Walk With Me includes The West Cork Tour Experience as one of our classic Day Tours from Killarney to this beautiful South West corner of Ireland.
The first stop on the tour is the home of St. Finbarr the patron Saint of Cork who founded his early Christian Monastery and Hermitage in the 6th Century at Gougane Barra. His ancient Hermitage is now in ruin but continues to be a place of prayer and pilgrimage set amongst the lakes and mountains in this most idyllic and scenic part of West Cork.
The old Hermitage has now been replaced by a small Church known as St. Finbarr’s Oratory on a tiny island on the lake and connected to the shore by a causeway. It is from this place in the 6th century that St. Finbarr followed the source of the River Lee to what is now Cork City and built his first church on the site that is now St. Finbarr’s Cathedral. Gougane Barra is a place of peace, solitude and tranquillity that is seldom found in today’s world.
Bantry House & Gardens
The tour will continue to the market town of Bantry which stands on an impressive bay overlooking the Beara Peninsula. The town of Bantry is dominated by one of Ireland’s finest old houses – Bantry House – which overlooks the bay and the mountains. The original house was built by the Hutchinson family around 1710 and was later completely re-designed in1845 by Richard White, the second Earl of Bantry who surrounded the house with gardens in the Italian style. Bantry House has a fine collection of works of art from all over Europe and your visit will include a guided tour of Bantry House & Gardens.
Following lunch in Bantry, we will continue along the shores of Bantry Bay to the town of Glengarriff which stands at the entrance to The Beara Peninsula. Glengarriff is famous for its mild climate caused by it’s proximity to The Gulf Stream which has allowed an amazing number of tropical plants to take root and flourish in abundance. These can be best experienced by a visit by boat to nearby Garnish Island which is famous for its Italian Gardens designed by the Landscape Gardener Harold Peto.
The Caha Pass & Molly Gallivan’s
On leaving Glengarriff, we will drive into The Caha Mountains and make our way through The Caha Pass on to County Kerry. Set amongst the wilderness of The Caha Mountain Range is the family home of Molly Gallivan which is now open to the public and allows people to experience the harsh life endured by a struggling widow who survived and supported her large family by manufacturing and selling illegal whiskey known as ‘Poitin’ to the local people during the 19th century. You will get to experience simple country farm life in rural Ireland before the days of electricity and modern conveniences.
The final destination before we return to Killarney is the town of Kenmare which was founded in the 17th century by Sir William Petty. Kenmare in modern times is consistently selected as probably the best place in Ireland to retire to. Kenmare is renowned for its quirky shops, art galleries, restaurants and pubs that are dotted along its streets and in particular Henry Street. Kenmare is an ideal place to spend an hour browsing in the many shops or just watching the world go by. Return journey to Killarney will include the scenic locations of Moll’s Gap, Ladies View, Torc Waterfall, Muckross House & Gardens.
All of our tours can be customised to suit your itinerary and travel preferences. Please contact us to discuss tour requirements.
9.30am: Collection from your hotel accommodation
10.30am: Arrival at the early Christian Monastery & Hermitage at Gougane Barra
11.15am: Scenic drive from Gougane Barra to Bantry House & Gardens
12.00pm: Guided tour of Bantry House
1.00pm: Lunch at Bantry House or pub lunch in Bantry town
2.00pm: Drive from Bantry to Glengarriff along the shores of Bantry Bay & Garnish Island
2.30pm: Scenic drive from Glengarriff through The Caha Pass to Molly Gallivans 19th century homestead.
3.30pm: Arrive in Kenmare for sightseeing & shopping
4.30pm: Return journey to Killarney through Moll’s Gap & Killarney National Park.
5.30pm: Arrive at your hotel accommodation.