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Discover Ireland's hidden gems on 25 leisurely drives through the country's diverse landscape-from Belfast

and the rugged Mourne Mountains to the magical Ring of Kerry.

The book is packed with practical information for exploring the 32 counties of Ireland, including zip codes

for use with GPS, rules of the road, driving tips, and ideas for outdoor activities, stunning walks, and

whiskey-tasting. There are also recommendations for the best-value hotels and restaurants specializing in

regional produce.

Twenty-five themed drives, each lasting one to five days, introduce travelers to the soul of Ireland — from

the golden beaches of Cork and the spectacular Sheep's Head peninsula to the bushy glens of classic Northern Ireland and spellbinding caverns of the lakelands. Along the way, these driving tours of Ireland highlight day trips and activities such as walks and hikes, bird-watching and beach strolls, islands and lighthouses, and children's attractions. Pass by ancient stone circles and megalithic tombs, Celtic crosses, medieval castles, and stately homes.

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Published by Read My eBook for FREE!, 2020-02-26 00:13:06

(DK Eyewitness) Back Roads Travel Guide - Ireland

Discover Ireland's hidden gems on 25 leisurely drives through the country's diverse landscape-from Belfast

and the rugged Mourne Mountains to the magical Ring of Kerry.

The book is packed with practical information for exploring the 32 counties of Ireland, including zip codes

for use with GPS, rules of the road, driving tips, and ideas for outdoor activities, stunning walks, and

whiskey-tasting. There are also recommendations for the best-value hotels and restaurants specializing in

regional produce.

Twenty-five themed drives, each lasting one to five days, introduce travelers to the soul of Ireland — from

the golden beaches of Cork and the spectacular Sheep's Head peninsula to the bushy glens of classic Northern Ireland and spellbinding caverns of the lakelands. Along the way, these driving tours of Ireland highlight day trips and activities such as walks and hikes, bird-watching and beach strolls, islands and lighthouses, and children's attractions. Pass by ancient stone circles and megalithic tombs, Celtic crosses, medieval castles, and stately homes.

EyEwitnEss tRAVEL


BACK RoADS


IRelAnD





























































BR_IR_001_half-title.indd 1 23/10/09 14:19:14

002-003_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 2 11/09/17 11:38 am

EYEWITNESS TRAVEL




BACK ROADS


IRELAND







Contributors

Donna Dailey, Brian Daughton,
John S Doyle and Yvonne Gordon















































002-003_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 3 11/09/17 11:38 am

CONTENTS


ABOUT THIS BOOK 6

PUBLISHER Douglas Amrine INTRODUCING IRELAND 8
LIST MANAGER Vivien Antwi GETTING TO IRELAND 10 Above The Belfry Tower, known as the Yellow Steeple, of
MANAGING ART EDITOR Jane Ewart St Mary’s Abbey on the River Boyne
EDITORIAL Michelle Crane, Alastair PRACTICAL INFORMATION 12
Laing, Georgina Palffy, Fay Franklin, Drive 5
Dorothy Stannard, Vicki Allen, DRIVING IN IRELAND 16 VIKING COUNTRY
Justine Montgomery
ART EDITORS Shahid Mahmood, WHERE TO STAY 22 Waterford City to
Kate Leonard, Maite Lantaron WHERE TO EAT 24 Ballymacarbry 70
PRODUCTION CONTROLLER 3 days
Linda Dare THE DRIVES 28
PICTURE RESEARCH Ellen Root,
Rhiannon Furbear Drive 1 Drive 6
DTP Jason Little, Jamie McNeill KILKENNY’S MEDIEVAL
CARTOGRAPHY MANAGER A TASTE OF EAST CORK TREASURES
Uma Bhattacharya Cork City to Youghal 30
SENIOR CARTOGRAPHIC EDITOR 2 days Kilkenny City to Carlow
Casper Morris Town 78
CARTOGRAPHY Drive 2 1–2 days
Stuart James, Schchida Nand Pradhan
JACKET DESIGN ISLANDS AND LIGHTHOUSES
Tessa Bindloss, Meredith Smith Kinsale to Macroom 38 Drive 7
ILLUSTRATIONS TIPPERARY’S HOLY GLEN
Arun Pottirayil, Pallavi Thakur, 4–5 days
Dev Datta Cashel to Clonmel 86
Drive 3
Printed and bound in China 2–3 days
First published in Great Britain in 2010 by THE MAJESTIC RING OF KERRY
Dorling Kindersley Limited, 80 Strand, London Kenmare to Killarney 50 Drive 8
WC2R 0RL. THE SUNNY SOUTHEAST
A Penguin Random House Company 3 days
17 18 19 20 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Enniscorthy to the
Reprinted with revisions 2013, 2018 Drive 4 Saltees 94
Copyright 2010, 2018 © Dorling 3 days
Kindersley Limited, London THE DINGLE PENINSULA
All rights reserved. No part of this publication Tralee to the Maharees Drive 9
may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in any form or by any means, Peninsula 60 CARLOW’S HIDDEN TREASURES
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording 2 days
or otherwise, without the prior written Tullow to
permission of the copyright owner.
A CIP catalogue record is available from the Bagenalstown 102
British Library. 2 days
ISBN 978 0 2413 0658 1
Jacket Dunluce Castle, along Causeway Coast, Ireland Below Iron Age Staigue Fort, near the village Below View from the narrow road
of Castlecove on the Iveragh Peninsula over the Coomakesta Pass, Co Kerry
















004-005_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 4 13/10/17 1:07 pm

Above Howth Marina, near Dublin, Above Thatched cottage in the fishing village Above The picturesque road curving
full of clinking yachts and pleasure boats of Skerries, on Dublin’s north coast down to Coumeenoole Bay, Co Kerry
Drive 10 Drive 15 Drive 20
LOUGHS AND LIGHTHOUSES VALLEY OF THE KINGS LEGENDS AND LAKES
Portumna to Tarbert 110 Drogheda to the Hill of Mullaghmore to Lough
2–3 days Tara 154 Key 198
3 days 4–5 days
Drive 11
LYRICAL CLARE Drive 16 Drive 21
Ennis to the Burren 120 HEART OF THE LAKELANDS DRAMATIC DONEGAL
2–3 days Athlone to Strokestown Newmills to
Park House 162 Rossnowlagh 210
Drive 12
2 days 4–5 days
THROUGH THE SALLY GAP
Enniskerry to Mount Drive 17 Drive 22
Usher Gardens 128 CONNEMARA AND ITS THE FANAD PENINSULA
3–4 days LOUGHS Ramelton to Rosguill
Clifden to Cong 170 Peninsula 222
Drive 13 3–4 days
THE PLAINS OF KILDARE 2 days
Celbridge to Drive 18 Drive 23
Kilcullen 138 CONNEMARA’S COAST CLASSIC NORTHERN IRELAND
2 days Galway to Spiddal 180 Carrickfergus to Lough
3–4 days Neagh 230
Drive 14
Drive 19 5 days
DUBLIN’S NORTH COAST
Dublin to Ardgillan MAYO’S COASTAL SPLENDOUR Drive 24
Demesne 146 Westport to Doogort 190 THE LAND OF ST PATRICK
2 days 2–3 days Belfast to the Mountains
of Mourne 242
3 days
Drive 25
Below Hay bales in the pretty countryside Below The entrance to 400-year-old Trinity College,
around Skerries, near Dublin Dublin, Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious university FERMANAGH LAKELANDS
Belleek to Boa Island 250
2 days

INDEX 258


Title page: Horse-drawn caravan on the shores of
Doolough, Co Mayo Half-title page: Quiet country
road from Carran to Caherconnel in the Burren, Co Clare




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BR_IR_006-007.indd 6 30/07/12 2:10 PM
Back Roads LAYERS PRINTED:
Frontmatter “UK” LAYER
About this book & Introducing template (OpenType)
Date 24th March 2009
Size 145mm x 217mm
Fonts Myriad Pro

About this Book 7

About this Book



The 25 driving tours in this guide reflect the oldest cultures, glimpses of which can be found
fantastic diversity of Ireland. Although it is a in its mysterious prehistoric sites, its quaint
relatively small island – 488 km (303 miles) long stone villages and its ancient native tongue.
and 304 km (189 miles) at its widest point – it has These driving routes take visitors beyond the
an amazing variety of terrain. The landscape must-see tourist sights to lesser-known places
ranges from rolling green pastures and fertile that provide a more intimate experience of
fields to mountain peaks, dramatic coastline, the people, customs, architecture and cuisine.
sandy beaches, tranquil lakes (loughs), great Expect delightful surprises around every bend,
stretches of blanket bog and rocky peninsulas packed with the sights, sounds and flavours
jutting out to sea. Ireland has one of Europe’s of the real Ireland.


Getting Started dramatic landscapes of Connemara
The front section of the guide will and Donegal to Northern Ireland’s Using the Sheet Map
give you all the practical information stunning Causeway Coast. A pull-out road map of the entire
you need to plan and enjoy a driving Each drive begins with a list of country is supplied. This map
holiday in Ireland. It includes an highlights and a clearly mapped contains all the information you
overview of when to go and how to itinerary. There is advice on the best need to drive around the country
get there, advice on bringing your time of year to do the drive, road and to navigate between the
own vehicle or hiring one and details conditions, market days and major tours. All motorways, major
of any documentation required. In- festival dates. The tour pages contain roads, airports – both domestic
depth motoring advice ranges from descriptions of each stop on the route, and international – plus all the
driving rules to road conditions, from linked by clear driving instructions. ferry ports are also easily
buying petrol to breakdown or Side panels have information on the identified. This makes the pull-
accident procedures – the kind of most authentic places to stay and out map an excellent addition to
background knowledge that helps to eat. Tinted boxes feature background the drive itinerary maps within
make a driving trip stress-free. There information and anecdotes. the book. The pull-out map also
is information on money, opening Each drive features at least one has a comprehensive index to
hours, communications, health and mapped town or countryside help you find the places, and is
safety and other practical matters, as walking tour, designed to take a further supplemented by a clear
well as advice on accommodation maximum of two hours at a gentle distance chart so you can gauge
and dining options, to ensure that pace with stops along the way. the distances between the major
you experience the very best of The tours are flexible: some can cities in Ireland.
Ireland’s legendary hospitality. be linked to create a longer driving
holiday; or they can be dipped into
The Drives as day trips while based in a region.
The main touring section of the
guide is divided into leisurely drives,
ranging in duration from two to five
days. All the tours can be driven in a
standard vehicle, and no special
driving skills are required.
The drives encompass every region
of the country, from the gentle plains
of Kildare to the rocky peninsulas of
Cork and Kerry, from the remote and
Top far left Devil’s Pass near Lough Nafooey,
Connemara Top left Rainbow over West Cork
Centre far left Fishing boats in Cobh Harbour, Co
Cork Centre left Old-fashioned truck, Sheep’s
Head Peninsula, Co Cork Far left Dublin’s Temple
Bar area Left Baldoyle Beach, near Dublin Right
Road to Rossapena on the Fanad Peninsula




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Back Roads LAYERS PRINTED:
Frontmatter “UK” LAYER
About this book & Introducing template (OpenType)
Date 24th March 2009
Size 145mm x 217mm
Fonts Myriad Pro

Introducing Ireland 9

Introducing Ireland



With its quaint rural lanes, rolling green hills loughs of Galway and Donegal. Along their
and stunning mountain vistas and seascapes, leisurely way they pass by ancient stone circles
there can be few countries as rewarding for and megalithic tombs, Celtic crosses and round
back-roads driving as Ireland. The winding towers, medieval castles and stately homes. They
lanes of Ireland run through lush pastures to afford ample opportunities to pause for a stroll
the wildflower-studded pavements of the in a pretty town or village and, for refreshment,
Burren and to the basalt columns of the Giant’s a cosy pub is seldom far away. And, should a
Causeway. They weave their way into the glens visitor ever stray too far off the unbeaten path,
of the Antrim Coast, along the wild peninsulas there are always friendly folk around who are
of Cork and Connemara and around the calm more than happy to help with directions.


When to Go Climate Public Holidays
The Gulf Stream ensures that Ireland Summer temperatures usually
enjoys a moderate climate all year range from 15–20°C (60–68°F), with New Year’s Day (1 Jan)
round. However, summer not only spring and autumn temperatures St Patrick’s Day (17 Mar)
has the warmest temperatures but around 10°C (50°F). Winters generally Good Friday
also the longest days. With sunset as average 5–8°C (41–46°F), although Easter Monday
late as 11pm in midsummer, it’s easy rain and wind can make it feel colder. May Bank Holiday (1st Mon May)
to pack in a lot more sightseeing and It rarely snows, but expect rain at any Spring Bank Holiday (last Mon
activities, from walking and cycling time throughout the year. Ireland’s May, Northern Ireland; 1st Mon
to boating and golf. If the goal of the “soft” rain is often interspersed with Jun, Republic of Ireland)
trip is to take in the most popular sunshine, so dress in layers and be July Bank Holiday (12 July,
attractions and beauty spots, prepared for sudden changes. Northern Ireland only)
however, there will be fewer crowds August Bank Holiday (1st Mon
and yet still pleasant weather in both Festivals Aug, Republic of Ireland; last Mon
spring and autumn. Bargain-hunters St Patrick’s Day (17 Mar) is celebrated Aug, Northern Ireland)
will find the best deals on hotel and most enthusiastically in Dublin, but October Bank Holiday (last Mon
car hire rates in winter. many fairs and festivals, from local Oct, Republic of Ireland only)
However, there’s more than the food and livestock events to ancient Christmas Day (25 Dec)
weather to consider in deciding festivities, to music, theatre and arts St Stephen’s Day (26 Dec,
when to visit. Incorporating a music events, are held throughout the Republic of Ireland)
festival, a sporting event or a local country all year round. Full details of Boxing Day (26 Dec, Northern
celebration can turn out to be the main festivals, where they are held Ireland)
making of a trip to Ireland. and when, are supplied in each drive.
Times to Avoid
The busiest time to visit is during the
summer school holidays (late Jun–
early Sep). Prices will be highest,
traffic heaviest and queues longest.
Dublin hotels quickly fill up during
conventions and events, so check,
and book, well ahead. Night falls as
early as 4pm in winter, and many
attractions have restricted opening
times or may close entirely. Rural and
smaller seaside resort hotels and
restaurants often close completely
from November until Easter.
Left A country road in Co Cork, flanked by dry-
stone walls Right A stall in the market square of
Macroom, Co Cork, with its Norman gateway




008-009_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 9 11/09/17 12:29 pm

10 BACK ROADS IRELAND

Getting to Ireland

Ireland is a popular destination for travellers worldwide, and its
three major airports – Dublin, Shannon and Belfast – are served
by frequent, direct flights from Great Britain, Europe and North
America as well as flights from major cities around the world.
From these key gateways there are easy connections by air to
regional airports, as well as good road and rail links throughout
the country. Numerous ferry companies sail to Ireland from
Britain and France, offering vehicle and foot-passenger services.
Some connect with rail services to and from the ports. There are
also low-cost combined coach and ferry routes to Ireland. Above Road sign indicating the route for
Belfast Airport along a main road

DIRECTORY Arriving by Air flights. Dublin Airport is 10 km
Ireland is served by nearly all (6 miles) north of the city. Both
AIRLINES international airlines. The Irish regular city buses and the direct
Aer Lingus national carrier, Aer Lingus, has Dublin Bus Airlink run between the
1890 800 600 (Ireland); 0333 004 5000 non-stop flights from many British, airport and the city centre, with
(Northern Ireland and UK); European and North American cities, the latter stopping at Connolly and
www.aerlingus.com
including London, Manchester, Heuston rail stations as well as the
Ryanair Glasgow, Paris, New York, Boston, central bus station, Busaras. Many
0818 30 30 30 (Ireland); 0871 246 0000 Chicago and San Francisco. The flights from North America land at
(Northern Ireland and UK);
www.ryanair.com Irish budget airline Ryanair offers Shannon Airport, 26 km (16 miles)
direct flights to Ireland from many west of Limerick on the west coast.
Air Canada
1800 709 900 (Ireland); 0871 220 1111 British and European cities. Ireland’s There are bus connections into the
(Northern Ireland and UK); major and regional airports are also city, as well as to Ennis and Galway.
www.aircanada.com served by other budget carriers Belfast International Airport,
from Britain and Europe. All three located 24 km (15 miles) outside
AIRPORTS Irish carriers have flights to domestic the centre, is the main airport in
Dublin Airport destinations throughout the Northern Ireland. Bus 300 runs
01 814 1111; www.dublinairport.com
country. Air Canada has frequent a regular service between the
Shannon Airport flights to Ireland from Canada’s airport and city centre. Taxis are
061 712 000; www.shannonairport.ie main cities, but these may entail a available at all airports.
Belfast International Airport stop in London. Flights from major The Republic of Ireland has seven
028 9448 4848; cities in Australia and New Zealand regional airports at Cork, Kerry,
www.belfastairport.com
to Dublin involve at least one, Waterford, Galway, Knock, Sligo
Tourism Ireland sometimes two, stops en route, and Donegal. Northern Ireland
www.discoverireland.com most often in Dubai but also in also has George Best Belfast City
Singapore, with additional stops Airport and City of Derry Airport.
in London or Frankfurt. The Tourism Ireland website has
Ireland’s three international information on travel options
airports handle most long-haul from each of these.



















010-011_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 10 13/10/17 1:05 pm

Getting to Ireland 11


Arriving by Sea Wales and Stranraer in Scotland, DIRECTORY
Ireland has six main ferry ports: which has bus links to Cairnryan.
Dublin, Dun Laoghaire (which is If travelling by rail, combination FERRY SERVICES
pronounced “Dun Larry”), Rosslare train-and-ferry tickets are usually Direct Ferries
and Cork in the Republic of Ireland, available; these are convenient, and 0871 222 3312 (UK);
and Belfast and Larne in Northern also often offer substantial savings. www.directferries.com
Ireland. Three ferry companies Several UK rail operators, Irish Rail P&O Irish Sea
operate car and foot-passenger and ferry companies have teamed 0871 66 44 999 (UK);
services between Ireland and up with SailRail, which offers this 01 407 34 34 (Ireland);
www.poirishsea.com
Britain. There are also ferry services deal from any UK train station to
to and from ports in France. The any station in the Republic of Stena Line
08705 70 70 70 (UK);
easiest way to compare routes Ireland or Northern Ireland, using www.stenaline.co.uk
and prices is online at the Direct most ferry routes. Tickets can be
Ferries website. bought at most railway stations in Irish Ferries
0818 300 400 (Ireland);
The Liverpool to Dublin route the UK and Ireland and from the 353 818 300 400 (Northern Ireland);
(8 hours) is operated by P&O Irish ferry operators, as well as from www.irishferries.com
Sea. P&O also has a crossing from SailRail itself. Brittany Ferries
Cairnryan, in southwest Scotland, Stena Line offers Rail-and-Sail 021 4277 801 (Ireland);
to Larne (2 hours). There are also fares from several British rail www.brittanyferries.ie
crossings to Belfast from Cairnryan stations for the crossings between
(2 hours) and from Liverpool Fishguard and Rosslare, from RAIL SERVICES
(8 hours) with Stena Line. Stena Holyhead to Dublin, and from SailRail
also sails to Dublin from Holyhead Cairnryan to Belfast. Similar fares 0845 606 1660 (UK);
www.sailrail.co.uk
in North Wales (3 hours 30 minutes). are available on routes operated by
Irish Ferries also operates crossings Irish Ferries. Check for deals with British Rail
08457 48 49 50 (UK);
to Dublin from Holyhead (3 hours) British Rail, ScotRail, Irish Rail and 44(0)20 7278 5240 (overseas);
as well as crossings from Pembroke Northern Ireland Railways. In www.nationalrail.co.uk
in south Wales (4 hours) to Rosslare. Ireland, CIE has information on ScotRail
Stena Line operates a daily crossing rail and bus connections to the 08457 550033;
(3 hours 30 minutes) to Rosslare ferry ports. www.scotrail.co.uk
from Fishguard in southwest Wales. The long-distance coach Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann)
From France, Stena Line operates operator Eurolines offers a similar 836 6222 (Ireland);
an overnight route from Cherbourg bus-and-ferry service, with routes +353 (0)1 703 4070 (overseas);
to Rosslare (17–19 hours), while to Dublin, Belfast and beyond from www.irishrail.ie
Irish Ferries operates the same most of the main British cities. Northern Ireland Railways
route plus a crossing from Roscoff Journey times may be long, but the 028 90 66 66 30;
to Rosslare (17 hours). Brittany fares are relatively inexpensive. In www.nirailways.co.uk
Ferries runs an overnight route Ireland, Eurolines operates jointly CIE
each Saturday between Roscoff with Bus Éireann. www.cie.ie
and Cork (14 hours). COACH SERVICES
Below far left The check-in area at Dublin
Arriving by Rail and Coach Airport Below left The modern exterior of Dublin Eurolines
08705 14 3219 (UK);
Trains run direct to most ferry Airport Below centre Sign for the Port of Belfast, www.eurolines.com
ports, including Dublin, Dun Northern Ireland’s biggest seaport Below right Bus Éireann
Laoghaire, Fishguard Harbour in Irish Ferries ship loading up at Rosslare Harbour 01 836 6111 (Ireland);
www.buseireann.ie



















010-011_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 11 11/09/17 12:29 pm

12 BACK ROADS IRELAND
Practical Information
Ireland may have an idyllic rural image but its infrastructure is
thoroughly up-to-date. Public services operate smoothly and
efficiently, and its health system is good. Communication networks,
from Internet to mobile phone services, are widespread, and most
banks have an ATM outside. What hasn’t changed is Ireland’s respect
for religion and tradition, or the affable, laid-back nature of its
people. Some shops and services are closed on Sundays, and the
pace of life may feel slow, especially in the countryside. Above Traditional green cross indicating a
pharmacy, illuminated for visibility
Passports and Visas Travel Safety Advice Also check to see what kind of cover,
UK citizens do not need a passport or Visitors can get up-to-date travel if any, is offered under your home
visa to enter the Republic of Ireland. safety information from the UK insurance policy. Some credit card
However, it is advisable to have a Foreign and Commonwealth Office, companies also offer limited travel
valid form of photo identification, the US Department of State and the insurance benefits if you use your card
and most airlines and ferry Australian Department of Foreign to book your trip or rental car.
companies will require a passport or Affairs and Trade.
driving licence. Those hoping to Health
travel without a passport should Travel Insurance No vaccinations or immunization
check with the carrier as to whether All travellers are strongly advised to documents are required to enter
another form of ID is acceptable. take out travel insurance that offers Ireland, unless travelling from a country
Nationals of EU countries should also cover for a broad range of possible where infectious disease is widespread.
carry their passport, as some national emergencies. In addition to medical Anyone planning to hike in boggy
ID cards are not accepted. All other insurance, a comprehensive policy will areas is advised to bring insect
visitors must have a passport with at normally cover the holder: for loss or repellent to ward off the tiny biting
least six months’ validity remaining. theft of luggage and other belongings insects, called midges, that are active
Travellers from the United States, such as passports and money; damage when in dull and damp weather.
Canada, Australia, New Zealand and or injury to a third party; personal Standard remedies can be bought in
South Africa do not need a visa if accident; delayed or cancelled flights; pharmacies, but bring any prescription
they are staying for less than 90 days. and in some cases the cancellation of medications from home to last
For longer stays, or for student or your trip due to personal illness or that throughout the trip, otherwise it will
working visas, apply well in advance of a family member. Most policies also be be necessary to visit a doctor for
of departure. Other nationalities may cover legal costs up to a certain limit, a prescription. Pack medications in
require a visa, and visitors should as do comprehensive motor policies carry-on luggage with their original
check with the Irish Embassy or (see p16) in the event of any legal pharmacy labels in order to avoid any
Consulate in their own country prior advice or action being needed, for problems at airport security. If any
to travelling. A list is available online. example, after an accident. A standard condition requires carrying a syringe
The same rules apply for entry into policy will not cover hazardous or when travelling by air, get a formal
Northern Ireland. For visa information extreme sports; many activities can be letter of notification of the condition
and applications, anyone planning a added for a small extra premium. from the prescribing physician.
trip should get in touch with the Read the terms and conditions In the event of illness while travelling,
British Embassy, Consulate or High carefully as coverage, excess amounts, the Irish Medical Council can provide a
Commission in their home country. exclusions and deductibles vary widely. referral to a doctor or dentist. Most





















012-013_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 12 13/10/17 1:06 pm

Practical Information 13












Above left Emergency ambulance Above centre A tourist information sign Above right Main shopping street, Carlow Town
pharmacies are open Monday– petty crime, especially in large towns DIRECTORY
Saturday during business hours, and and tourist areas. Leave all passports
some are open 24 hours in larger and valuables in the hotel safe. Keep EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES
towns and cities. Pharmacists can an eye on your handbag or wallet in Irish Embassies Abroad
advise on minor medical matters. crowds and on public transport, and www.dfa.ie
Visitors from Britain and other EU do not carry large amounts of cash. British Foreign and Commonwealth
countries are covered for medical Never leave anything unattended or Office
treatment in Ireland under the EU’s visible in a car, even if it is locked. www.gov.uk/drivingabroad
social security regulations, but they Victims of crime should contact the American Embassy
must see a physician who has an Irish Tourist Assistance Service in 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4;
agreement with the Department of the Republic or the local police station 01 668 8777; www.ie.usembassy.gov
Health. To be eligible, identification and in Northern Ireland. In the Republic, American Consulate
a European Health Insurance Card the police force is the Garda Síochána, Danesfort House, 223 Stranmillis Road,
Belfast BT9 5GR; 028 9038 6100;
(EHIC) are required. Apply online or known as the Gardaí. The Police www.uk.usembassy.gov
at a post office in the UK prior to travel. Service of Northern Ireland is their Australian Embassy
British visitors to Northern Ireland will counterpart in the North. 7th floor, Fitzwilton House, Wilton
receive treatment as they would at The Troubles are largely a thing of Terrace, Dublin 2; 01 664 5300;
home. Visitors from all other countries the past and any residual violence www.ireland.embassy.gov.au
should have private medical insurance, between Catholics and Protestants British Embassy
as Ireland does not provide publicly are occasional and seldom affect 29 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge,
funded health care for foreigners. tourist areas. If in doubt, check Dublin 4; 01 205 3700; www.gov.uk
In Ireland, general practitioners locally. Orange marches still take Canadian Embassy
charge fees for consultations and non- place in the fortnight around July 12, 7–8 Wilton Terrace, Dublin 2; 01 234
4000; www.canadainternational.gc.
emergency treatment, and this must commemorating the Battle of the ca/ireland-irlande/
be paid at the time. Emergency Boyne in 1690 (see p156). Avoid these TRAVEL SAFETY ADVICE
hospital treatment will not be withheld gatherings, as they generate protests Australian Department of Foreign
or delayed, but will be billed later. The and sometimes violence. Affairs and Trade
patient is expected to settle the bill www.dfat.gov.au
and then seek reimbursement from www.smartraveller.gov.au
their insurance company. Below far left Uniformed Gardaí in the Republic UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
of Ireland Below left centre Sign warning www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Police and Security against entering field with dangerous bull Below US Department of State
Ireland is a relatively safe country, but left European Union passport Below Cycling on www.travel.state.gov
take the normal precautions against the narrow roads around Mount Leinster, Carlow HEALTH
Irish Medical Council
Kingram House, Kingram Place, Dublin
2; 01 498 3100; www.medicalcouncil.ie
EHIC
www.nhs.uk/EHIC/Pages/About.aspx
POLICE AND SECURITY
Emergency Services
In the Republic: 112 or 999:
In Northern Ireland: 999
Irish Tourist Assistance Service
Pearse Street Garda Station, Dublin 2;
01 666 9354; www.itas.ie
An Garda Síochána
www.garda.ie
Police Service of Northern Ireland
www.psni.police.uk




012-013_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 13 13/10/17 1:06 pm

14 BACK ROADS IRELAND


Communications note that the cards may not be
Telephone service is provided by interchangeable between the
Telecom Éireann in the Republic, Republic and Northern Ireland.
and by British Telecom in Northern Making calls from a hotel room is
Ireland. Irish phone numbers have generally expensive, as most hotels
a two- or three-digit area code add a high surcharge, particularly for
beginning with 0 and followed by a overseas calls. Check before dialling
local number of five to eight digits, whether there are any additional
depending on the region. When charges for local or toll-free calls.
dialling within the country, use the Mobile (cell) phones are more
full area code. It is only necessary to convenient but can be very costly,
dial the local number when calling depending on the roaming charges Above Fáilte Ireland (Irish Tourist Board)
within the same area code. levied by your service provider. Only shamrock sign for approved accommodation
When calling Ireland from abroad, digital phones with GSM and a
dial the international access code, roaming agreement will work on the Currency and Cards
followed by the Ireland country code, island. US phones need to be tri- or The currency in the Republic of Ireland
and then the local area code (minus quad-band. Money can be saved by is the Euro (€). One Euro is made up
the initial 0) and number. The replacing the phone’s usual SIM card of 100 cents. Euro notes come in
country code is 353 for the Republic with an Irish one, but the phone denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50,
and 44 for Northern Ireland. To make must be “unlocked” to do this. €100, €200 and €500. There are 1c,
an overseas call from Ireland, first dial Internet access is available pretty 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2 coins.
the international access code 00, much everywhere now, with nearly Sterling is the currency in Northern
then the country code, area code all hotels, hostels and B&Bs offering Ireland. One pound (£) is divided into
and local number you wish to reach. free Wi-Fi; if they don’t, they’ll usually 100 pence. There are £5, £10, £20,
When dialling Northern Ireland let you access the Internet on their £50 and £100 notes, and 1p, 2p, 5p,
from the Republic, dial the prefix 048, computer. Most restaurants, cafés 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 coins.
and then the local number. Calls to and bars also have free Wi-Fi, though Bank debit and credit cards can
the Republic from Northern Ireland, you will of course be obliged to be used to withdraw local currency
however, are dialled in the same way use their services; there’s also an from ATMs, which are widespread
as those from the rest of the United increasing number of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Ireland. The card provider
Kingdom: 00+353+area code (minus in public spaces, including tourist may charge for withdrawing cash
the initial 0) and then the number. offices, airports and ferry ports. abroad, but you may benefit from
There are public pay phone booths Otherwise, you could try public better rates than when exchanging
throughout Ireland, which take coins libraries, though time may be limited cash at a bank or bureau de change.
or cards. The easiest and cheapest and it may be necessary to reserve a Traveller’s cheques are fast becoming
way to make calls is to purchase a computer in advance. obsolete, but a prepaid currency card
pre-paid Callcard in the Republic The Republic and Northern Ireland is a safe alternative to carrying cash.
or Phonecard in Northern Ireland. have separate postal systems. You Debit cards and credit cards such
These are sold at newsagents, post must use Irish stamps to send mail as Visa and MasterCard are widely
offices, tourist offices and other from the Republic but British stamps accepted at hotels, restaurants, shops
outlets, in a variety of denominations. to send mail from Northern Ireland. and petrol stations, and increasingly
International phone cards are also Mail boxes are painted green and red at pubs, small businesses and
available, and can be the cheapest respectively. You can buy stamps at guest houses or B&Bs. Credit card
way to call abroad. Some are newsagents and in many shops as companies are ever more vigilant
rechargeable with a credit card, but well as at post offices. against fraud, so it is wise to let them





















014-015_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 14 11/09/17 12:29 pm

Practical Information 15












Above left Post office and bureau de change in Ventry, Co Kerry Above right Old-style red Northern Ireland phone box by the road, Fermanagh Lakelands
know you will be travelling and using Museums and galleries are usually DIRECTORY
the card abroad, so that they do not closed on Mondays and on
put a block on further use. It is also a public holidays. COMMUNICATIONS
good idea to carry a different credit
card as a back-up. Disabled Facilities International Access Codes
Australia: 0011; New Zealand: 0170;
Many visitor attractions are now UK: 00; US and Canada: 011
Tourist Information accessible to wheelchair users, and Country Codes
Fáilte Ireland (the National Tourism a growing number of hotels and Australia: 61; New Zealand: 64; UK: 44;
Development Authority of the restaurants also provide facilities for US and Canada: 1
Republic) and the Northern Ireland guests with disabilities. For more Directory Assistance
Tourist Board have offices that information, contact the National In the Republic: 11811; in Northern
provide information about sights, Disability Authority in the Republic, Ireland: 118 118 (charges apply)
activities and accommodation in and Adapt NI and Disability Action in TOURIST INFORMATION
their area. There are also local tourist Northern Ireland.
offices in most towns and tourist Fáilte Ireland
www.discoverireland.ie
areas. Tourism Ireland covers the Time
whole island. Along with general Ireland is on Greenwich Mean Time Northern Ireland Tourist Board
advice, its website has links to Irish (GMT), with one hour’s Summer Linum Chambers, Bedford Square,
Belfast BT2 7ES; 028 9023 1221;
Tourist Board offices worldwide. (Daylight Saving) Time in effect from www.discovernorthernireland.com
late March to late October.
Opening Hours Tourism Ireland
www.ireland.com
Most Irish shops are open Mon–Sat, Electricity
9am–6pm. Sunday trading hours are Ireland’s electrical current is 230/240 Dublin Tourism Centre
from noon to 5 or 6pm in the volts. Plugs have 3 pins. Overseas www.visitdublin.com
Republic, 1–5pm in Northern Ireland. visitors will need an adaptor to use DISABLED FACILITIES
Banking hours are typically Mon– their own appliances, but most hotels National Disability Authority
Fri, 10am–4pm in the Republic, and have built-in adaptors for shavers 01 608 0400; www.nda.ie
9:30am–4:30pm in Northern Ireland. only, and also provide a hairdryer. Adapt NI
Post offices are generally open Mon– 028 9023 1211; www.adaptni.org
Fri, 9am–5:30pm, but main post Below far left Republic of Ireland telephone box Disability Action
offices in larger towns are also open Below left Green postbox in the Republic Below 028 9029 7880;
on Saturdays, from 9am to 5pm in centre left Keep our beach tidy sign, Waterford www.disabilityaction.org
the Republic and from 9am to beach Below centre Late bar sign, Kilkenny City
12:30pm in Northern Ireland. Below Signs for Waterford Treasures Museum





















014-015_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 15 11/09/17 12:29 pm

16 BACK ROADS IRELAND

Driving in Ireland

Ireland has an extensive road network and in recent years there
has been extensive upgrading and expansion of all main routes.
However, it is only by driving the back roads that you’ll discover
the real Ireland. The relaxed pace is one of the greatest joys of
driving here and the further you get from the cities, the more
likely you are to have the road to yourself. To travel safely and get
the most from your trip, it is vital to familiarize yourself with the Above Premium, unleaded and diesel petrol
rules and requirements for driving in Ireland before you set out. pumps by a rural roadside in Co Tipperary
Insurance and you should carry the registration the M50 around Dublin. If your car is
Breakdown Cover document with you. If it is not not registered, your vehicle number
Third-party motor insurance is registered in your name (for example, plate is recorded each time you pass
compulsory in Ireland and, if you if it is a company car), bring a letter the toll point and you must pay
bring your own car, you must have of authorization from the owner. according to distance travelled. Pay-
an insurance certificate that is valid While not compulsory, it is ment can be made online, through the
in the country. You do not necessarily advisable to carry the following call centre or at Payzone outlets nation-
need a “Green Card and Bail Bond”, in your vehicle: a warning triangle, wide, but the journey must be paid
but you should check with your first aid kit and visibility vests (one for by 8pm the following day. More
insurer prior to travelling that you are for every occupant of the vehicle). information is available on the eFlow
covered for the trip. Most companies A torch (flashlight) and spare website. Some other motorways in
give you automatic coverage in EU petrol container are also highly Ireland also charge a fee, which is paid
countries for up to 90 days. If your recommended extras. at toll plazas en route or as you leave.
policy has breakdown cover, check
whether it applies abroad. If not, it is Road Systems Speed Limits and Fines
worth considering purchasing In the Republic, motorway numbers In the Republic of Ireland, speed
additional breakdown and accident are prefixed by an M. National limits are given in kilometres per
cover. Motoring organizations such Primary Routes have the prefix N, hour (km/h). In Northern Ireland they
as the AA (see p19) also offer single- followed by numbers 1-50, while are posted in miles per hour (mph).
trip policies of this type. National Secondary Routes (also N) Be sure to remember the change
are 51 and above. Regional roads when near the border: it is unmarked
What to Take have an R prefix and a three-digit and easy to cross without realizing.
In order to drive in Ireland, you must number; these range from stretches Unless otherwise stated, speed
have a valid national driving licence, of dual carriageway to narrow rural limits are as follows:
issued in your country of permanent roads. Local road numbers are • In the Republic: 120 km/h (74 mph)
residence. By law you must have designated with an L, but often are on motorways; 100 km/h (62 mph) on
your licence with you at all times not shown on road signs or maps. national roads; 80 km/h (50 mph) on
while driving in the Republic. If your Northern Ireland uses the British non-national roads; 50 km/h (31 mph)
licence does not have a photograph, system of road classification: M for in towns and built-up areas.
be sure also to carry your passport motorways, A for major roads, B for • In Northern Ireland: 70 mph
or another form of official photo ID. If secondary roads and C for minor ones. (112 km/h) on motorways; 60 mph
you are bringing your own vehicle, A barrier-free motorway toll system, (96 km/h) on the open road; and
including caravans and motorcycles, called eFlow, currently operates on 30 mph (48 km/h) in towns and





















016-017_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 16 13/10/17 1:06 pm

Driving in Ireland 17












Above left Slow sign on Lough Navar Forest Drive Above centre Signs warning of changes in the road ahead Above right Double-decker buses, Dublin
built-up areas. There are both already in the roundabout and
fixed and mobile speed cameras approaching from the right. DIRECTORY
in Northern Ireland, but only mobile Overtake on the right, but do not MOTORWAY TOLLS
cameras in the Republic. In the do so if there is a solid white line in
event of a speeding violation, the centre of the road. At a junction eFlow
www.eFlow.ie
you will be issued with a fixed where neither road has priority, yield
penalty notice, which must be paid to traffic coming from your right. IRISH PHRASES FOR DRIVERS
within 28 days. You won’t escape Seat belts must be worn at all times, Géill slí
the penalty by driving a rental by the driver and all passengers. It is Give way
car. The car hire company will illegal to use a hand-held mobile
bill you for the ticket, along with phone while driving; this will incur a Mall
Slow
an administration fee. Speed fine. The horn must not be sounded
camera detectors are illegal and between 11:30pm and 7am. Bóthar dúnta
will be confiscated. At traffic lights, drivers must yield Road closed
The laws on drink-driving are very to pedestrians when the amber light Oscailt cheilte
strict and penalties are high. The is flashing, but if the crossing is clear Concealed entrance
legal limit is 50 mg per 100 ml of they may proceed with caution.
blood (about equal to a pint of beer). Coisithe amháin
Police are authorized to perform a Buying Petrol Pedestrian zone
breathalyser test at any time, and the There are plenty of petrol (gas) Aire
penalty for refusal may be prosecution. stations throughout Ireland, and all Caution
Any accident that occurs while the grades of unleaded petrol, as well as
driver is under the influence of drink diesel, are available. While electric car Leanaí ag trasnú
or drugs is automatically considered charging points are now adequately Children crossing
his or her fault. widespread, LPG fuelling opportunities Rampa romhat
are increasingly hard to find. Most Ramp ahead
Rules of the Road stations are self-service, and nearly
Driving is on the left throughout all take major credit cards. Trácht aon líne
Ireland. Most visitors get used to this Single file traffic
quickly, but pay extra attention at Below far left Old-fashioned signpost near Dromchla sealadach
crossroads and roundabouts, where Leenane, Connemara Below left Sightseeing Temporary road surface
it is easy (and dangerous) to forget or tour bus, Belfast Below centre Sports car on
get confused. Always turn left into a the Coomakesta Pass, Iveragh Peninsula Below Cloichíní scaoilte
roundabout, and give way to traffic Signs for the Slea Head Drive near Dingle Loose chippings
An lar
City centre



















016-017_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 17 13/10/17 1:06 pm

18 BACK ROADS IRELAND


Road Conditions It is wise to allow local drivers, who
Most roads in Ireland are both well- know the roads well and will drive
surfaced and well-maintained. much faster, to overtake. And be sure
Distances are shown in kilometres to give drivers who make way for you
on signposts in the Republic, and a friendly wave of thanks.
in miles in Northern Ireland. In the
Republic (and occasionally in Taking a Break
Northern Ireland), road signs and If you are feeling tired or think you
place names are posted in both may be lost, it’s a good idea to pull
English and Irish. In the Gaeltacht over and take a break. Many roads Above Dangerous bend warning sign
(Irish-speaking areas), however, there have signposted areas where you
are stretches where signs are in Irish can pull off and stretch your legs, If you have an accident, you must stop
only. Also be aware that road signs have a snack and consult your map. and exchange name, address and car
may be inadequate or confusing in The glorious scenery can be a huge registration details with the other
rural areas and, on occasion, can be distraction so, if you find it hard to parties involved. The police must be
broken off or pointing in the wrong keep your eyes on the road, it’s best notified within 24 hours if anyone is
direction. It is essential to have a to stop and admire the view. Parks injured and a report will be filed. Call
good road map. and areas with nature trails also make the emergency services (see p13) if
Given the small size of the island, good picnic stops. Ireland does not there are casualties. Be sure to get the
and the relatively short distances have US- or Continental-style rest insurance details of the other driver
between towns, it can be easy to areas, as distances are not great and give them yours. If your vehicle is
underestimate the time it takes to between towns with pubs, petrol rented, the company must be notified.
drive between two points. Back stations and other public facilities. Circumstances can be confusing at
roads by their nature are often slow the time of an accident, so do not
and winding, with reduced speeds Breakdown and admit fault, accept liability or give
through villages and hamlets, while Accident Procedures money to any party. If possible, take
traffic can become surprisingly If you have a breakdown or accident, down details from any independent
congested in busy tourist towns move the car safely off the road and witnesses. It is also a wise idea to take
such as Killarney. Unexpected things turn on hazard lights or use a warning photographs of any vehicle damage,
can slow things down – a flock of triangle. Emergency telephones are as well as the scene of the accident.
sheep in the road, a farm vehicle, a sometimes located along the hard
beautiful view or even two locals shoulders of the motorways, but Parking
stopping their cars for a chat in the along rural back roads it is best to have Parking is allowed wherever you
middle of the road as they pass. Take a mobile phone. see a red circle with a black P. A
extra care on blind curves and look Rental car companies will normally diagonal line crossing the sign
out for pedestrians walking on the supply a number to call in case of means that parking is prohibited.
roadway. An average of 50–65 km breakdown or problems with the A red circle marked with an X means
(30–40 miles) per hour is a sensible vehicle. They will advise or arrange for the road is a Clearway, and you may
figure when planning your route. assistance, and can usually provide a not stop on it during the hours
Many country roads are so narrow replacement vehicle quickly. No repairs indicated. Double yellow lines on the
that one vehicle will have to pull over should be undertaken on a hire car pavement mean no parking at any
to the side to let an oncoming car without the company’s authorization. time. Car parks and other parking
pass. Courtesy dictates that the one If you are a member of the AA, RAC areas are designated by a blue P sign.
closest to a wide spot waits. Buses or AAA, check whether reciprocal It is permissable to park on the street
always have right of way, however. services are available in Ireland. unless signs indicate otherwise.





















018-019_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 18 11/09/17 12:29 pm

Driving in Ireland 19












Above left Cows on the road near Kells Above centre Scenic drive sign, Gortin Glen Forest Park Above right Sign for Glenariff, Northern Ireland
However, check in case there is a accept credit cards. Drivers with
parking scheme in operation, such as disabilities can use their UK blue badge DIRECTORY
Pay and Display, in which you obtain to park in designated spaces in Ireland. MOTORING ASSOCIATIONS
a ticket from a nearby machine and For further assistance and information,
display in on your windscreen. Disc and for disabled drivers from other Automobile Association (AA)
01 649 7460; www.theaa.ie
parking is another system used in countries, contact the Disabled Drivers’ (Republic of Ireland)
many towns, whereby you must buy Association of Ireland. 0800 887 766; www.theaa.com
a scratch card from a nearby shop and (Northern Ireland)
scratch off the date and time before Maps Aviva Ireland Breakdown Cover
displaying it in your car. In many rural Free tourist maps are widely available, 1800 448 888;
towns and villages, there is little room but they are seldom of much use for www.aviva.ie
for parking in the centre, but there are back-roads driving. It is useful to have
car parks, usually free, situated at the a map that gives place names in
edge of town. In the countryside, be both English and Irish, especially if
sure not to block farm or other gates travelling in Gaeltacht areas such
or private roads if you are leaving as Connemara and Donegal. The
your vehicle for a walk or to explore Ordnance Survey Official Road Atlas
archaeological sites. On single-lane Ireland is highly recommended. This
roads, never park in designated can be purchased at petrol stations,
passing places, as this is a traffic hazard. bookshops, newsagents and tourist
In the cities, where space is at a information centres. Even with the
premium, parking regulations are best map in the world, you are likely
strictly enforced, often by towing or to have to stop and ask directions
wheel-clamping. These are strong somewhere along the way. Locals
deterrents to parking illegally or usually refer to roads by their
overstaying the time limit on a parking direction rather than their number,
meter, as it is can prove very expensive as in “take the Limerick road”, so it’s
to get a car released. In the Republic, helpful to know which towns are
traffic wardens and police can issue near to your destination.
on-the-spot fines for parking offences.
Should you receive one, be sure to get Below far left Sheep on village street, Achill
an official receipt from the person Island Below left Array of signs in the Glen of
collecting the fine. It is best to use a Aherlow Below centre Give Way sign in Irish
designated car park, and some now Below Road through Galbally, Glen of Aherlow





















018-019_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 19 11/09/17 12:29 pm

20 BACK ROADS IRELAND


Caravans and a motorcycle, and an insurance policy.
Motorhomes/RVs You may not carry a passenger if you
Caravans and motorhomes are subject hold only a provisional licence; you
to the same rules of the road as any must have a full licence as well as an
other vehicle. However, camper vans insurance policy that allows you to
or cars towing caravans are restricted do so. Motorcycles must have a
to speeds of 80 km/h (50 mph) white or yellow headlamp, a red rear
unless signs indicate otherwise. lamp, a red rear reflector, and rear
Caravan and motorhome drivers number plate lighting. Ensure that
should also leave a greater space your tyres have adequate tread; the Above Devil’s Pass, near Lough Nafooey
between them and the vehicle in legal minimum is 1 mm. In the
front, to allow for the greater Republic, a current road tax disc Disabled Drivers
stopping distance required. Many must be displayed. Drivers with disabilities who have a
of Ireland’s country roads are very The rules of the road are the same Disabled Parking card or UK Blue
narrow and winding, and they may for motorcyclists as for other drivers, Badge can use designated disabled
not be suitable for caravans and though you should take additional parking spaces around Ireland, either
motorhomes. Signs are often posted, safety precautions. Do not ride in their own vehicle or a hired one.
but they are easy to miss. It is worth between traffic lanes, moving or The card or badge should be clearly
enquiring locally about conditions stationary. Give other vehicles a wide visible on the dashboard. Contact
before setting out on these roads. berth when overtaking, and be alert the Disabled Drivers’ Association of
Narrow bridges, sharp curves and to the fact that they may not see you. Ireland (DDAI) or the Irish Wheelchair
bends and steep gradients can be Association for more details. If you
potentially dangerous for large Driving with Children are bringing your own vehicle to
vehicles, so pay attention to road Child seats are legally mandatory for Ireland, you may be entitled to a
signs warning of such hazards. children aged between a year and 4 discount from the ferry company on
If you are bringing your own years 6 months. It is strongly advised some sailings. Contact the company
caravan to Ireland, you must ensure that children under the age of 12 do concerned, your motoring association
that your LPG supply, used for not sit in the front seat. Babies and or the DDIA for more information.
cooking, has been turned off small children must be placed in a
correctly for the ferry crossing. restraint system suitable for their Car and Motorhome/RV Hire
You can also hire motorhomes and height and weight, such as a child Most of the big international vehicle-
caravans that sleep several people, seat or baby carrier. Infants must hire companies have branches at
some fully equipped with sleeping never be placed in a rear-facing child airports and ferry ports and in all
bags, linens and cooking utensils. seat in the front passenger seat if the larger cities, and offer a wide
For information on rental, repairs and there is an active airbag fitted. range of vehicles. A good local firm
campsites and caravan parks Children over the age of three who with offices around the country is
throughout Ireland, contact the Irish are under 150 cm (5 ft) tall and Dan Dooley Car Rentals. To rent a
Caravan and Camping Council. weigh less than 36 kg (80 lb) must car in Ireland you will need a valid
use the appropriate child or booster driving licence and a credit card.
Motorbikes seat or booster cushion. Remember Normally drivers must be between
By law, all motorcyclists and their to request child seats in advance the ages of 21 and 70, but check
passengers must wear helmets, and when making a car hire booking. It is with the company concerned before
dipped headlights must be used the driver’s responsibility to ensure you make your reservation, regarding
during the day at all times. You must that any passengers under the age their age restrictions. It is highly
have a valid driving licence to cover of 17 comply with these laws. recommended to book in advance,





















020-021_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 20 11/09/17 12:29 pm

Driving in Ireland 21












Above Farmer driving cattle along an Irish country lane Above right Bikers stopping for a break at a café in Kinvarra, Co Galway
especially during peak season, and Further information about car hire is DIRECTORY
you will often get a better rate. Most available from the Car Rental Council
rental cars in Ireland are standard in the Republic and the British DISABLED DRIVERS
(manual) shift. Automatic cars are Vehicle and Leasing Association Disabled Drivers’ Association
available but they cost more and in Northern Ireland. For information of Ireland
must always be booked in advance. on motorhome hire, contact the Irish 094 936 4054; www.ddai.ie
Consider renting a smaller car than Caravan and Camping Council. Irish Wheelchair Association
you may be used to at home, as they 01 818 6400; www.iwa.ie
are much easier to handle on narrow Driving in Rain and Fog CAR AND MOTORHOME/RV HIRE
country roads. If you require a child When rain, mist, fog or cloudy
seat, this should be booked well in conditions reduce light levels, British Vehicle Renting and Leasing
Association
advance as well. dipped headlights should be used. www.bvrla.co.uk
Always let the rental company Turn on fog lights whenever visibility
know, for insurance purposes, if you is less than 100 m (328 ft). If you Car Rental Council
www.carrentalcouncil.ie
plan to drive between the Republic bring a left-hand-drive vehicle over
and Northern Ireland. Third party for your trip round Ireland, you will Dan Dooley Car Rentals
062 53103; www.dan-dooley.ie
insurance is compulsory and is need to deflect the beam of your
included in the rate. Some rental headlights. Beam-adjusters are Irish Caravan and Camping Council
agreements also include Collision simple to use; you can buy them at www.camping-ireland.ie
Damage Waiver (CDW), which limits ferry terminals, or check with your Irish Horse Drawn Caravans
your liability for damages to the rented motoring organization. Snow and ice www.irishhorsedrawncaravans.com
car, theft/loss cover and personal are rare in Ireland, but you still may
injury insurance; others charge encounter them in mountain areas in
additional fees for these items. Read winter. Reduce your speed in adverse
the agreement carefully if you are at conditions, as you will need a far
all unsure about what your coverage greater braking distance, and poor
and liabilities are. Some drivers may visibility gives you less time to react
be able to use insurance from a to sudden hazards.
personal credit card to claim CDW,
but check carefully with your card Below far left Mountain road near Portsalon,
company to make sure that they Fanad Peninsula Below left Main Street,
cover your trip to Ireland (many Cushendall Below centre Traditional horse-
don’t) and be prepared to show drawn caravan from Tralee Below Sheep crossing
proof of cover. the road at the foot of Slievemore, Co Mayo





















020-021_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 21 11/09/17 12:29 pm

22 BACK ROADS IRELAND

Where to Stay

Ireland offers some of the most romantic and special places
imaginable in which to stay, from historic castles to traditional
horse-drawn caravans, charming rural cottages to chic boutique
hotels. The warm welcome that visitors receive in Ireland is like
no other, and getting to know the hosts at a farmhouse bed-
and-breakfast or family-run guesthouse is part of a memorable
visit. The accommodation in this guide has been specially Above Youth hostel entrance,
selected to reflect the unique Irish character of its back roads. High Street, Kilkenny City
Hotels Ireland also has numerous resort Guesthouses
Ireland has a fine range of traditional hotels with impressive golf and other Guesthouses are smaller and
hotels right across the country, with sporting activities on offer, as well as usually less expensive than hotels.
properties to suit all budgets. Some luxurious spa facilities. They are often family-run, with an
might be picturesque village inns; Increasingly it is possible to find a emphasis on personal service.
others may have been converted choice of boutique hotels in towns Many are set in large Georgian or
from former stately homes or other and resort areas as well as in larger Victorian houses, with all or several
landmark buildings. Whether their cities, with rooms and public areas rooms converted for guests, often
decor is elegant and luxurious or featuring the best in modern design. with simple but charming decor.
modest and comfortable, these They usually have hip and lively bars Those with higher ratings will have
hotels have great character and and restaurants too. en-suite bathrooms; those in lower
charm, often with lovely features As well as all these, Ireland also has categories may have shared
such as stone fireplaces or decorative a range of national and international facilities for some rooms. Breakfast
plasterwork ceilings. Many also have chain hotels with accommodation in is usually included in the rate, but
a lively pub or acclaimed restaurant all price ranges, which can be found most guesthouses do not have a
attached, making them a gathering in the larger towns and cities or restaurant or bar, although they
place for the local community too. along the more major roads. may have snacks and drinks
The websites of Ireland’s Blue Book Depending on their rating (see available for guests.
and the Good Food Ireland list many opposite), most hotel rooms have In smaller towns and villages,
such traditional hotels. en-suite bathroom facilities, and pubs may have guest rooms
Country-house hotels are set in some also offer family rooms and available, and this can be an
beautiful grounds and are usually suites. Most include breakfast in the enjoyable way to experience the
elegant and spacious. Food is room rate, and larger hotels will local nightlife without having to
often a highlight, with creative normally have a restaurant and bar. drive afterwards.
menus prepared by a top chef and The Irish Hotels Federation
served in a formal dining room. publishes Be Our Guest, an annual Bed-and-Breakfast
They may also offer a range of guide to hotels and guest houses in Bed-and-breakfast (B&B) is offered in
activities, from angling and horse the Republic. The Northern Ireland private homes around the country,
riding to cookery courses. Some do Hotels Federation provides a similar from busy town centres to remote
not accept young children. The service in the north. These properties villages. Traditional Irish farmhouse
Hidden Ireland Guide and Manor have been inspected and approved by B&Bs are among the most popular.
House Hotels of Ireland list many of the tourist boards, and are identified They have from one to three guest
these special properties. by a green shamrock symbol. rooms, often en-suite but sometimes





















022-023_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 22 11/09/17 12:29 pm

Where to Stay 23












Above Picturesque café in Gowran, Kilkenny Above right Resort hotel with its own golf course near Lough Erne, Fermanagh Lakelands
with shared bathrooms. Facilities and usually be made by phone or online DIRECTORY
decor vary, but are usually clean with a credit or debit card.
and neat. Some hosts will offer an Alternatively, use direct booking HOTELS
evening meal for an additional websites such as www.booking.com Good Food Ireland
charge, but this must be arranged and www.hotels.com. 053 915 8693; www.goodfoodireland.ie
in advance, and is usually taken at Be sure to check if the rate quoted Ireland’s Blue Book
a large communal table with the is per person or per room – B&Bs 01 676 9914; www.irelands-blue-book.ie
family and other guests. B&Bs are and guest houses often charge per
generally cheaper than hotels and person, as do many hotels. Also The Hidden Ireland Guide
01 662 7166; www.hiddenireland.com
guesthouses, and are a great way check if the hotel rate includes tax.
to meet local people. For a range Manor House Hotels
of Ireland
of bed-and-breakfast options, Facilities and Prices 01 295 8900; www.manorhousehotels.com
contact B&B Ireland and Irish Irish hotel rooms generally have
Farmhouse Holidays. a double or twin beds; if a cot or Irish Hotels Federation
01 902 0091; www.irelandhotels.com
child’s bed is required, request it
Castles and Historic Homes at the time of booking. Coffee- and Northern Ireland Hotels Federation
028 9077 6635; www.nihf.co.uk
The most stunning accommodation tea-making facilities are standard.
in Ireland can be found in castles Most places serve a full Irish BED-AND-BREAKFAST
and historic homes that have breakfast, with a lighter “continental” B&B Ireland
opened some of their rooms to option available. 071 982 2222; www.bandbireland.com
overnight visitors. Although such Hotels are rated from one to Irish Farmhouse Holidays
an experience does not come five stars. Few one-star properties 071 982 2222; www.irishfarmholidays.com
cheap, a night or two in one of have en suite facilities, while a
these landmark buildings can be five-star rating signifies luxury. CASTLES AND HISTORIC HOMES
the most memorable of any trip. Guesthouses are classified Adams & Butler
For listings, see Ireland’s Blue Book, separately, from one to four stars. 01 288 9355; www.adamsandbutler.com
Hidden Ireland,Adams & Butler, Generally, the higher the star rating, Elegant Ireland
Elegant Ireland and the Irish the more expensive the room, but 01 473 2505; www.elegant.ie
Landmark Trust. prices also vary seasonally. Irish Landmark Trust
01 670 4733; www.irishlandmark.com
Booking Below far left Pretty thatched cottage in PRICES
It is essential to book ahead for stays Skerries, Co Dublin Below left Historic Ardgillan The following price bands are for a standard
in July and August, as well as at Castle, Co Dublin Below Clonmel, set on the double room in high season:
other peak times. Reservations can banks of the River Suir, Co Tipperary Republic of Ireland
Inexpensive – under €100
Moderate – €100–€200
Expensive – over €200
Northern Ireland
Inexpensive – under £100
Moderate – £100–£200
Expensive – over £200













022-023_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 23 11/09/17 12:29 pm

24 BACK ROADS IRELAND

Where to Eat

With its green pastures, fertile farmland and clear coastal waters,
Ireland enjoys an abundance of high-quality produce. In recent
years, Ireland’s restaurants have come into their own and now
talented chefs are turning all that premium beef, succulent lamb
and fresh seafood into New Irish cuisine in acclaimed restaurants
throughout the country. For those on a budget, there are hearty
pub meals as well as that Irish favourite, fish and chips, not to Above One of the many pubs in the
mention endless delicious items for a memorable picnic. Temple Bar district of Dublin
Practical Information Casual dress is acceptable in most Europe, America and the Pacific Rim
A cooked breakfast – commonly restaurants, though you may want to to put a fresh spin on familiar dishes.
known as a “Full Irish” or “Ulster Fry “– dress smartly for more expensive However, it is also well worth seeking
at your accommodation could easily establishments. Most places are out small, local restaurants that serve
keep you going throughout the day. wheelchair-accessible, but check in traditional Irish dishes, such as boxty
If not, lunch is normally served from advance. Children are allowed into (potato pancakes) or the classic Irish
noon or 12:30pm until 2:30 or 3pm. pubs with their parents until 9pm in stew. There are plenty of ethnic
Restaurants and cafés in larger towns winter and 10pm in summer. dining options too, from Indian
and cities have longer hours than Smoking is banned in any indoor and Chinese restaurants to Japanese
those in smaller towns and villages. area, including restaurants and bars. noodle bars to Italian restaurants
Although it was once customary in Menus are generally displayed and pizzerias.
Ireland to eat a large meal at midday, outside, so it is possible to make an Nearly all restaurants feature at
dinner is now the main meal for informed decision before entering. least one vegetarian option, often
most people. Restaurants’ evening Fine dining establishments usually more. Fine dining establishments
hours vary. Most open between 5:30 offer a set-price menu as well as à la usually have impressive wine lists,
and 7pm. In larger towns and tourist carte. These can be excellent value, as well as a good selection of Irish
areas they may serve until 10 or especially at lunchtime, and allow whiskeys and other spirits. It may be
11pm, but in smaller towns and you to enjoy a top restaurant at an necessary to book well in advance
villages they often close at 9pm, with affordable price. for a table in a top restaurant. In
last orders 30 minutes earlier. Many Northern Ireland, look for restaurants
pubs serve bar food from lunchtime Restaurants with the Taste of Ulster designation,
until around 9pm. Restaurants often Restaurants in Ireland range from a symbol of quality.
close for a day or two each week cosy, casual dining to trendy bistro- Visitors returning to Ireland will
(usually Mondays), but many smaller style hotspots to traditional dining be shocked to find that restaurant
establishments in busy areas stay rooms set with crystal and fine china. prices have risen significantly in
open seven days. Off the beaten Many country house hotels offer recent years, and Ireland is no longer
track, they may close out of season. outstanding dining in an elegant the bargain that it once was when it
Credit cards are widely accepted, setting, and they are often open to comes to quality dining. It may be
but some pubs, cafés and takeaway non-guests who book in advance. possible to cut costs by opting for
places may take cash only. Tax is Wild salmon, fresh seafood, oysters the “early-bird” specials at some
always included in the bill. A service and mussels feature on menus in restaurants, though this will, of
charge is often added as well; if not, season. The current trend is for New course, entail dining rather early
leave a tip of 10–15 per cent. Irish cuisine, which uses accents from (between 5:30 and 7pm).





















024-025_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 24 13/10/17 1:06 pm

Where to Eat 25












Above left A grocer’s shop in the Boyne Valley Above centre Pavement seating at a café in Carlow City Above right Shops along Malahide’s main street
Pubs and Bars Ireland has all the usual fast-food
The most reliable option for an chains, but far more enjoyable is a DIRECTORY
inexpensive but delicious meal is the takeaway from the local “chippy”, or PRICE BANDS
traditional Irish pub. An assortment fish and chip shop. On the coast, this
of classic dishes usually features on is an experience not to be missed. The following price bands are based
on a three-course meal for one,
the menu, along with burgers, Bakeries often sell pasties (a thick, including a half-bottle of house wine,
lasagne, fish and chips and other enclosed pastry case filled with meat cover charge, tax and service:
standards. Pubs serve hot meals at and vegetables) and other baked Republic of Ireland
lunch and dinner. Some have table goods that make quick, filling and Inexpensive: under €25
service, but it’s more usual to order at inexpensive takeaway snacks. Moderate: €25–€50
the bar, in which case a substantial Expensive: over €50
tip is not expected. Picnics Northern Ireland
Hotel bars and wine bars may Most towns will have a sandwich Inexpensive: under £25
also serve snacks and light meals. shop, where you can grab ready- Moderate: £25–£50
Eighteen is the minimum legal made picnic supplies. More fun are Expensive: over £50
drinking age in Ireland. the independent food shops and
delicatessens that usually offer a
Cafés and Takeaways great range of cured meats, patés,
For snacks and light meals, there is cheeses and other local delicacies.
an array of cafés, cafeterias and Best of all are the colourful farmers’
bakeries. Cafés are generally open for markets. These are a showcase for
breakfast and lunch, but many close regional producers and you should
by 6pm. Most museums and visitor be able to stock your picnic basket
attractions have cafeterias serving with home-baked breads, local
light refreshments. Ireland has not cheeses, honey and preserves, and
escaped the coffee craze. There are fresh seasonal fruit. Each driving tour
bustling branches of international notes the location and days of the
chains, as well as individual coffee- week for markets around the region.
shops, in larger towns and cities.
Most sell sandwiches and pastries
as well. Look out for traditional tea Below far left Old School House Café, Inistioge,
shops, where you can have a pot of Co Kilkenny Below left Pavement café in Dublin’s
tea or coffee along with home-made Temple Bar Below centre A pub in Temple Bar
cakes, breads and local specialities. Below Fish specials at Howth Harbour





















024-025_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 25 11/09/17 12:29 pm

26 BACK ROADS IRELAND

The Flavours of Ireland

For a small island, Ireland offers an amazing range of foods, and
a high standard of both cooking and presentation. Some of
Ireland’s speciality dishes, such as boxty and colcannon, are
based on its humble staple, the potato. Artisan breads and Irish
cheeses are made to traditional recipes in time-honoured
fashion. Fresh salmon, oysters and other seafood take pride of
place on menus in season. And you can enjoy Ireland’s best ales Above Flower-decked shop fronts along
and stout, and its exquisite aged whiskeys, at any time of year. Main Street, Cashel, Co Tipperary
Irish Specialities Of Ireland’s many potato dishes, Breads and Baked Goods
Ireland has a marvellous array of a favourite is boxty, a griddled Bread is baked and served as proudly
traditional dishes to try. Most are pancake made of grated raw and as any other food in Ireland, and
based on simple ingredients – mashed cooked potato with there is a delicious assortment to try.
potatoes, cabbage, bacon and the buttermilk. Others to look out for A slice of warm, freshly baked bread,
like – that were important staples in include champ (or poundies), a generously spread with butter, and
the centuries when Ireland was mashed potato and spring onion a cup of tea is a traditional sign of
primarily a rural country. A culinary dish served shaped like a volcano hospitality. Home-made brown or
resurgence has seen these basics with warmed milk and a knob soda bread is an accompaniment to
being used in new ways by artisan of butter in the “crater”, and most meals. Soda bread, which has
food producers, and there is often colcannon, made with mashed a light texture, uses baking soda
great pride invested in their cooking. potatoes, onions and cabbage. instead of yeast as a leavening agent,
Perhaps because they’re mostly and also contains buttermilk. In
cooked at home, many traditional Fish and Seafood Northern Ireland, soda bread is
Irish dishes can be surprisingly hard The abundance of fresh fish and baked in the “farl” shape, with a cross
to find on restaurant menus. They seafood from the Atlantic, the Irish slashed into the top of the dough,
are most likely to appear as daily Sea and the country’s many rivers is giving it a flatter form that is easily
specials in family-run pubs or small one of the delights of eating out in split into four sections. Soda farls are
cafés, or in independently owned Ireland. Locally caught fish such as a key constituent in an Ulster fry.
restaurants that specialize in Irish wild salmon and trout are highlights When made with wholemeal (rather
home cooking. on many restaurant menus, and oak- than white) flour, soda bread is called
Irish stew is the national dish, a or peat-smoked salmon is a popular brown bread in the Republic and
slow-cooked casserole made with starter. Herring, mackerel and eels wheaten bread in Northern Ireland.
neck of mutton (mature lamb), are also served smoked or fresh. In Waterford, the traditional soft
potatoes, carrots and onions and Fish chowder is sold in most pubs white doughy roll (bun) known as
served with fresh bread and butter. and restaurants in coastal villages. blaa was brought to the city by the
Dublin coddle is made with pork Seafood and shellfish are plentiful Huguenots in the 17th century.
sausages, bacon and vegetables along the coast: mussels from Bantry There is also a wide variety of
cooked in a ham or apple cider Bay, langoustines from Dublin Bay sweet breads and cakes to try:
stock. The magical combination and oysters from Galway Bay are the scones; barm brack, a rich, fruity
of beef and Guinness makes for a most renowned. Oysters are often cake-bread traditionally eaten at
rich, dark stew, sometimes with the served with Guinness at annual Hallowe’en; and porter cake, which is
addition of oysters for extra luxury. oyster festivals in the region. made with dried fruit and stout.





















026-027_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 26 11/09/17 12:29 pm

The Flavours of Ireland 27












Above Market in Moore Street, Dublin Above centre A perfect pint of Guinness Above right Platter of oysters Above far right Irish stew, the national dish
Irish Cheeses is brewed in Dublin, because the The Irish Pub
Cheese-making is a centuries-old art taste and texture of this dark, heavy
in Ireland, dating back to the time of beer, also known as “stout” is affected The archetypal Irish pub is noted
the monasteries. Today, several by how it is stored. A perfect pint is for its friendly locals, genial staff
dozen farmhouse-made cheeses are poured slowly and topped with a and the craic (pronounced “crack”,
produced as local specialities, and thick, creamy head. Other good Irish an Irish term for good times). Irish
are well worth sampling. There are stouts are Beamish and the slightly pubs date back to medieval
just two blue cheeses produced in milder Murphy’s. Ales, made with taverns, coaching inns and the
Ireland. Cashel Blue is a semi-soft, malted barley, are also very popular. shebeens, illegal drinking dens, that
medium-strength unpasteurized The best-selling brand is Smithwick’s, flourished under colo nial rule.
cow’s milk cheese with a creamy produced at Ireland’s oldest brewery, In the Victorian era, brewing and
texture. Its sister cheese is Crozier in Kilkenny. In pubs, be sure to try the distilling were major industries.
Blue, made from pasteurized sheep’s excellent “real ales” that are produced The sumptuous interiors of some
city pubs are testament to these
milk, as delicious young and crumbly by local micro-breweries. times, furnished with mahogany
as it is when mature and creamy. and marble bar counters. Snugs,
Both are from Tipperary. Durrus is a Irish Whiskey or partitioned-off booths, are
round, semi-soft raw milk cheese Whiskey has been made in Ireland another typical feature of Irish
with a coral-coloured washed rind, since at least the 12th century. The pubs. Some rural pubs double
produced on the Sheep’s Head first commercial distillery, Kilbeggan, as the village grocer’s shop.
Peninsula. Milleens is a similar style of was founded in 1757, and there are The best pubs are not evenly
cheese from the Beara Peninsula, as currently around fifteen other distributed throughout Ireland.
is Gubbeen, from Schull on Mizen distilleries in operation, the most In the southeast, Kilkenny is
Head. Another washed-rind cheese, well known being Bushmills and awash with great pubs, while
with a rich, earthy flavour, Ardrahan Cooley. Several working and former Cork and Kerry possess some of
comes from inland County Cork. distilleries offer tours that explain the the most picturesque. The Lower
Corleggy is a hard goat’s milk cheese Irish triple-distillation process. Irish Shannon region is noted for its
made in County Cavan. The same whiskey is matured in wooden casks boisterous pubs, especially in
producers make Quivvy, a soft goat’s for at least seven years, giving it a County Clare where spontaneous
milk cheese preserved in olive oil. distinctive flavour. music sessions are common. The
West has an abundance of typical
Stouts and Ales Below far left Traditional Irish bar Below pubs, and the many tourists and
Guinness is Ireland’s most famous left Temple Bar, Dublin Below centre Dublin students guarantee a profusion
drink, and many believe that it tastes coddle Below right Irish coffee pudding of good ones in Galway.
best on home soil, close to where it Below far right High-quality Galway salmon





















026-027_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 27 11/09/17 12:29 pm

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the

drives






















































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DRIVE 1



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A Taste of

East Cork

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• Wonderful wildlife
See exotic and endangered species
roaming free at Fota Wildlife Park
• Maritime history
Learn about Irish emigration, the last
days of the Titanic and Sir Walter Raleigh
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• Local flavours
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buy fabulous picnic fare from Cork’s
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32 BACK ROADS IRELAND

A Taste of East Cork

East Cork is a relaxed and peaceful region to visit, with many beautiful
places to enjoy, from the stately home and wildlife park of Fota to the
golden beaches and clifftop walks of Youghal and Ballycotton. The expanse
of coastline and harbours including historic Cobh has endowed the area
with a rich maritime legacy. This short drive begins in lively Cork City itself,
and follows the shores of lovely Cork Harbour to reach the spectacular bays
of Ballycotton and Youghal. It also ventures inland from the fishing villages
of the shore through the lush pastures that provide the fresh produce –
from fine cheeses to pig’s feet and oysters to corned mutton – for which
the region is justly celebrated. 0 kilometres 5
0 miles 5 Above View across Ballycotton Bay to the fishing village of Ballycotton and its sheltering island, see p37

ClashClash DungourneyDungourney YOUGHALYOUGHAL
KnockrahaKnockraha BallynakillaBallynakilla
KilleaghKilleagh
BlarneyBlarney SallybrookSallybrook CORKCORK MogeelyMogeely Youghal Harbour
TowerTower KilcullyKilcully
VillageVillage
GlanmireGlanmire RiverstownRiverstown MIDLETONMIDLETON
Youghal Harbour
CastlemartyrCastlemartyr
BallinamoughtBallinamought CarrigtwohillCarrigtwohill YoughalYoughal
FotaFota
CORK CITYCORK CITY IslandIsland BallynacorraBallynacorra BallymacodaBallymacoda B ayB ay
BlackrockBlackrock Little IslandLittle Island FOTA WILDLIFEFOTA WILDLIFE LadysbridgeLadysbridge
Lee Lee BallincolligBallincollig BallintempleBallintemple PARK & HOUSEPARK & HOUSE Knockadoon HeadKnockadoon Head
CapelCapel
BawnardBawnard IslandIsland
DouglasDouglas Great IslandGreat Island
PassagePassage
CurraheenCurraheen WestWest CarrigaloeCarrigaloe SaleenSaleen CloyneCloyne GarryvoeGarryvoe Ball ycottonBall ycotton
COBHCOBH RostellanRostellan SHANAGARRYSHANAGARRY
MonkstownMonkstown CorkCork B ayB ay
Cork Cork HarbourHarbour FarsidFarsid
SpikeSpike BALLYCOTTONBALLYCOTTON
BallygarvanBallygarvan RingaskiddyRingaskiddy IslandIsland WhitegateWhitegate ChurchtownChurchtown BallycottonBallycotton
IslandIsland
BallinhassigBallinhassig CarrigalineCarrigaline BallinrostigBallinrostig
CrosshavenCrosshaven
InchInch
GyleenGyleen
Below Graceful curve of the limestone Parliament Bridge in Cork City, built in 1806 and Swansea,Swansea,
RoscoffRoscoff
spanning the south channel of the River Lee, see pp34–5
KEY
Drive route
ACTIVITIES
Follow the Titanic Trail and undergo
the Titanic Experience in historic Cobh
Watch a cookery demonstration at
world-famous Ballymaloe House
Set sail for a sea-angling trip in lovely
Ballycotton Bay
Enjoy a swim from the 8-km (5-mile)
Blue Flag beach of Youghal




032-033_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 32 12/09/17 11:58 am
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Date 25th March 2009
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DRIVE 1: A Taste of East Cork 33

PLAN YOUR DRIVE

Start/finish: Cork City to Youghal.
Number of days: 2, allowing half
a day to explore Cork City.
Distance: 86 km (53 miles).
Road conditions: Roads are good,
with most of the drive taking place
on regional roads. There are some
smaller, unclassified roads towards the
end of the drive. On such roads there
may not be a central line marked, and
5 Above View across Ballycotton Bay to the fishing village of Ballycotton and its sheltering island, see p37 drivers should take care on bends in
case of oncoming vehicles.
When to go: East Cork is lovely in
ClashClash DungourneyDungourney YOUGHALYOUGHAL every season, but be prepared for
KnockrahaKnockraha BallynakillaBallynakilla mixed weather – warm sunshine, rain
KilleaghKilleagh or cold winds – at any time of year,
BlarneyBlarney SallybrookSallybrook CORKCORK MogeelyMogeely Youghal Harbour and pack appropriate clothing.
TowerTower KilcullyKilcully
VillageVillage Opening times: Most shops and
GlanmireGlanmire RiverstownRiverstown MIDLETONMIDLETON
Youghal Harbour
CastlemartyrCastlemartyr attractions open 9 or 10am–5 or 6pm.
BallinamoughtBallinamought CarrigtwohillCarrigtwohill YoughalYoughal Shops open Mon–Sat; in large towns
FotaFota
CORK CITYCORK CITY IslandIsland BallynacorraBallynacorra BallymacodaBallymacoda B ayB ay also 12–6pm on Sun. Convenience
BlackrockBlackrock Little IslandLittle Island FOTA WILDLIFEFOTA WILDLIFE LadysbridgeLadysbridge stores in villages open 8am until late.
Lee Lee BallincolligBallincollig BallintempleBallintemple PARK & HOUSEPARK & HOUSE Knockadoon HeadKnockadoon Head
CapelCapel
BawnardBawnard IslandIsland Main market days: Cork City: Mon–
DouglasDouglas Great IslandGreat Island Sat; Cobh: Farmers’ Market, Fri;
PassagePassage
CurraheenCurraheen WestWest CarrigaloeCarrigaloe SaleenSaleen CloyneCloyne GarryvoeGarryvoe Ball ycottonBall ycotton Midleton: Farmers’ Market, Sat.
COBHCOBH RostellanRostellan SHANAGARRYSHANAGARRY Shopping: In Cork City, explore the
MonkstownMonkstown CorkCork B ayB ay
CorkCork HarbourHarbour FarsidFarsid small shops of the pedestrianized
SpikeSpike BALLYCOTTONBALLYCOTTON Huguenot Quarter, and don’t miss the
BallygarvanBallygarvan RingaskiddyRingaskiddy IslandIsland WhitegateWhitegate ChurchtownChurchtown BallycottonBallycotton English Market. Midleton is home to
IslandIsland
BallinhassigBallinhassig CarrigalineCarrigaline BallinrostigBallinrostig Jameson Irish whiskey, where visitors
can purchase as well as sample.
CrosshavenCrosshaven
InchInch
GyleenGyleen Major festivals: Cork City: Jazz
Swansea,Swansea, Festival, Oct; Film Festival, Nov; Cobh:
RoscoffRoscoff
Maritime Song Festival, May–Jun;
Midleton: East Cork Early Music
Festival, Oct; Food Festival, Sep;
Below The peaceful promenade and bandstand in Cobh, on Great Island, see p36 Youghal: Visual Arts Festival, Jul.
DAY TRIP OPTIONS
For lovers of history, a day divided
between Cork City and Cobh would
be time well spent. Epicureans will
enjoy Midleton and Shanagarry,
which offer both fine whiskey and
fine food, while, for families, the
wonderful beaches, clifftop walks and
historic harbours of Ballycotton and
Youghal would be hard to beat. For
full details, see p37.




032-033_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 33 12/09/17 11:58 am

34 BACK ROADS IRELAND

1 Cork City
Co Cork
Cork is a compact city with a lively atmosphere and plenty of
historic sights. There are museums and churches to explore, and
a church steeple to climb with bells to ring. Whether it’s the
impressive architecture of Cork Opera House, the bustling
atmosphere and great local produce of the indoor English Market,
or the little shops and cafés of the Huguenot Quarter, there’s
something for everyone to love in this friendly city.

A half-day walking tour Sun), with local and national
From the car park on Grand Parade exhibitions. Leaving here, turn left
by the Tourist Office 1, turn right. and, at the River Lee, turn right along
The Cork City Library 2 (closed Sun) the quays to Cork Opera House 8
is across Grand Parade and further and the Crawford Art Gallery 9 (open
along on the same side is Bishop Mon–Sat), with works by Jack B Yeats,
Lucey Park 3, which has remains of Louis le Brocquy and Paul Henry.
Above The elegant English Market in Cork City a 13th-century city wall. Cross the river here, turn
Cross Grand Parade left, then immediately
again for the bustling right along Upper John
indoor English Market Street, taking the first
4. At the end of Grand left onto Dominick
Parade, turn right into Street for the historic
St Patrick Street. The Shandon area. Over to
pedestrianized streets of the right is the landmark
the Huguenot Quarter St Ann’s Church 0. The
5, running between bells in its 36-m (120-ft)
VISITING CORK CITY St Patrick Street and steeple, which is open to
Paul Street, are worth Giraffes at Fota climb, are famous and,
Parking exploring, with lots of small Wildlife Park for anyone who ascends to
There are plenty of multi-storey car
parks in the city. Try the covered, shops, cafés and galleries. the top, it is possible to try
multi-storey Grand Parade car park Turn left on Paul Street, then right their hand at ringing them, and
close to the Tourist Office, or park on into Cornmarket Street 6 where admire the views. Around the corner
the streets around Grand Parade, there is an outdoor market, especially on O’Connell Square is the Cork
Patrick Street and South Mall, with good on a Saturday. Turn left into Butter Museum q (open daily), in
a disk which can be purchased at
newsagents or convenience stores. Kyle Street, then right into North what was the world’s largest butter
Main Street and across the road to market, telling the story of Ireland’s
Tourist Information
42 Grand Parade; 021 425 5100; reach St Peter’s Cork 7 (open Tue– most important food export.
www.discoverireland.ie./cork
Below Tall, pastel-shaded buildings add character to the sweep of Popes Quay, Cork City

WHERE TO STAY IN CORK CITY
Hotel Isaacs moderate
This is a pleasant hotel in a restored
Victorian building, with plenty of
character. There’s a good restaurant,
and the city centre is just minutes
away on foot.
48 MacCurtain Street; 021 450 0011;
www.hotelisaacscork.com
Hayfield Manor expensive
This luxurious and intimate five-star
hotel is very near the city centre but
set on its own secluded grounds. The
drawing room or library are charming
for morning coffee or afternoon tea.
Perrott Avenue, College Road; 021 484
5900; www.hayfieldmanor.ie
Where to Stay: inexpensive, under €100; moderate, €100–€200; expensive, over €200


034-037_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 34 11/09/17 11:38 am

DRIVE 1: A Taste of East Cork 35


Cork Butter St. Ann's
0 metres 500 Museum Church
Shandon N20 LEITRIM ST
0 yards 500 SHANDON ST DOM INICK ST
B L A R N E Y S T R E E T POPE'S QUAY
J REDMOND ST
B L A R N E Y S T R E E T NORTH MALL
KYRL’S QUAY COAL QUAY Cork Opera
S U N D A Y ’ S W E L L R O A D Cork NORTH MAIN STREET STREET CORNMARKET
House
St Peter's
Cork City Gaol BACHELOR’S QUAY KYLE ST Crawford Art
Quarter
CONVENT AVE CASTLE ST PAUL ST Gallery Huguenot
ST PATRICK ST
L e e SH E ARE S S T R EE T English
S T R AW B E R Y H I L L
Bishop
Daly’s L e e DYKE PARAD E W A S H I N G T O N S T R E E T GRAND PARADE Market
Lucey Park
Bridge Fitzgerald WA N DESFORD QUAY Tourist Office
Park L A N C A S T E R Q U A Y
Cork Public Cork City
Museum M A R D Y K E R O A D L e e CR AWFORD STREET Library
W E S T E R N R O A D Lewis Glucksman S H ARMAN St. Fin Barre's
Cathedral
Gallery GILL ABBEY ST DEAN ST
Univeristy B A N D O N R O A D E V E R G R E E N S T R E E T
L e e College Cork
The English Market Turn right along the River Lee and
Although there has been a market Lancaster Quay, right again at the
here since 1610, the current elegant end onto Wandesford Quay, then
covered market hall was built in right into Sharman Crawford Street.
1786, and extensively restored after St Fin Barre’s Cathedral y was
fires in 1980 and 1986. Despite its consecrated in 1870 on the site of a
name (dating from the days of
English rule) the best of regional monastery founded by the saint in
and national produce is to be found the 7th century. Its elegant spires are
here, from fine cheeses to pigs’ feet, a city landmark. Walk back to the river,
but there are also delicacies from cross it and turn right into Washington
around the world. The galleried Street to return to Grand Parade.
upper level makes for great people- ª From Cork City, take the N8, then
watching, and you can sample local
fare at its cafés and restaurants N25 signed to Waterford. Turn right on
(www.englishmarket.ie). R624 to Cobh and continue on this for
4 km (2.5 miles) to Fota Wildlife Park.
Above Cork City’s lowering Gothic-style
Turn left and walk down Shandon 2 Fota Wildlife Park & House 19th-century Gaol
Street to the river, turn right along Carrigtwohill, Co Cork
North Mall and Sunday’s Well Road Founded in 1983 as an adjunct to EAT AND DRINK IN CORK CITY
and turn right into Convent Avenue Dublin Zoo, and situated on lovely
for a tour of the 19th-century Gothic- Fota Island, the Fota Wildlife Park Farmgate Café inexpensive
Fresh ingredients are transformed
style Cork City Gaol w (open daily). (open daily) is a 28-ha (70-acre) into classic regional dishes – from
Return to Sunday’s Well Road and conservation centre where wildlife oysters and chowder to Irish lamb
cross the river via Daly’s Bridge e, can roam free. It is home to some stew – in this lively market setting.
a fine 1926 suspension footbridge very rare Asian species, such as red English Market; 021 427 8134;
(known as “the shaky bridge” because pandas, Sumatran tigers and Indian www.farmgate.ie; closed Sun
it moves as people cross it) into rhino, among many more animals. A Jacobs on the Mall moderate
Fitzgerald Park for the Cork Public train takes visitors through the varied Foodies flock to this award-winning
Museum r (open daily), which tells habitats. Fota House (open Apr–Sep: restaurant for delicious, modern
European cuisine served in converted
the history of Cork and its most daily) is the 19th-century Regency- Turkish baths.
famous citizens. style house at the heart of the estate, 30a South Mall; 021 425 1530;
From here, walk south, crossing with a superb art collection and fine www.jacobsonthemall.com;
Western Road, and over the South Neo-Classical interiors. Its arboretum eves only, closed Sun
Channel of the River Lee to the campus includes rare trees and shrubs from Jacques Restaurant expensive
of University College Cork. Don’t miss around the world; the lovely gardens The multiple award-winning Jacques
the contemporary art at the Lewis also feature a fernery and an orangery. attracts an elegant crowd with its
quality Irish ingredients prepared
Glucksman Gallery t (open Tue–Sat, ª On leaving the Fota Wildlife Park, in an imaginative way.
Sun afternoons); its cantilevered turn right and follow the R624 over 23 Oliver Plunkett St; 021 427 7387;
concrete design is an artwork in itself. the bridge to Great Island and Cobh. www.jacquesrestaurant.ie; closed Sun
Eat and Drink: inexpensive, under €25; moderate, €25–€50; expensive, over €50
034-037_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 35 11/09/17 11:38 am

36 BACK ROADS IRELAND




















Above The Old Distillery at Midleton Above
right Huge copper pot still at the Jameson 3 Cobh Ballymaloe Cookery School
Experience, Midleton Co Cork Ballymaloe attracts would-be
Cobh, once known as Queenstown, chefs and keen cooks from far and
on Great Island is a pretty town with wide. It was founded by Darina
bright Victorian terraces overlooking Allen in 1983, and the renowned
VISITING COBH Cork Harbour, one of the world’s chef remains at its helm today.
Courses on offer range from short
deepest natural harbours. demonstrations to half a day or a
Parking Cobh was the last port for the ill- full 12-week Certificate Course for
Parking along the waterfront is free for fated Titanic, and the Queenstown budding professionals. The school
the first hour, but then requires a disk (and restaurant) kitchen is supplied
available from local shops. There are Story at the Cobh Heritage Centre with herbs, fruits and vegetables
two free car parks: one on the (www.cobhheritage.com; open daily) tells from the 200-year-old gardens
waterfront; one above the cathedral. the history of the liner as well as that of (021 464 6785; www.cookingisfun.ie).
Tourist Information Irish emigration to America – two and
Market House, Casement Square; 021 a half million people left from Cobh
481 3301; www.visitcobh.com alone after the Famine. The Titanic Trail
(www.titanic.ie; departs Commodore Hotel
daily at 11am & 2pm), a guided walking
WHERE TO STAY tour, takes in sights such as the Titanic
Memorial, the White Star Line office
AROUND MIDLETON and Cobh Museum (Mar–Oct: open daily).
Barnabrow Country House moderate ª Retrace route on R624 north to N25
This is a relaxed manor house set in its junction. Here, take second exit signed
own grounds; on a clear day there are N25 to Rosslare. Continue on N25, then
views all the way to Ballycotton Island. turn left onto R627 signed to Midleton.
The walled garden supplies the kitchen.
Cloyne, Midleton (take R629 from
Midleton, then left on R631); 021 465 4 Midleton
2534; www.barnabrowhouse.ie Co Cork
Midleton is a busy commercial town,
AROUND SHANAGARRY and a major centre of production for
Garryvoe Hotel moderate Irish whiskey. Find out how “the water
This comfortable and completely
wheelchair accessible hotel has views of life” is distilled at the Jameson Above Gateway to Ballymaloe House
over the stunning beach at Garryvoe Experience in The Old Distillery
as well as Ballycotton Bay. (www.jamesonwhiskey.com; open daily). 5 Shanagarry
Ballycotton Bay, Castlemartyr (on drive There are guided tours, ending with a Co Cork
route taking R632 from Midleton to sample glass or tutored tasting (book Shanagarry was the birthplace of
Shanagarry); 021 464 6718; www.
garryvoehotel.com in advance). En route to Shanagarry William Penn, the founding father of
are the magnificent golden sands of Pennsylvania. Sadly, his ancestral
BALLYCOTTON Garryvoe beach. home, Shanagarry Castle, is closed
Bayview Hotel moderate ª From Midleton, return to the N25 to the public these days.
This is a comfortable and relaxing and follow the road to Castlemartyr. Today Shanagarry is probably
hotel in the quiet fishing village of
Ballycotton, with views over the Bay. Turn right at the bridge onto the R632 most famous of all as the location
021 464 6746; www.thebayviewhotel. for Ladysbridge. Go through Garryvoe of Ballymaloe House and its
com; closed Oct–Easter and follow the road to Shanagarry. celebrated cookery school (from
Where to Stay: inexpensive, under €100; moderate, €100–€200; expensive, over €200


034-037_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 36 13/10/17 1:06 pm

DRIVE 1: A Taste of East Cork 37


the village follow signs to the as steep steps down to a rocky
cookery school or take the R629 swimming cove, known aptly as
towards Cloyne to the front Paradise. Take heed of warning signs
entrance). Non-guests may visit the and fenced-off areas on the walk.
gardens (Mon–Sat) and shop, which ª Take R629 back to Shanagarry,
sells local produce, seasonal plants then turn right onto R632. On
and fancy kitchenware. reaching Ladysbridge, turn right onto
ª From Shanagarry, take a left turn R633 to Ballymacoda. There, turn left
at the petrol station onto the R629 onto R634 to Youghal, passing along
and follow to Ballycotton. its picturesque strand.
6 Ballycotton 7 Youghal
Co Cork Co Cork
Ballycotton is a quiet fishing village The 8 km (5 miles) of golden sandy
overlooking a pretty island with a beach at Youghal naturally play an Above Ballycotton Island with its lighthouse,
lighthouse that shelters its harbour important part in its popularity as a buffeted by Atlantic breakers
from Atlantic gales. Rare seabirds seaside resort. However, the town is
take shelter at the marshland bird also steeped in history and it is said EAT AND DRINK
sanctuary during stormy weather, that Sir Walter Raleigh planted the
but around 300 species of bird in all first Irish potato here in 1585. The COBH
visit Ballycotton during the year. A ancient port retains original walls Jacob’s Ladder moderate
fishing fleet and sea-angling vessels and towers from the 13th century. Modern Irish cuisine in a lovely setting
are based in the harbour. There are The Clock Gate over the main street with views over Cork Harbour.
various coves and shore walks, and dates from 1777; the Collegiate Church Waters Edge Hotel; 021 481 5566;
www.watersedgehotel.ie/restaurant
the cliff walk has great views, as well of Saint Mary the Virgin from 1220.
MIDLETON
Farm Gate moderate
The store fronting this popular eatery
gives a flavour of the delicious organic
and home-baked produce on offer.
The Coolbawn; 021 463 2771; www.
farmgate.ie; dinner served Thu–Sat
only; closed Sun & hols
SHANAGARRY
Ballymaloe House expensive
Home of celebrity chef Darina Allen
(see Ballymaloe Cookery School box),
Ballymaloe is acclaimed for gourmet
cuisine using local garden produce.
Also offers luxury accommodation.
Shanagarry; 021 465 2531;
www.ballymaloe.ie
YOUGHAL
Aherne’s of Youghal expensive
Local seafood is a speciality in this cosy
restaurant and bar in historic Youghal.
163 North Main Street, Youghal;
Above The beautiful golden sands at the historic port town of Youghal 024 92424; www.ahernes.net


DAY TRIP OPTIONS Follow the drive instructions but, Follow the drive instructions from
Cork, Midleton and Ballycotton are instead of turning off to Fota Island, Midleton to Shanagarry.
ideal bases to explore the local history, continue on the R624 direct to Cobh. A day at the seaside
scenery and gourmet delights. Fine Irish food and drink Go beach-hopping from Ballycotton
Nominate a designated driver, or hire
East Cork history trail a taxi, to travel the short distance 6, ending the day with a seafood
Spend the morning exploring from the Jameson Experience at the supper at Aherne’s in Youghal 7.
historic Cork City 1, then make the Old Distillery in Midleton 4 to the Follow the drive instructions or take
short drive out to Cobh 3 to walk food-lover’s paradise of Ballymaloe the coastal road out to the rugged
the Titanic Trail. House at Shanagarry 5. Knockadoon Head.

Eat and Drink: inexpensive, under €25; moderate, €25–€50; expensive, over €50


034-037_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 37 11/09/17 11:38 am

BR_IR_038-039_Opener2.indd 38 26/10/09 12:05:57
Back Roads LAYERS PRINTED:
Section opener template “UK” LAYER
(OpenType)
Date 29th April 2009
Size 145mm x 217mm
Font Myriad Pro

DRIVE 2



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Lighthouses

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40 BACK ROADS IRELAND

Islands and Lighthouses

West Cork offers some of Ireland’s most scenic driving routes, with
no fewer than three long, spectacular peninsulas to explore, each
stretching southwest into the Atlantic. This drive encompasses a mix
of wild forest and lush, cultivated farmland; unspoiled, golden
beaches, rocky coves and inlets; and historic ruins and castles. There 0 kilometres 10
are opportunities to visit islands including Cape Clear, Sherkin, Hare, 0 miles 10
Bere, Dursey and the lonely Fastnet Rock, the most southerly point
in Ireland. And all along the route are the tall, imposing lighthouses
and beacons that guide ships safely to secluded harbours and bays,
from the moody Fastnet lighthouse to the stunning white beacon Blarney
Blarney
Cloghroe
at Baltimore or the Mizen Head Signal Station perched high on the Reananerreeree Mossytown MACROOM Coachfordord Cloghroe Cork Cork
Mossytown
Coachf
MACROOM
Reananer
(Ré na nDoirí)
sea-battered cliffs. As if that weren’t enough, every little village on (Ré na nDoirí) Sullane Inishcarra Lee Lee Ballincollig
Sullane
Ballincollig
KERR
Inishcarra
Carrigadrohid
the way has its share of lively pubs and great regional cooking. KERR YY Hedgefield Carrigadrohid Reservoir Ovensens
Reservoir
Hedgefield
Reservoir
Reservoir
Ov
Ballingeary
Ballingeary
(Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh)
(Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh)
Carrignamuck Lee Lee Cork Cork
Carrignamuck
Crookstown
Inchigeelagh Teerelton Crookstown
Inchigeelagh
Teerelton
Lough
GOUGANE BARRA Pass of Lough (Inse Geimhleach) Bealnablath Cross Cross Ballinhassig
(Inse Geimhleach)
GOUGANE BARRA
Ballinhassig
Allua Allua
Bealnablath
Pass of
FOREST PARK
FOREST PARK
Barry Barry
C a h a M o u n t a i n
Keimaneigh
Keimaneigh
Moneygaff
Shehy Mt
Bunaw
Kilpatrick
Riverstick
Bridge Ville
547m 547m
Hogs Hogs Bridge Ville Bunaw Shehy Mt Moneygaff Kilpatrick Riverstick
K e n m a r e R i v e r r GLENGARRIFF Coomhola Kealkill Ballyneen Enniskeen Bandon Belgooly
K e n m a r e R i v e
Head Head C a h a M o u n t a i n s s Kinneigh Inishannon
Kinneigh
Inishannon
Caherdaniel Lauragh Cousane Inchicahan
Caherdaniel
Lauragh
Inchicahan
Cousane
Bandon
Coomhola
GLENGARRIFF
Enniskeen
Belgooly
Ardgroom
Ardgroom
Ballyneen
Kealkill
Bandon
Bandon
Garnish
Healy Pass
CORK
Owen Hill
Scariff
Ballinadee
Scariff Ballycrovane Healy Pass Garnish Ballylickey Owen Hill Dunmanway CORK Ballinadee KINSALE
Ballylickey
Island
Island
Ballycrovane
KINSALE
537m 537m
B e a r a P e n i n s u l
Dunmanway
Whiddy
Coulagh
Coulagh Whiddy
Adrigole
Eyeries
Bay Bay Eyeries Adrigole Island Knocks
Island
Knocks
Deelish
Ballingurteen
Hungry Hill
Hungry Hill
Kilbrittain
Caherkeen
Caherkeen B e a r a P e n i n s u l a a Deelish Ballingurteen Ballinascarty Kilbrittain Ballinspittle
Ballinascarty
Ballinspittle
BANTRY
686m 686m
Cod’s Head
Cod’s Head Curryglass y y BANTRY Drimoleague
Drimoleague
Curryglass
Aghaville
Ballydonegan Allihies Castletownbere B B a a Aghaville Bealad Timoleague Garrylucas
Ballydonegan Allihies
Timoleague
Garrylucas
Castletownbere
Bealad
Drinagh
Sheep’s Head Peninsul
Bay Bay y y Drinagh Garretstown Ballymackean
Garretstown
Courtmacsherry
Ballydonegan Bere Island t t r r Durrus CLONAKILTYTY Courtmacsherry Ballymackean
Ballydonegan
CLONAKIL
Bere Island
Durrus
North R
Hartville
Courtmacsherry
OLD HEAD
Dursey
Dursey BEARA a a n n Sheep’s Head Peninsula a Hartville North Ringing Courtmacsherry OLD HEAD
BEARA
Island Garinish PENINSULA B B Bunalunn Lisavaird INCHYDONEY Bay Bay OF KINSALE
Island
OF KINSALE
INCHYDONEY
Garinish
PENINSULA
Lisavaird
Bunalunn
Butlerstown
ISLAND
Rosscarbery
Kilcrohane
Black Ball
Black Ball Kilcrohane Leap Leap Rosscarbery ISLAND Butlerstown
Dur
Durseysey Crow Crow Head Head Rathbarry
Kilcoe SKIBBEREEN
Rathbarry
Ballydehob
D u n m a n u s B a
Glandore
Ballyroon
Head Head Head Head Ballyroon Ballydehob Kilcoe SKIBBEREEN Glandore Clonakilty Seven
Clonakilty
Seven
Long Strand
Mizen Head Peninsu
Heads
Rineen
DROMBEG
SHEEP’S HEAD
SHEEP’S HEAD D u n m a n u s B a y y Rineen DROMBEG Long Strand Bay Bay Heads
Lisheen
PENINSULA
STONE CIRCLE
PENINSULA Mizen Head Peninsula la Schull Cunnamore Lisheen CASTLETOWNSHEND STONE CIRCLE GALLEY HEAD
Dunowen Head
Dunowen Head
Schull
Toormore
Toormore
CASTLETOWNSHEND
Cunnamore
GALLEY HEAD
Tragumna
Hare Hare
Goleen
Three Castle Goleen Island LOUGH Tragumna
LOUGH
Three Castle
Island
MIZEN HEAD
Head Head MIZEN HEAD Calf Calf Toe Head
HYNE
Toe Head
PENINSULA
PENINSULA Sherkin HYNE
Sherkin
Islands
Caher
Caher Islands Island
Island
BALTIMORE
Crookhaven
Mizen Head Signal Station
Mizen Head Signal Station Crookhaven BALTIMORE
Barley Cove
Barley Cove Brow Brow Galley Cove Cape Clear Island
Cape Clear Island
Head Head
(Cléire)
(Cléire)
Galley Cove
ACTIVITIES
Fastnet Rock
Fastnet Rock
Have a surfing lesson at Inchydoney Island
Look out for whales and dolphins from headlands such as
Galley Head
Take a boat trip to an island such as Cape Clear, Sherkin,
or the iconic Fastnet Rock
KEY
Walk part of the Sheep’s Head Way, a waymarked track across Drive route
rolling countryside and along rugged cliffs
Pedal a stretch of the Beara Way, a cycle route running along
picturesque country roads
040-041_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 40 11/09/17 11:38 am

DRIVE 2: Islands and Lighthouses 41

PLAN YOUR DRIVE

Start/finish: Kinsale to Macroom.
Number of days: 4–5.
Distance: 340 km (210 miles).
Road conditions: Roads are generally
10 good. However, some minor roads
may not have central markings so
take things slowly and watch out
Above Pretty shops and houses lining the winding cobbled streets of Kinsale, see p42 for oncoming vehicles.
When to go: West Cork can be busy at
Blarney
Cloghroe
Cloghroe Blarney any time of year. It is most peaceful in
Mossytown
Mossytown Coachfordord
Coachf
MACROOM
Reananer
Reananerreeree MACROOM the winter months, although some
(Ré na nDoirí) Sullane Lee Lee Cork Cork restaurants and sights may be closed.
(Ré na nDoirí)
Sullane
Ballincollig
KERR YY Hedgefield Carrigadrohid Inishcarra Ballincollig The climate is mild all year, but the
KERR
Inishcarra
Carrigadrohid
Reservoir
Reservoir
Hedgefield
Reservoir
Reservoir
Ov
Ballingeary
Ballingeary Ovensens weather can change quickly, so be
(Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh)
(Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh)
Carrignamuck Lee Lee Cork Cork prepared for sun or rain.
Carrignamuck
Crookstown
Inchigeelagh Teerelton Crookstown
Teerelton
Inchigeelagh
Lough
GOUGANE BARRA
(Inse Geimhleach)
GOUGANE BARRA Pass of Lough (Inse Geimhleach) Bealnablath Cross Cross Ballinhassig Opening times: Most shops and
Ballinhassig
Allua Allua
Bealnablath
Pass of
FOREST PARK
FOREST PARK
Barry Barry
attractions open 9 or 10am–5 or 6pm.
C a h a M o u n t a i n
Keimaneigh
Keimaneigh
Moneygaff
Shehy Mt
Bunaw
Bridge Ville
Riverstick
Kilpatrick
547m 547m
Hogs Hogs Bridge Ville Bunaw Shehy Mt Moneygaff Kilpatrick Riverstick Shops open Mon–Sat; in large towns
also 12–6pm on Sun. Convenience
K e n m a r e R i v e r r GLENGARRIFF Coomhola Kealkill Ballyneen Enniskeen Bandon Belgooly
K e n m a r e R i v e
Kinneigh
Head Head C a h a M o u n t a i n s s Kinneigh Inishannon
Inishannon
Caherdaniel Lauragh Cousane Inchicahan stores in villages open 8am until late.
Lauragh
Caherdaniel
Inchicahan
Cousane
Bandon
Coomhola
Enniskeen
GLENGARRIFF
Belgooly
Kealkill
Ardgroom
Ardgroom
Ballyneen
Bandon
Bandon
Garnish
Healy Pass
Owen Hill
CORK
Scariff
Ballinadee
Scariff Ballycrovane Healy Pass Garnish Ballylickey Owen Hill Dunmanway CORK Ballinadee KINSALE Main market days: Kinsale: Wed;
Ballylickey
Clonakilty: Fri; Skibbereen: Fri;
Ballycrovane
Island
Island
537m 537m
KINSALE
B e a r a P e n i n s u l
Dunmanway
Coulagh
Coulagh Whiddy Schull: Sun; Bantry: Fri. These are
Whiddy
Adrigole
Eyeries
Knocks
Bay Bay Eyeries Adrigole Island Knocks
Island
Deelish
Hungry Hill
Ballingurteen
Hungry Hill
Kilbrittain
Caherkeen
Caherkeen B e a r a P e n i n s u l a a Deelish Ballingurteen Ballinascarty Kilbrittain Ballinspittle among the country’s best Farmers’
Ballinascarty
Ballinspittle
BANTRY
686m 686m
Cod’s Head
Cod’s Head Curryglass y y BANTRY Drimoleague Markets and an ideal way to sample
Drimoleague
Curryglass
Aghaville
Ballydonegan Allihies
Ballydonegan Allihies Castletownbere B B a a Aghaville Bealad Timoleague Garrylucas the area’s fine produce.
Timoleague
Garrylucas
Castletownbere
Bealad
Drinagh
Sheep’s Head Peninsul
Bay Bay y y Drinagh Garretstown Ballymackean
Garretstown
Courtmacsherry
Ballydonegan Bere Island t t r r Durrus CLONAKILTYTY Courtmacsherry Ballymackean Shopping: With its temperate
Ballydonegan
Bere Island
CLONAKIL
Durrus
North R
Hartville
OLD HEAD
Dursey BEARA a a n n Sheep’s Head Peninsula a Hartville North Ringing Courtmacsherry OLD HEAD climate, lush famlands and traditional
Courtmacsherry
Dursey
BEARA
Island Garinish PENINSULA B B Bunalunn Lisavaird INCHYDONEY Bay Bay OF KINSALE farming methods, West Cork has
Island
OF KINSALE
Garinish
INCHYDONEY
PENINSULA
Bunalunn
Lisavaird
Butlerstown
ISLAND
Rosscarbery
Kilcrohane
Black Ball
Black Ball Kilcrohane Leap Leap Rosscarbery ISLAND Butlerstown become well-known for its excellent
Durseysey Crow Crow Head Head Rathbarry
Dur
Kilcoe SKIBBEREEN
Rathbarry
D u n m a n u s B a
Ballydehob
Glandore
Ballyroon
Head Head Head Head Ballyroon Ballydehob Kilcoe SKIBBEREEN Glandore Clonakilty Seven artisan food producers. World-class
Clonakilty
Seven
Long Strand
Mizen Head Peninsu
Heads
SHEEP’S HEAD
DROMBEG
Rineen
SHEEP’S HEAD D u n m a n u s B a y y Rineen DROMBEG Long Strand Bay Bay Heads cheeses from Gubbeen and Durrus,
Lisheen
PENINSULA
STONE CIRCLE
PENINSULA Mizen Head Peninsula la Schull Cunnamore Lisheen CASTLETOWNSHEND STONE CIRCLE GALLEY HEAD cured meats from Gubbeen and slow-
Dunowen Head
Dunowen Head
Schull
Toormore
CASTLETOWNSHEND
Toormore
GALLEY HEAD
smoked wild fish from the Woodcock
Cunnamore
Tragumna
Hare Hare
Goleen
LOUGH
Three Castle Goleen Island LOUGH Tragumna Smokery are just some of the treats
Three Castle
Island
MIZEN HEAD
Head Head MIZEN HEAD Calf Calf Toe Head on sale in shops and on farms.
HYNE
Toe Head
PENINSULA
Sherkin
PENINSULA Sherkin HYNE
Islands
Caher
Island
Caher Islands Island
BALTIMORE
Crookhaven
Mizen Head Signal Station
Mizen Head Signal Station Crookhaven BALTIMORE Major festivals: Kinsale: Arts Week, Jul;
Barley Cove
Barley Cove Brow Brow Galley Cove Cape Clear Island Gourmet Festival, Oct; Baltimore: Fiddle
Cape Clear Island
Head Head
(Cléire)
(Cléire)
Fair, May; Skibbereen: Taste of West
Galley Cove
Cork, Sep; Cape Clear: International
Fastnet Rock Storytelling Festival, Sep; Bantry: West
Fastnet Rock
Cork Chamber Music Festival, Jun–Jul.
DAY TRIP OPTIONS
Based in Baltimore, spend a day on
one of the islands. Visiting one of
the three peninsulas would also
make a perfect day trip. For full details,
see p49.
Left Empty, silken sands of lovely Barley Cove
Beach on the Mizen Head peninsula, see p45
040-041_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 41 11/09/17 11:38 am

42 BACK ROADS IRELAND


1 Kinsale ª Turn back along the L3233 and
Co Cork turn left onto the R604, passing two
Kinsale is a pretty town set around a Blue Flag beaches at Garrylucas and
harbour, with narrow streets full of Garretstown. Turn left, passing by
small, eye-catching shops. Kinsale Ballinspittle. At crossroads continue
also has a reputation for fine food on R600, then turn left onto N71
and gourmet dining, with plenty of (Convent Rd), entering Clonakilty.
atmospheric restaurants and pubs Go straight across roundabout at the
and gourmet-themed events. The edge of town, down to the harbour.
tourist office is a good place to start
exploring the town, with some great 3 Clonakilty
craft shops nearby. Desmond Castle Co Cork
in Cork Street, built in around 1500, Clonakilty is a delightful heritage
has been used as a Spanish arsenal town that is a pleasure to explore,
and a prison, and is now a wine with colourful and traditional shop
museum (open Easter–Sep: daily). On fronts whose hand-painted, old-style
Above Traditional shop sign in Clonakilty leaving town the road passes the signs reveal their contents, such as
17th-century, star-shaped Charles Knitwell Wools, Quirky Kitchen and
Fort, its two huge bastions Harrington’s Original Recipe Black
overlooking the estuary. This lovely Pudding. Spiller’s Lane is a pretty,
stretch of waterway is the venue for enclosed lane lined with little shops
international sailing events. and galleries. The town is also a
ª Take the coast road past Kinsale major centre for live music.
Yacht Club and cross the river at the The Michael Collins Centre (open
VISITING KINSALE
bridge, following the R600. At the mid-Jun–mid-Sep: Mon–Sat; otherwise
junction with the R604, turn left. Then for groups only) tells the story of the
Parking
Pay-and-display in the car park next to turn left again at the Speckled Door famous Irish patriot, who was born
the Tourist Office and along Pier Road. pub onto the L3233 for Old Head. here. The town centre features a
Free car parks on Church Square and memorial to him; there is also a
New Road. 2 Old Head of Kinsale garden commemorating John F
Tourist Information Co Cork Kennedy, whose ancestors came
Pier Road; 021 477 2234; This is the nearest point to the spot from the town. The West Cork Model
www.kinsale.ie where the Lusitania was sunk by a Railway Village (open daily) is great for
German U-boat in 1915. It is possible children: four miniature West Cork
to drive out to see the Old Head villages linked by a 1940s-era model
WHERE TO STAY lighthouse from a distance, but the of the now-closed local railway line.
surrounding land is privately owned ª From the harbour, leave town with
KINSALE by a golf club and therefore not the bay on the left. On reaching a
Acton’s Hotel moderate open to visitors. There is an ongoing Y-junction, take the right-hand fork,
This is an old favourite in an excellent
location near the harbour. Enjoy the campaign to restore public access then continue straight on at the next
lively bar and restaurant, or relax and but, for now, it is a lovely drive and junction, following the road down to
admire sea views from the gardens. worth the trip to admire the setting. Inchydoney Beach and Island.
Pier Road; 021 477 9900;
www.actonshotelkinsale.com; closed Below Tranquil estuary of the River Bandon, just outside Kinsale
Christmas
The Old Presbytery moderate
This is an atmospheric former
presbytery, dating back to the early
1800s. Rooms are traditional but
comfortable and some have brass
and iron beds and claw-foot baths.
Cork Street; 021 477 2027;
www.oldpres.com
INCHYDONEY ISLAND
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa
expensive
This resort spa has rooms and
apartments with sea views. Short break
packages, with accommodation and
treatments included, are popular.
023 883 3143; www.inchydoneyisland.
com; closed 24–26 Dec




042-049_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 42 12/09/17 2:28 pm

DRIVE 2: Islands and Lighthouses 43








VISITING INCHYDONEY
AND GALLEY HEAD
Inchydoney Surf School
Inchdoney Beach; 086 869 5396;
www.westcorksurfing.com; open
Jun–Sep: daily; Oct–May: Sat–Sun
Galley Head Lighthouse
Above Inchydoney Beach, one of the loveliest on this stretch of coastline Tours run by the Irish Landmark Trust.
www.irishlandmark.com
Michael Collins self-catering accommodation. The
Michael Collins (1890–1922), the rocks at the end are a good place
nationalist military and political from which to spot whales and
leader, was born in Clonakilty at a dolphins. The drive to Dromberg
time when West Cork was the passes some lovely beaches as well
nationalist heartland. He rose to as the ruins, in private grounds, of EAT AND DRINK
prominence during and after the
Easter Rising of 1916, but was Castlefreke Castle.
assassinated aged 31. His monument ª Return along the road and take KINSALE
in Clonalkilty was unveiled in 2002 the first left onto the L4006, then go Blu at the Blue Haven moderate
by Liam Neeson, who played him in straight through the next crossroads. This restaurant, in the Blue Haven
the film based on his life. The Warren Blue Flag beach and Hotel, serves modern Irish cuisine
Castlefreke Dunes are on your left. with seafood and fresh locally sourced
produce both strongly featured.
Turn left onto the R598 to Rathbarry Pearse Street; 021 477 2209;
4 Inchydoney Island for Castlefreke Castle and Wood. www.bluehavenkinsale.com; closed
Co Cork Continue on the R598, from which Sun & Mon Oct–Mar
This little island is linked to the main- there is a lovely viewpoint on the left, Fishy Fishy Café moderate
land by a causeway, so you can drive overlooking headlands and islands. Not surprisingly, from the name, this
on to it. The focal point is Inchydoney You’ll also pass Owenahincha beach. busy café and restaurant serves locally
Island Lodge & Spa, a luxury resort Turn left onto the N71 to Rosscarbery, caught seafood with a twist in bright
modern surroundings.
spa with a thalassotherapy pool. then left again onto the R597 towards Crowley’s Quay; 021 470 0415;
Inchydoney is also home to the Glandore. At Drombeg, take a left www.fishyfishy.ie; daily mid-Mar–
West Cork Surf School, which offers signed for the Stone Circle. There is a mid-Oct, closed Sun & Mon eve
a range of surfing lessons provided car park, from which the circle is just CLONAKILTY
the waves are good. short walk away.
ª Return to Clonakilty and take the An Sugán inexpensive
This bar/restaurant is renowned for its
N71 for Skibbereen. After Lisavaird, great seafood, including Bantry Bay
turn left signed for Long Strand. Take mussels. Its open fires and child-friendly
the right-hand fork at the Y-junction atmosphere make it a popular spot.
onto the R598. After Rathbarry, take 41 Wolfe Tone Street; 023 883 3719;
the second exit at the roundabout by www.ansugan.com
Castlefreke Post Office. Take the next Tigh de Barra inexpensive
right turn for Galley Head and go A cosy, wood-panelled pub that’s a
mecca for musicians, with traditional
straight through the next crossroads, Irish music on Mondays, and live music
then turn right. Stop when the cliffs nearly every other night.
come into view. 56 Pearse Street; 023 883 3381;
www.debarra.ie
5 Galley Head AROUND GALLEY HEAD
Co Cork Pilgrim’s moderate
Galley Head is an attractive headland This pretty little restaurant, on the road
jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. to Drombeg Stone Circle, serves up
Dating from 1873, the lighthouse fresh, inventive, modern takes on local
here was one of the most powerful produce, including foraged ingredients
and some global flavour influences.
of its day. On private property run 6 South Square, Rosscarbery; 023 883
by the Landmark Irish Trust, the 1796; open Wed–Sat eve, Sun lunch;
lighthouse now functions as Above Lighthouse at Galley Head www.pilgrims.ie
Eat and Drink: inexpensive, under €25; moderate, €25–€50; expensive, over €50


042-049_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 43 12/09/17 2:28 pm

44 BACK ROADS IRELAND



















Above left Ancient stone circle, Drombeg
Above centre Boat in the Sound at Union 6 Drombeg Stone Circle at the first T-junction and take the
Hall Above right Baltimore’s Beacon Co Cork next right, then next left, then right
Known locally as the Druid’s Altar, again and then a slight left at the next
and in a magnificent setting with sea fork. Keep left at the next junction and
VISITING BALTIMORE views, this circle of 13 (originally 17) then left again for Lough Hyne.
pillar stones dates back to around
Boat Trips and Other Activities 900 BC. During excavation in the 8 Lough Hyne
Sherkin Island Ferries make the 1950s, a pot containing the cremated Co Cork
crossing from Baltimore daily year-
round, hourly from 7.45am to 8.30pm. remains of a young woman was found Lough Hyne (also known as Lough
The crossing takes 15 minutes (028 in the centre, dating from 150 BC. Ine) is a salt-water lake and Ireland’s
20125, www.sherkinisland.eu). Cape ª Continue on the R597 to arrive at only marine nature reserve. The lake
Clear Island Ferry Service departs the attractive village of Glandore, on a is fed by the sea through a narrow
Baltimore daily year-round (028 39153, picturesque bay. Drive through the channel that causes irregular tidal
www.callinoir.com). Heir Island MV
Tresher makes the crossing to Heir village and around the coast. Turn left movements. There are many species
Island year-round (086 809 2447, signed for Union Hall and cross the of plants and animals, including sea
www.heirislandsailingschool.com). bridge over the Sound, turning right urchins and oysters, and the lake is
signed for Castletownshend. Take the studied intensively by marine
next right, signposted for Skibbereen, biologists and scientists. An
WHERE TO STAY drive through Rineen and, at the Interpretive Centre in Skibbereen (see
T-junction, turn left. Take a sharp right) gives more information on what
BALTIMORE left at the next crossroads onto the is found in the lake, which is also the
Rolf’s Country House inexpensive R596 for Castletownshend. subject of poetry and local folklore.
This charming bed-and-breakfast is in ª Follow the road left, signed for
an old farmhouse with stone cottages 7 Castletownshend
and converted outbuildings. The Baltimore, and turn left at the R595.
whole complex, from the thriving café Co Cork
and wine bar to the quiet garden with This is a pretty village set on a steep 9 Baltimore
sea views, has great character. hill. Drive down the village to the Co Cork
Baltimore Hill; 028 20289; www.rolfs pier at the end. There is a secluded This tiny coastal village, set in lovely
countryhouse.com; closed 21–27 Dec
cove with boats moored, and to the scenery and with ideal conditions for
Casey’s of Baltimore moderate left, the Castle (tours May, Jun & Sep: watersports, is the reason why there
This popular hotel, traditional pub and Sun–Fri), which dates back to the are so many holiday homes in the
seafood restaurant (see opposite) is at
the entrance to Baltimore and makes a 1600s and is still owned by the area. Nestled around a harbour, and
great base for exploring the area. Many Townsend family. The village was warmed by the Gulf Stream, it offers
of the rooms overlook the quiet bay. home for many years to Somerville sailing, angling, diving, kayaking,
028 20197; www.caseysofbaltimore. and Ross, authors of Experiences of an whale- and dolphin-watching and
com; closed 21–26 Dec Irish R M. boat trips to the islands (Sherkin, Cape
SKIBBEREEN ª Drive back through the village and Clear and Heir), Lough Hyne and the
turn left onto the L4218. There will be Fastnet lighthouse. The harbour
West Cork Hotel moderate
This family-run riverside hotel is a lovely cliff views to the left. Toe Head, bustles with boats, especially in
good base from which to explore off the road to the left, has great summer. The small central “square”
the surrounding coastline. Many of the views, and the village of Tragumna offers plenty of dining options.
ensuite rooms enjoy views over the has a fabulous bay and a Blue Flag Drive or walk to The Beacon (turn
river, as do the bar and breakfast room.
Ilen Street; 028 21277; beach, but beware of the strong rip left at the harbour) for fantastic views
www.westcorkhotel.com and rocks. After Tragumna, turn left out to sea and over to Sherkin Island.
Where to Stay: inexpensive, under €100; moderate, €100–€200; expensive, over €200

042-049_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 44 13/10/17 1:06 pm

DRIVE 2: Islands and Lighthouses 45


It’s a steep climb, and it is dangerous Fastnet Rock
to visit the Beacon in high winds. Fastnet Lighthouse, 7 km (4.5 miles)
ª Follow the R595 all the way from out in the Atlantic from Cape Clear
Baltimore to Skibbereen. Island, is visible from much of West
Cork’s coastline, and is the tallest
and widest lighthouse in Ireland
0 Skibbereen and Great Britain. The Rock is
Co Cork Ireland’s most southerly point, and
The busy town of Skibbereen has is the rounding marker for the
strong ties to the Great Famine of the gruelling Fastnet yacht race.
1840s, which devastated the local
community. There is a large famine
graveyard at Abbystrowry, nearby. seen across a lovely sound. Ships
The Heritage Centre (open mid-Mar– stocked up on provisions here before
mid-May & Oct: Tue–Sun; mid-May–Sep: setting sail for America. In 1837, there
Mon–Sat) has an excellent exhibition were 424 residents – now there are
on the subject. It also houses the around 40. On the left you’ll pass the
Lough Hyne Interpretive Centre, with secluded Galley Cove. Keep left onto
information on the marine nature the L4402 for Mizen Head. Further
reserve, including an aquarium. along on the left is the car park for
ª At the roundabout in Skibbereen Barley Cove Beach, a short walk Above Clear tidal stream and pristine sands of
take the N71 west, signed to away along a boardwalk through Barley Cove Beach
Bantry. Bear left onto R592, the dunes. This is a conservation
entering Ballydehob, to begin area, full of birds, flora and fauna. EAT AND DRINK
the 37-km (23-mile) drive Turn left at the next junction,
around Mizen Head. signed for Mizen Head, Ireland’s BALTIMORE
most south-westerly point. There Casey’s of Baltimore inexpensive
q Mizen Head Peninsula are great views down to Barley Choose from an extensive menu
of fresh seafood, including lobster
The first stop on the drive to Cove and across to Brow Head. dishes and mussels from their own
Mizen Head is the village of The 1909 Mizen Head Signal farm in Roaringwater Bay. The bright
Schull, with its busy harbour. Its Station (open Mar–Oct: daily; Nov– restaurant aside, the hotel also has
Sunday market features crafts Feb: weekends) is linked to the its own craft brewery.
as well as fresh local produce. mainland by a 52-m (172-ft) 028 20197; www.caseysofbaltimore.
com; closed 21–26 Dec
Stay on the R592 signed suspension bridge and has
to Goleen, then turn left a fascinating exhibition on The Lookout moderate–expensive
This smart French restaurant specializes
onto the L4406 for the “coast Skibbereen’s its history as well as the in seafood including fresh lobster.
road” (it actually runs a little famine memorial, building of the Fastnet Stunning views of both the harbour
inland). After the crossroads, in the form of a Rock lighthouse. The and the islands.
keep left at the Y-junction. Celtic Cross surrounding cliffs are The Square; 028 20600; www.
There are great views of spectacular. Leaving Mizen, waterfrontbaltimore.ie
Clear Island and the Fastnet take the first left turn for AROUND SKIBBEREEN
Rock and lighthouse. After Toormore, Dunlough and Three Castle Head Island Cottage moderate–expensive
stay on the R591 for Mizen Head. Just which has some great Atlantic views. A short ferry journey from Cunnamore,
after Goleen is Spanish Point, where ª Take main road back to Toormore just west of Skibbereen, is Hare (or Heir)
there is a lighthouse. Further on, the and turn left onto the R591 to Durrus. Island and The Island Cottage restaurant,
run by chef John Desmond. The ferry
pretty village of Crookhaven can be Turn left here for Sheep’s Head. must be booked in advance.
Hare Island, Skibbereen; 028 38102;
www.islandcottage.com; open mid-Jun–
mid-Sep: Wed–Sat eve; Apr, May & Jun:
Sat & Sun lunch
AROUND MIZEN HEAD
PENINSULA
Heron’s Cove B&B moderate
Enjoy fresh fish, game and other local
produce in a secluded tidal cove with
lovely views, and choose your own wine
from the collection on the rack.
The Harbour, Goleen (on R591 between
Toormore and Crookhaven); 028 35225;
www.heronscove.com
Left Rocky cliffs at Mizen Head
Eat and Drink: inexpensive, under €25; moderate, €25–€50; expensive, over €50


042-049_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 45 12/09/17 2:28 pm

46 BACK ROADS IRELAND

w Sheep’s Head Peninsula
At the start of the drive out to the end of Sheep’s Head from Durrus,
the road runs through Ahakista, which has a peaceful waterside
memorial to those who died in the Air India disaster of 1985. From
Kilcrohane onwards, the road narrows and becomes more scenic,
with stone walls, heather, craggy hills and breathtaking views left to
Three Castle Head and the Mizen Peninsula, and right over to the
Beara Peninsula. On the way, there are lots of little side turnings and
stopping-off points to explore the lakes, churches, beaches, holy
wells, burial grounds and secluded coves. Follow any of the brown
signs. The road ends at the Tooreen Turning Table, where there is a
car park and a Visitor Centre with a small café. From here, there is a
Above Traditional shop front in Kilcrohane on marked, circular walking trail out to the Sheep’s Head lighthouse on
Sheep’s Head Peninsula the point and back. If the keeper is there, it may be possible to see
inside the lighthouse.
VISITING BANTRY
Tourist Information A two-hour walking tour across a helicopter pad. The views
The old courthouse, The Square, Bantry;
027 50229; www.discoverireland.ie/cork This walk is a small part of the from here over the sea and over
Sheep’s Head Way, a stunning long- to Mizen Head are breathtaking,
Parking distance walk which runs around the and whales and dolphins can often
Parking in the town centre is free but
limited to 2 hours. Unlimited parking is entire peninsula. The walk goes be spotted, especially between July
towards the sea end of the square. around the very tip of the peninsula and September.
to the lighthouse, with spectacular At this point, follow the steps
panoramas of the neighbouring down to reach the lighthouse 3
WHERE TO STAY
peninsulas along the way. at the tip of the headland. On the
Information is available from return from the lighthouse, halfway
SHEEP’S HEAD PENINSULA Bernie’s Café 1, but the path is up the steps, go around to the left-
Blairscove House marked all the way along with hand side of the green container and
inexpensive–moderate
Dating from 1760, this relaxed country blue arrows, and the signposts are follow the path, which leads to the
house is surrounded by lush gardens. made from local stone or Irish oak, northern side of the Sheep’s Head
It offers B&B, self-catering cottages and in keeping with the beauty of peninsula. The path passes along
apartments, and has an atmospheric the surroundings. a scenic route, but the first part can
restaurant in a converted stable.
Durrus (located 2.5 km/1.5 miles south The trail passes rocky outcrops be boggy, with a slightly uneven
of Durrus on R591 to Golleen); 027 until it reaches Lough Akeen 2. The surface. Upon reaching the top, the
61127; www.blairscove.ie easiest and safest way to cross the path runs close to the cliff edge and
lough is via the wooden boardwalk could be dangerous, so extreme care
BANTRY to the right, but it can be skirted is needed along this stretch of the
Bantry House moderate along the cliff edge as well. The path route. There are spectacular views
Staying in this historic stately home
(see p47) is a treasured experience. then goes up a rocky incline and over to the Beara Peninsula as well
There are just six rooms, all in the east
wing overlooking the splendid gardens.
Bantry Bay; 027 50047; www.bantry 0 metres 500
house.com; open Easter–Oct
AROUND BANTRY 0 yards 500
Ballylickey Manor House moderate
This lovely house, 5 km (3 miles) from
Bantry on N71 to Glengarriff, is set in Cliffs
its own grounds with beautiful Bernie's
gardens and views over Bantry Bay. Cafe
027 50071; www.ballylickeymanor
house.com; open Apr–Sep Lough
Akeen
GLENGARRIFF
Glengarriff Park Hotel
inexpensive–moderate Lighthouse
Comfortable, modern hotel at the
start of the Beara Peninsula, with a
warming bar too.
The Village, Glengarriff; 027 63000;
www.glengarriffpark.com
Where to Stay: inexpensive, under €100; moderate, €100–€200; expensive, over €200

042-049_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 46 12/09/17 2:28 pm

DRIVE 2: Islands and Lighthouses 47
















Above left Rainbow over Bantry Bay
as the chance of seeing whales or r Glengarriff Above Reen Point, near Ahakista on the
dolphins. The cliffs, which rise to Co Cork Sheep’s Head Peninsula
some 120 m (400 ft), are home to Glengarriff is set in a lush, green area
nesting seabirds, and visitors might with lovely gardens and islands. The
be lucky enough to spot the rare Glengarriff Bamboo Park (open daily) VISITING WHIDDY ISLAND AND
chough, which frequents Sheep’s is an exotic coastal garden featuring GARNISH ISLAND
Head in significant numbers. bamboo and palms, with splendid Whiddy Island Ferries cross from
After the cliffs 4, turn right at the views. From Glengariff harbour, Bantry Pier to Whiddy Island several
arrow, taking the signposted path boat trips operate to Garnish Island times daily. The crossing takes 10–15
back across the headland to return (open Mar–Oct: daily), where there minutes (www.whiddyferry.com; 086
to the car park and the café, which are delightful sub-tropical Italian 862 6734).
serves delicious home-baked treats. gardens with rare plants and a Harbour Queen Ferries cross from
ª Drive back to Kilcrohane and then miniature temple. There is a seal Glengarriff Pier to Garnish Island
turn left onto Goat’s Path Road, which colony on the island’s rocky shore. roughly every 20 minutes daily Apr–
Oct (www.harbourqueenferry.com;
winds up through the mountains. ª Turn left onto R572, signed for 027 63116).
From the top of the hill pass, there are Castletownbere. At Adrigole, continue
spectacular views over Roaringwater, on R572 onto the Beara Peninsula.
Dunmanus and Bantry bays and over EAT AND DRINK AROUND
SHEEP’S HEAD PENINSULA
to Castletownbere, Bere Island and West Cork Garden Trail
Dursey Island. The road then drops This marvellous trail comprises Bernie’s Cupan Tae inexpensive
down to Bantry where there is free fifteen different gardens around the This proves to be a great spot to
parking at the sea end of the square. region, each of which has its own try sandwiches, soups, tea and
opening times; a few are open year- scones before heading towards
e Bantry round. They range from country Sheep’s Head lighthouse.
Tooreen, Co Cork; 027 67878;
gardens, lakes and seaside gardens
Co Cork to mature and historical gardens. open mid-March–Oct.
This large market town and fishing A leaflet, detailing when the
port is set at the head of picturesque gardens are open, is available from
Bantry Bay. There is an elegant open any of the area’s tourist offices or
square in the centre with seating, see www.westcorkgardentrail.com. Below Majestic Bantry House with its
trees and a fountain. One of Bantry’s marvellous view over Bantry Bay
loveliest attractions is Bantry House
and Gardens (open Jun–Aug: daily; Apr,
May, Sep & Oct: Tue–Sun), a Georgian
stately home built in the 18th
century, with some magnificent
artwork on show. Even more
impressive are the formal gardens,
with wonderful bay views; two
woodland walks and a tea room
complete this delightful visit.
Take a ferry from Bantry pier to
Whiddy Island for walking or cycling.
There are some interesting historical
remains on the island, as well as a
pub-restaurant.
ª Follow the N71 all the way to
Glengarriff via Ballylickey.
Eat and Drink: inexpensive, under €25; moderate, €25–€50; expensive, over €50


042-049_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 47 12/09/17 2:28 pm

48 BACK ROADS IRELAND

t Beara Peninsula
Co Cork
The Ring of Beara is a scenic driving route that runs around the
Beara Peninsula from Glengarriff to Dursey Sound and then back
to Kenmare in County Kerry. Along the way are stunning coves,
picturesque villages, islands, forests and mountains. Whether the
weather is sunny and warm or moody and misty, this peninsula
leaves a lasting impression on visitors. For archaeology enthusiasts,
there are stone circles, cairns and burial grounds, some dating back
to 2500 BC, while walkers and cyclists will find plenty of routes, trails
and mountain paths on the Beara Way. Sea angling is also very
popular. Visitors should take their time driving around the peninsula,
stopping off at beaches, harbours or historical sights along the way.

On the route from Glengarriff to The area around Allihies 5, the last
Castletownbere the route passes village on the peninsula, used to be
Above Dramatic Dunboy Castle, set on the through Adrigole 1, whose harbour dotted with copper mines and there
bay in Castletownbere affords plenty of opportunities for is a fascinating Copper Mine
water sports such as sailing, kayaking Museum (open Easter–Oct: daily) telling
and powerboating. of the history of copper-mining in
Castletownbere 2 is the main the area. Allihies is on lovely
town on the Beara peninsula, with a Ballydonegan Bay, which has a
busy port full of fishing trawlers. Its quartz strand. Many artists are drawn
large natural harbour, Berehaven, is to the area by its scenic beauty.
overlooked by the ruins of Dunboy The village of Eyeries 6, with its
Castle. Across the harbour lies Bere brightly painted houses, overlooks
Island 3, accessible by ferry. It has the Atlantic. The surrounding area is
an interesting military history, with rich in historic sights, including an
parts of the island still used by the Ogham Stone (a granite pillar carved
Irish army for training. There is a with ancient writing) at Ballycrovane
choice of places to eat, drink and stay 7 standing over 5 m (17 ft) high.
VISITING BEARA PENINSULA
on the island, and panoramic views At Lauragh, take the Healy Pass 8
Tourist Information from its Ardnakinna lighthouse. though the Caha Mountains, back
St Peter’s Grounds, Castletownbere, Further along, at the very tip of the to Adrigole and on to Glengarriff, or
Beara; 027 70054; Beara Peninsula, lies Dursey Island continue on the R571 to Kenmare
www.bearatourism.com 4, a rugged, almost treeless place in County Kerry (see p54).
accessible only by cable car – strong ª Return to Glengarriff on the R572,
tides make it unsafe for boats. Only then take the N71 to Ballylickey. Turn
about ten people live on the island left onto the R584 and head upwards
WHERE TO STAY
and there are no cafés or shops, but and through the spectacular Pass of
it is a peaceful spot for walks and Keimaneigh. At the end of the pass,
BEARA PENINSULA
Rodeen Country House inexpensive birdwatching, and there are great turn left onto the L4643 following
Set within sub-tropical gardens in a Atlantic views. the signs for Gougane Barra.
secluded location, this guesthouse Bunaw
Hogs
offers panoramic views of Bere Island Head Bridge Ville
and Bantry Bay. Caherdaniel Lauragh
Castletownbere; 027 70158; C a h a M o u n t a i n s
Ardgroom
www.rodeencountryhouse.com K e n m a r e R i v e r Healy Pass
GOUGANE BARRA FOREST PARK Scariff Ballycrovane
Gougane Barra Hotel moderate Coulagh Adrigole
Bay
Eyeries
The setting of this family-run hotel Caherkeen Slieve Miskish Mountains
Hungry Hill
has to be one of the most picturesque Cod’s Head 686m Curryglass
in West Cork, with views out over the
tranquil lake to St Finbarr’s Oratory on Ballydonegan Allihies Castletownbere
Bay
the island, and surrounded by forests Ballydonegan B a n t r y B a y
and national parklands. Rooms are Dursey Bere Island
very comfortable and the home- Island Garinish Cahermore
cooked food is delicious.
Gougane Barra, Macroom; 026 47069; Dursey Crow Black Ball 0 kilometres 10
Head
www.gouganebarrahotel.com; closed Head Head
mid-Oct–early Apr 0 miles 10
Where to Stay: inexpensive, under €100; moderate, €100–€200; expensive, over €200
042-049_Back_Roads_Ireland.indd 48 12/09/17 2:28 pm


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