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It’s easy to smile when you’re in Clonakilty, a pretty town of colourful streetscapes. What will put an even bigger grin on your face is the range of attractions around the area, from welcoming pubs with great live music and restaurants with impossibly tasty food to spectacular beaches and a history steeped in the legend of Irish civil war leader Michael Collins.
Of the many local beaches, Inchydoney is probably the most spectacular - a golden semicircle of powdery sand washed by gorgeous waves. For wonderful scenery, walk Long Strand (near Rosscarbery), with its trails through the Castlefreke dunes and its stunning beach. You could also visit Redstrand, Broadstrand, or the Warren.
West Cork is famous for the quality of its gourmet cuisine, but even if you are not into fine dining, you will be impressed by the quality of the regional food, prepared artfully by local producers and chefs. In Clonakilty, try Scannells for a delightfully fresh, reasonably priced lunch. Deasy’s Pub & Fish Restaurant serves fine, innovative food. Phoenix Bar & Bistro and the Malthouse Granary are also recommended.
Clonakilty black pudding is considered the finest in Ireland. Made to a secret recipe devised by Johanna O’Brien in the 1800’s, Clonakilty black pudding is something without which no full Irish breakfast would be complete.
Clonakilty’s Model Railway Village presents a miniature version of life as it was in the 1940's, with the old West Cork railway line serving the local towns. Scenes including busy market days are depicted in exquisite detail, and even the tea room is set in an old train carriage. You can also take a tour of Clonakilty aboard a road train called Choo Choo.
Clonakilty may be a relatively small town, but it has a range of pubs to suit all tastes. Scannell's serves delicious food and has a great beer garden, but the best place for live music is De Barras. For an excellent variety of craft beers, try the front bar in O’Donovans. Some claim that the best pint of stout in Cork is served in Con & Maura’s, a tiny old-world pub perfect for a quiet evening.
Explore the origins of the “Big Fella” in the “Michael Collins Triangle.” The most significant sites around Clonakilty associated with the Irish revolutionary are Woodfield, where he was born and raised; Beal Na mBlath, where he was fatally ambushed; and the Michael Collins Centre, which provides a comprehensive guide to his life and times.
Poised at the edge of a slender Atlantic inlet, Timoleague is a charming village dominated by the ruins of a 13th-century abbey. Established on the site of a monastery founded by St. Molaga (after whom Timoleague is named), the abbey is well worth visiting. The village also runs a lively harvest festival headlined by popular musical acts.
Travel back in time at Lios-na-gCon Ringfort in Darrara, Clonakilty, a reconstruction of a fort discovered on the site. Visit the underground souterrain (a storage and defence tunnel), the thatched central roundhouse, and the 10th-century fortified farmstead.
Galley Head Lighthouse offers panoramic views all along the Atlantic coast, from the Fastnet Rock to the Old Head of Kinsale. This is a noted spot for observing birds, whales, and boats.
A few kilometres from Clonakilty is Drombeg, arguably Ireland’s most famous stone circle. It consists of 17 pillar stones graded from two large portal stones, each 2 metres high. The site also contains a fulacht fiadh (communal cooking pit with a hearth).
3.6km from Clonakilty
This converted stone boathouse offers unique self-catering accommodation overlooking the bay near Clonakilty in County Cork. With its picturesque location, Clonakilty is an ideal destination for those who wish to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of city life.
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0.6km from Clonakilty
Conveniently located in the popular market town of Clonakilty in County Cork, this attractive self-catering townhouse offers 4 star accommodation. The family-friendly holiday home has three bedrooms, and bed linen is supplied free. The patio at the rear of the self-catering property is an ideal place for unwinding after a memorable day of sightseeing in the stunning surrounding area.
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0.3km from Clonakilty
Enjoy an exceptional standard of accommodation in Clonakilty, County Cork.
These centrally located, two-bedroom apartments are very well equipped and offer the visitor every modern comfort to make their stay in Clon more enjoyable. Clonakilty is a popular market town in one of Ireland’s most spectacular regions - West Cork.
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6.3km from Clonakilty
This delightful property overlooks Inchydoney Island. Located 5km from the busy market town of Clonakilty in County Cork, it has three ground floor bedrooms, separate kitchen, dining area and sitting room, bathroom with shower and oil-fired central heating. Pets are also welcome. This is a fantastic location for all the family. Take a stroll along the nearby beach of Inchydoney or play a round of golf in one of the area’s first-rate golf courses.
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