Historical Sites To See In West Cork

Check out our new blog post “Historical sites to see in West Cork”. West Cork boasts a rich and fascinating history.


No visit to Bantry could be considered complete without a visit to the stately Bantry House & Gardens. The White Family bought it in 1765 and was enlarged by Richard White, the 2nd Earl of Bantry, the Shelswell-White family now owns and lives in it, descendants of the Earls of Bantry. The house has an eclectic collection of tapestries, furniture and art treasures. The gardens were partly restored and are home to sub-tropical plants and shrubs. For more information visit www.bantryhouse.com


One of the important historical sites to see in West Cork is the Museum, which is located behind the fire station on Wolfe Tone square (open June – Aug, Tues & Thurs 10am – 1pm, Wed & Fri 2pm – 5pm). The Museum is the collection of the local history society – domestic paraphernalia, old newspapers and everyday trivia of every sort – which the curators willingly demonstrate with an entertaining blend of history and folklore.


Located in Ahakista, a memorial garden and sundial honour the memory of the victims of the 1985 Air India disaster. On the 23 June 1985, Air India Flight 182 was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of 9,400m and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace. It killed a total of 329 people, including 280 Canadians, 27 British and 22 Indians. Cork sculptor Ken Thompson sculpted the sundial and the people of Canada, India and Ireland donated it.


The centre consists of The Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition and The Lough Hyne Visitor Centre. The Famine Exhibition commemorates the tragic period in the 1840s that is known in Irish History as the Great Hunger. The Lough Hyne Centre explores the unique nature of this salt-water marine lake, Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve. For more information visit www.skibbheritage.com


Located on the outskirts of Kealkill village, the castle played a dramatic role in one of Irish History’s most exciting stories. In 1602, the castle’s owner, Donal Cam O’Sullivan Bere, led his followers past its gates on a march to Leitrim that would see him join the Flight of Earls from Ireland; that flight itself marked the end of Gaelic civilisation in Ireland. During the summer, the castle is open every day from 9am until 5pm. It can be opened at other times by appointment. For more information visit www.carriganasscastle.com


In 1812, life in Allihies changed utterly when a rich copper deposit was discovered in the area and the biggest copper mining enterprise in Ireland was established by the Puxley family which saw the Industrial Revolution spread its tentacles to this most remote corner of Ireland. Visit Allihies Copper Mine Museum and discover this extraordinary story of exemplary engineering coupled with less than exemplary social conditions. For more information visit www.acmm.ie


This stone circle is also known as ‘The Druid’s Altar’ and is a recumbent stone circle consisting of 17 (of which only 13 remain) closely spaced stones, situated near the village of Glandore. The circle is located on the edge of a rocky outcrop and has good views over the sea.


This Heritage Centre contains photographs and a military exhibition in a cottage theatre. Outside the centre, there is an ambush trail laid out, a one hundred meter section of road designed to look like a War of Independence/Civil War ambush site. For the visitor who wants to stand on the spot where history was made, they also offer the Michael Collins Tour, visiting all the important sites in the area. For more information visit www.michaelcollinscentre.com


Ringfinnen Garden of Remembrance-This garden is located in the townland of Ringfinnan, Kinsale, County Cork in the south of Ireland and is dedicated to the memory of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. Kathleen Murphy established this garden of Remembrance in November 2001. Kathleen grew up in Ringfinnan, Kinsale, County Cork which is located in the south of Ireland. Following her training as a nurse in England, she moved to New York where she worked as a staff nurse for 40 years at Lennox Hill Hospital


Bantry Museum consists of a collection of artifacts gathered by the Bantry Historical Society.  Among the exhibits are furniture, kitchen utensils, crockery, and other items from domestic life in Bantry long ago.

Newspapers record mundane events and trivia from Bantry’s past.  The curators entertain visitors with a mix of historical facts and local folklore.  You will also discover information about the failed French Armada invasion of 1796 that accompanied the Irish patriot Wolfe Tone. Opened June-Sept – currently closed for the Winter.


On 22 August 1922, during the Irish Civil War, Michael Collins, Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army, was killed in an ambush here by the Ryan Agents of Holycross anti-treaty IRA forces while traveling in convoy from Bandon. The ambush was planned in a farmhouse in Béal na Bláth close to The Diamond Bar.[2] Commemorations are held on the nearest Sunday to the anniversary of his death. There is a memorial cross (coordinates 51.81356°N 8.85651°W) standing at the site of the shooting of Collins. It is on a local road 1 km south of the village on a dirt road. A small white cross marks the spot where he fell.


Kilnaruane Pillar Stone is just 1 km from the Maritime Hotel. This curious monolith may not appear to be that interesting from a distance, but upon approach, you will find that the pillar stone at Kilnaruane bears some amazing 9th-century carvings. It is situated inside a low circular earthen enclosure that was once an early 6th-century monastic site. St Brendan or St Ruan may have founded the early monastic site, which can be found in the name of the townland. There are several other stone fragments scattered around the enclosure.

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