Top 10 Places To Visit In West Cork

Whether you like water sports, hiking, family days at the beach or fine dining West Cork has it all to suit everybody’s needs. At Blarney Woollen Mills we have created a top 10 list of places to see when visiting West Cork.

A wonderland of spectacular scenery, West Cork is the perfect getaway place for families, couples and friends with so much to do and see, no matter what the weather is like. A place with copious amounts of award-winning accommodation, restaurants, cafés and tourist attractions it is hard not to fall in love. 

1. Inchydoney

Located just outside the town of Clonakilty lies the perfect place to relax and unwind. Inchydoney is a small island in West Cork, connected to the mainland of Eire by two causeways. Inchydoney has a family friendly Blue Flag sandy beach, which is perfect for surfing. If you have never surfed before and want to try it, Inchydoney has a surf school located on the beach, suitable for all ages and levels of experience. The beach is overlooked by a 4 star hotel, the Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa. This award-winning hotel is Ireland’s most unique and serene retreats.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Inchydoney
Photo: Inchydoney



2. Baltimore

The maritime village of Baltimore is the ideal get-away place. The picturesque village overlooks the harbour and provides ferries to the neighbouring islands, Sherkin Island and Cape Clear Island. There are many activities to do in Baltimore such as whale watching, walking the Beacon for it’s breath-taking view and visiting the Castle for it’s Pirate exhibition. For lunch, you can sit outside in the sun and enjoy an open crab plate with a pint from Bushes Bar. For dinner, why not try the delicious pizza’s from La Jolie Brise. Complete with fishing boats and pleasure yachts this village is a must see. Warning, once you visit you’ll never want to leave.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Baltimore
Photo: Baltimore Beacon from

3. Kinsale

The yachting harbour of Kinsale is a quintessential gem on the coastal route of West Cork. With it’s higgledy-piggledy streets filled with amazing gift shops, craft shops and coffee shops it’s hard not to love this place. For scenery go to Charlesfort, a stunning fort located on the water’s edge. For dinner, you must try The Steakhouse for the absolute perfect steak, or Fishy Fishy for the most divine seafood.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Kinsale
Image: Kinsale

4. Mizen Head

This unforgettable place is located on the most Southwesterly point of Ireland, across the iconic Mizen Head footbridge. The cliffs of Mizen Head look over the Atlantic Ocean providing a view that will take your breath away. On clear sunny days, you can look out to sea and spot whales and dolphins. On foggy, misty days it transforms in to a mysterious and intriguing place. So what ever the weather Mizen head will not disappoint.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Mizen Head
Photo: Mizen Head

5. Garnish Island

West Cork Hidden Gems - Garnish Island
Photo: Garnish Island

Garnish Island is found within the harbour of Glengarriff, which is part of Bantry Bay in southwest Ireland. After a short journey on the water bus over to the island, which includes a trip to Seal Island where you can see a colony of seals, you are welcomed by gardens with stunning features that were planted over 100 years ago. Walk around this world-renowned island and see the various remarkable plants it has on show including exotic species.

6. Crookhaven

A sleepy fishing village near the sea, Crookhaven is a small haven in the southwest of Eire. A pint in O’Sullivan’s Bar wouldn’t go amiss with its historical pictures of the village upon the walls. The village is not far from the spectacular Barleycove beach, said to be the best beach in West Cork. An ideal spot for activities with the kids such as surfing, horse trekking, sailing and cycling.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Crookhaven
Image Source:

7. Sherkin Island

Just a 10 minute ferry away from the harbour of Baltimore is Sherkin Island. This unique island offers plenty for a great day out. With sandy beaches, walk paths, the Friary and pubs, it even has accommodation if you fancy staying a little longer. Enjoy lunch at The Islanders Rest whilst overlooking the magnificent view of the harbour. The busiest day of the year for the island is the Sherkin Regatta where you can watch the sea rowers and enjoy various activities, music and food stalls. Many of the residents of the island live off their craft and art work including paintings and book writing, all inspired by the tranquillity of the island, and you’ll feel just as inspired after your visit here.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Sherkin Island
Photo: Sherkin Island

8. Gougane Barra

Gougane Barra is known around the globe for its picture perfect wedding venue. St.Finbar’s Oratory is a small church built on an island, sitting on the lake, providing a very romantic and magical place. The national forest park is close by for scenic trails and hikes. If you’ve got green fingers, why not visit the nearby nursery
Future Forests
, which showcases an brilliant collection of the most extensive range of bare-root and potted plants in Ireland.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Gougane Barra

Photo: Gougane Barra

9. Lough Hyne

A unique seawater lake in West Cork just outside of the idyllic town of Skibbereen, Lough Hyne is a place that must be visited by wildlife and nature lovers. The lake homes various plants and animals, some very rare. A hike up the neighbouring woods gives you spectacular views of the lake, the Atlantic ocean and the surrounding landscape. For an unforgettable experience, try kayaking at night with Atlantic Sea Kayaking on one of their Moonlight Starlight tours.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Lough Hyne
Photo: Lough Hyne (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

10. The Irish Sky Garden

Through walking the gardens of the Liss Ard estate, located in the heart of West Cork, you will find the sensational Sky Garden, where famed artist James Turrell designed and constructed a crater. Within the Sky Garden the observer can see the sky at its best, without distraction. Every single detail has been carefully designed to give us the best experience of nature, and view of the sky. Almost like meditation, you immediately relax and take in the simple surroundings and appreciate the beauty of the Irish sky.

West Cork Hidden Gems - Liss Ard
Photo: Liss Ard Estate



Happy Holidaying!
The Blarney Woollen Mills Team


Useful links / Images sourced from:
Inchydoney |
Baltimore – The Beacon |
Kinsale |
Mizen Head |
Garnish Island |
Crookhaven – Barleycove beach |
Sherkin Island |
Gougane Barra |
Lough Hyne |
The Irish Sky Garden |


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