Island with the stunning backdrop of the mountains of the Beara Peninsula. Just a little warning though so you won’t be caught short, there are no ATM’S or petrol stations on the Island.

Waterfall Alpaca Farm ~ Drimoleague (Alpaca my bag!)

On the hour & a half drive out to Castletownbere from Clonakilty we decided to drop into Drimoleague to visit Waterfall Alpaca Farm. You can see Alpacas, sheep, hens, donkeys & giant rabbits. Get this you can even walk an Alpaca on a leash around part of the Drimoleague Heritage Walkway! Unfortunately when we visited the Alpacas were still being trained but we most definitely will be back to bring some on a walk.

Be sure to catch up on our previous Cork escapades HERE but tell us ~ 

Have you been to West Cork? Did we miss anywhere?

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