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Ballycotton County Cork
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Bantry Visitor Attractions


Bantry House & Gardens

Over 200 years ago, in the Winter of 1796, a formidable French Armada, inspired by Theobald Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen, sailed from Brest in France. Their purpose was to invade Ireland, put an end to British rule and establish an independent Irish republic. Almost 50 warships carried 15,000 soldiers to the Southwest of County Cork.

Stormy chaos reigned and with ship-to ship communication largely disrupted, the invasion foundered the fleet eventually turning about for home. Ten ships were lost..... One of these, the frigate Surveillante, was too storm-damaged to make the return journey to France. She was scuttled off Whiddy Island and has lain undisturbed for almost 200 years. Rediscovered in 1982, the Surveillante was declared an Irish National Monument in 1985 and the work began on its recovery, conservation and exhibition.

As the whole of Bantry Bay braces itself to mark the Bicentenary of this amazing episode with a packed calendar of events, take the time to discover all these which are held in the Bantry 1796 French Armada Exhibition Centre.

Immerse yourself in the epic adventure of 1796, which includes an individual sound tour, complete with accompanying music and sound effects, available in a choice of different languages. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a giant 1 to 6 scale model of the frigate in cross-section, showing her construction and the various activities that were happening on board, vividly illustrating life in the French Navy 200 years ago. A life-size "Wolfe Tone" is shown in his cabin and extracts from his journal help bring the whole epoch story to life as visitors are taken through the sequence of events that occurred during those fateful days and nights. The Exhibition Centre is both educational and entertaining. Visit the Bantry 1796 French Armada Exhibition Centre and Bantry House for a truly unforgettable experience. Tel: 353 027 50047, Fax: 353 027 50795


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