Baltimore to Kinsale
Your second day exploring Haven Coast will be a little less hectic as you can take your time to meander through the towns of Skibereen, Clonakilty and Kinsale. From here, you’re well placed to continue exploring County Cork, with Cork City a short drive from Kinsale. Other towns to explore near Cork City, are Blarney (home of Blarney Castle and the famous Blarney Stone), Cobh and Midleton.
Visit the market town of Skibereen
The beauty of Cork lies in its many towns and villages, and West Cork’s capital town, Skibereen is one place that showcases this beauty both through its people and its surrounding landscapes. Make this popular town your first stop off as you travel from Baltimore. With many boutique shops in the town, you’ll be sure to pick up a gift or two as you head onward to Kinsale.
Skibereen is also a famous town in Irish history, with particular ties to the great famine of the mid 1800’s as the town was one of the worst hit places in Ireland. The Great Famine Exhibition at Skibereen Heritage Centre shares the sorrowful story, while the mass graves at Abbeystrewry is the location of almost 10,000 burials from the famine. Indeed, you can find out more about Irish history and folklore at Skibbereen Heritage Centre.
Other highlights of Skibereen include the towns historical walking tour, which takes in sites of the famine, the West Cork Art Centre, the Sky Garden and Castletownshend, while the nearby Lough Hyne is home to Ireland’s first marine nature reserve (and is also Europe’s largest salt lake). If you’re visiting Skibereen on a Saturday, be sure to stop by the popular farmers market, and with over 20 pubs in the town, you’ll never be stuck for places to enjoy a pint and the ‘craic’ should you decide on an extended stay.
Next stop, Clonakilty
Continue your trip along Haven Coast as you make your way from Skibereen to Clonakilty, the home of famous Irish rebel Michael Collins. Collins’ family home is now a tourist attraction in Clonakilty, while his statue is also a popular spot for visitors to the town to stop for a photo. Historians among Like Skibereen, Clonakility is a great town for shopping in, with a number of quirky fashion and craft shops enabling you to pick up something a little bit different. Be sure to visit Spillers Lane where you’ll get a good variety of goods.
With award winning food producers and amazing Blue Flag beaches nearby (Inchydoney Island is particularly popular with the locals), Clonakility gives you another taste of South West Cork, and will leave you wanting more. The weekly farmers market, and popular Jungle City and Model Railway Village will also give you plenty to do on your travels, especially if travelling with young kids. Surfing, kayaking and diving are popular water-based sports around Clonakility, while the nearby towns of Bandon, Lisselan, Dunmore and Kinsale are great for golf. Speaking of Kinsale, onward to your final stop on Haven Coast.
Relax and unwind in wonderful Kinsale
You final stop along Haven Coast is one of the finest towns along the Wild Atlantic Way, the beautiful town of Kinsale. Recognised as the gourmet food capital of Ireland, let your palette go on a food journey like no other. Foodie fans should consider visiting Kinsale at the start of October as this is the date of the annual Kinsale Gourmet Festival, while the town has an amazing array of award winning restaurants, cafes and local food producers.
There’s more to Kinsale than food and drink though, with activities aplenty in this part of Cork. Kinsale is near a number of Blue Flag beaches including Garrylucas and Garrettstown, while cycling, surfing, sailing and kayaking are all popular here. Get to know the town by enjoying one of the many walking tours, while the Old Head Golf Links Course challenges even the best of golfers.
Some of the most famous landmarks in Kinsale include the Old Head of Kinsale, a signature point of the Wild Atlantic Way (home to Old Head Lighthouse), while the impressive Charles Fort and James Fort will help tell the story of times gone by in the town. Desmond Castle & International Museum of Wine is another popular landmark in the heart of the town, while the marina and harbour area, and wide variety of shops and galleries will ensure you’ll have lots to see and do on your final leg of Haven Coast.