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Ireland » Cork  » Clonakilty »

Winner of Irelands Tidiest Town

Clonakilty is a  busy market town in West Cork located close to several popular seaside resorts such as Inchadoney and Owenahincha.Click to EnlargeWith its beautifully maintained floral displays in the Summer Clonakilty is a joy to explore. Local planning authorities have encouraged the use of traditional hand painted signs with a special emphasis on the Irish language on business premises in the town. For a town of its size, the very grand Roman Catholic Church is  very impressive, with fine glass and mosaics.

Clonakilty's history can be traced back to the 1300's and traces of the towns heritage can be seen in many of its buildings today. The fine 19th century mill buildings which have been nicely adapted for modern use, and now houses the town library and County Council offices. The mills supplied the large distillery owned by the Deasy family in 1800, they were also big seafearers in their time and hence the Quay named after them Deasy's Quay. Clonakilty would have had played a large part in the brewing and bottling history and also the linen industry with many looms located in Clonakilty in olden times. Nearby, a small disused Presbyterian Church has been put to good use today as the local post office!

Clonakilty has everything for the visitor with several fine cafes and restaurants serving excellent local produce and live music in a number of pubs by night especially, An Teach Beag music venue next door to  the history rich O'Donovan's Hotel. There are lots of shops to keep the family occupied ranging from popular clothes boutiques, gourmet shops, café's and delicatessens, galleries, antique, surf shops, book and craft shops. Spiller's Lane has several shops in this lovely rustic courtyard area to explore.

This part of West Cork is an area of good fertile land and has a range of local artisan food producers in the area the best known being Clonakilty Black Pudding,  smoked fish from the nearby Woodcock Smokery in Skibbereen, Gubbeen Cheese and Farmhouse Products near Schull and the well know Irish yoghurts and cheesecakes supplied by Glenilen Farm in Drimoleague and breads from the West Cork Bakery in Dunmanway.

West Cork Model Railway Village is located a  short distance from Clonakilty town ideal for all the family and includes a reproduction of the West Cork Railway and industrial development in the area during the period of World War II. Clonakilty also has a cinema in the town centre.

Michael Collins, one of the great heroes of the 1916-1922 period, was born at Woodfield, near here. He was General of the Free State Army, and his dynamic and powerful personality made him a legend in his own lifetime. The small West Cork Museum in Clonakilty has many mementos of the hero. The memorial to him at Sam's Cross was unveiled by General Tom Barry, himself a prominent figure in the Republican Movement.

Clonakilty listing of things to see and do:

From Clonakilty westward the coast becomes bolder and more rugged, the sea carving deep inlets and bays as it rolls in from the Atlantic. Clonakilty is close to some of West Corks most wonderful costline area with the Galley Head, Seven Heads and Old Head coastal points all within close proximity by car. Ardfield is a hidden little jem just over 15 minutes drive from Clonakilty it is well located for some of West Cork's great beaches such as Red Strand and Dunnycove. Galley Head headland where Galley Head Lighthouse proudly stands, with the wild Atlantic Ocean to the fore is a stunning sight, Dunowen, Castlefreke and Owenahincha are all areas close by well worth exploring.

Take some time to visit the Rathbarry village which is beautifully kept and a Tidy Towns winner and visit Rathbarry Museum beside the Rathbarry Post Office and visit Lady Carbery's Well, and the lovely restored Sprigging School Cottage (sprigging being a type of lace), St. Michael's Church and across the road for some great views of Castlefreke, its castle and Celtic Cross and further down along another viewpoint offering views of Galley Head, Toe Head and Mount Gabriel.

Castlefreke with its large wooded area is a good area for a walk, where you will see the 1700's wall remains of Lord Carbery's estate, Castlefreke Castle and Celtic Cross and Rathbarry Church and Castle.  The area around Clonakilty and surrounding areas in West Cork has many little coves, bays and beaches waiting to be explored such as Dunee, Dunneycove, Broad Strand, Dirk Cove, Mill Cove, Sands Cove, Red Strand and Long Strand great beach with its sand dunes and Dunworley and the well know beach at Inchydoney.

Clonakilty is just over an hours drive from Cork Airport so why not come and visit us here in West Cork. Take some time out to breath the fresh air, visit some wonderful open gardens, historical sites, take a stroll up some quite country lanes, watch the farmers going about their seasonal work,  take a picnic to a little cove or bay, join friends for some West Cork Surfing or swimming on its many beaches, take in some golf and with this wealth of things to see and do just a short drive away you have to visit Clonakilty, see you there....

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Last modified: Thursday September 26, 2013
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