Last Updated: 1st September, 2018
Leap pronounced "Lep" by the locals is from the Irish translation of "Leim Ui Dhonnabhain" to "O Donovans Leap". This is so called because a person of that name is reputed to have jumped across the ravine at the bottom of the village.
There is an old saying "Beyond the Leap, beyond the law", indicating that the territory West of Leap, was a haven for political refugees on the run. They could not be easily followed past the Leap, until the ravine was bridged when the present Cork-Skibbereen Road was built in 1812-1815.
After the battle of Kinsale 1601, the English under Captain Fowler devastated the area. Carew, on his march to Dunboy, noted in his diary April 26th 1602, "we departed over the Leap".
Two famous Churchmen associated with the parish were Dr. Thomas Herlihy, Bishop of Ross and Father John Power, Parish Priest of Leap. The Bishop, reputed to have been born in the parish, was one of the three Irish prelates to attend the famous Council of Trent in 1562. On his return he was seized and imprisoned by the Queen's soldiers. Fr. John Power, who died in 1831, had the reputation of being a miracle worker.
At the Abbey Cemetery in Rosscarbery, his tomb is still a place of pilgrimage on St. John's Eve. The present St. Mary's Catholic Church in Leap was built under the supervision of Father Joseph Sheahan, during famine times. The Church of Ireland in the centre of the village was built in 1828.
Leap boasts a fine all-weather harness racing track, the J.W. Goulding Community playing field, tennis court and playground as well as an excellent selection of shops, pubs, dining facilities and comfortable accommodation. There are very fine fishing facilities locally, both sea and trout fishing on the many lakes. This beautiful part of West Cork Leap, Glandore and Union Hall has been popular with many tourists all through the years. Leap is just a few minutes drive to Glandore, Union Hall, Rosscarbery and a little further west is Skibbereen.