Exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way
David Flanagan & Richard Creagh
Planning a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way?
This compact book, packed full of information and great photos is essential reading, whether you are an Irish or an overseas visitor.
Exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way has so many little features that are BIG pluses. Firstly, it’s size - it’s what could be described as a mini-hardback with a soft cover! Huh? Well, it’s small enough to pack into a rucksack but the paper and outstanding photographs are hardback quality. Other great features include the useful reference points that you can plug into a phone or other device and the route maps which are clear and attractive.
This book is generally, well researched and contains loads of practical information on places and activities along the route. There are endless cycling, kayaking and hiking suggestions and it’s obvious that the author (rightly!) believes that this is the best way to explore the WAW. However, the book doesn’t get bogged down in the detail, but is easy to read and there are plenty of web links if you need more information about something specific.
There are only two very minor criticisms that I could level at this book, firstly that some of the information could be a little more up to date - as an example, it would have been nice to see the newly restored Signal Tower & Lusitania Museum included in Cork section on The Old Head of Kinsale area. Secondly, the typesetting can be a little basic, however, to be honest, this doesn't take away from what is a great, value for money, guide book.
This book is a great starting point for researching a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way; definitely one to bring on your journey and those spectacular photos make it ideal as a gift or as a reminder of an awesome trip!
€22.50 available from the publishers, Three Rock Books
You’ll Need Seven Heads to Take in This Scenery!
The Seven Heads peninsula is an area of beautiful, unspoilt countryside in West Cork, Ireland. Last summer, the Irish tourist board, Bord Fáilte decided that this ‘forgotten peninsula’ should be included on popular Wild Atlantic Way route. It’s perfect to discover by bike as the countryside is rolling and distances between towns and villages are short. It's not too far off the beaten track, as it's only 48km/30miles from Cork airport, which has a direct bus link to Kinsale.
If you enjoy being outside, keeping fit and have two days for an adventure you should explore the Seven Heads Peninsula by taking our Wild Coast and Country Tour!
Courtmacsherry Bay used to be a deep water port, however an earthquake in Portugal in 1755 triggered a tsunami which affected the topography of the sea bed and today, at low tide, flat and silted mud flats are exposed. These provide an important habitat for numerous sea birds. Look carefully and you'll find cormorants, curlews, herons, gulls and possibly even the rare white egret, a member of the heron family.
The lush countryside is contained by rich hedgerows, which are often flowering with wildflowers including fuchsia and provide a habitat for foxes, badgers and other small mammals. Rabbits sunbath in the fields to the north of Courtmacsherry Bay.
Eating & Drinking:
West Cork is known for it’s fresh locally produced foods and Clonakility is famous for it’s black pudding - try it for breakfast at your B&B. There are some great places to eat out - in Timoleague, it’s worth stopping at Monk’s Lane, while nearby Courtmacsherry has two good food options - the Food Depot which won a Georgina Campbell’s Ireland Street Food of the Year Award for 2018, serves delicious food from a trailer by the beach most Sundays through the year. Nearby, the Golden Pheasant Cafe combines a small aviary with a quality cafe. If you’re looking for a take away lunch to eat en route, check out the healthy but delicious Lettercollum Kitchen in Clonakility.
The local towns, offer some great historical sites. Timoleague Abbey, founded by the Franciscan Order in 1240 A.D. on the site of a 6th century monastic settlement, is an unmissable sight as you enter the village of Timoleague from the Kinsale direction. Nearby Clonakility was home to Michael Collins, a well known figure in Irish history, having been instrumental in the founding of the Irish Free State (1920-1). You can find out more about his life by visiting the Michael Collins museum in the town or the Michael Collins Visitor Centre, not far from the town.
The countryside also has plenty of history and stories to tell. You can explore the old graveyard and church at Lislee a few kilometres from Courtmacsherry. Also near Lislee Court, you are transported in both time and location by a fascinating statue of Patrick Keohane (1879-1950), born locally and a member of Scott’s Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole. As you cycle out of Courmacsherry, you pass the ruins of a Cistercian abbey, Abbeymahon Abbey built in 1172 by Dermot MacCormac MacCarthy, King of Desmond.
Wild Coast & Country Tour:
The Wild Coast and Country Tour is a two day, self-guided cycling tour from Kinsale to Clonakility. On day one, you follow the Wild Atlantic Way past the first discovery point - the Old Head of Kinsale, along the coast to Clonakility. Stay overnight in Clonakility - great pubs with live music - then, next day, loop back to Kinsale via the Seven Heads Peninsula. The tour includes B&B accommodation, bike hire and more!
There are some hills, of course, but also some amazing sights which you just wouldn’t experience by car. Stop off for a picnic along one of the beaches and watch the kite boarders get air born on a windy day. Then, roll by acres of green farmland with cows grazing over the hedges. On a clear day, you’ll find views back to the Old Head of Kinsale, just over your handlebars!
The Wild Coast and Country tour allows you to enjoy your own adventure in this largely undiscovered area of Cork county, soon to be part of the Wild Atlantic Way. Whether it's enjoying taking selfies in the ruins of Timoleague Abbey; having a meal outside at one of the great local cafés or just taking a quiet moment of reflection as you watch the sea birds dive by the cliffs at Donworley Point, we know that this is the stuff memories are made of! It's the best of West Cork, seen at your pace by bike.
To book this tour, just call Ruth on +353871032317.
Have you been to West Cork, Clonakility or the Seven Heads Peninsula? Comment below on your trip highlights!