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The Sanctuary Coast

Ireland's Artisan Heartland

Winding your way South on the Wild Atlantic Way, from Bantry Bay through West Cork and finally onto Kinsale, your last port of call on the Wild Atlantic Way.


The clam waters in and around Baltimore in West Cork, with a wooded headland, some small local dwellings and sailing boats moored.
Baltimore, West Cork

Baltimore and the off shore islands are a haven for lovers of the ocean. Sailing is central to life hear and it's best to explore the coast by boat or yacht. Charter a boat from Baltimore and try your hand at deep sea fishing or hope to see minke whales, common dolphins, harbour porpoise, humpback & fin whales basking shark, and the ocean sunfish. If you are really blessed, a rare sighting of Leatherback turtles or bluefin tuna would certainly top your trip.


If you have trouble finding your sea legs, then there is plenty to do for land lovers. The area has an abundance of deserted beaches, coastal hikes, antiquities worth an exploration, a spot of golf and of course, many quaint West Cork towns and villages to wander around on a lazy summer's afternoon.

The calm and tranquil waters of Bantry Bay in West Cork with green fields, rolling hills and mountains in the background.
Bantry Bay

The beautiful harbour town of Bantry in West Cork has to be one of the most picturesque parts of Ireland. It's the perfect base from which to explore this stunning part of the Wild Atlantic Way Tour. The streets are full of character with old and new shopfronts, some of which still have their traditional Irish shop interiors. 

 

Bantry House is one of the main attractions close to the harbour. Whe White family has been in residence here since the mid 1700′s. The beautiful and world famous gardens were developed by the second Earl of Bantry, Richard White and his wife Mary. The are many inspirations for the gardens, all taken from their European travels. There are seven terraces, the house being located on the third.

Bright and vibrant shop front's along the Main Street in Skibbereen, West Cork.
Skibbereen

Skibbereen is considered to be the ‘hub’ of West Cork making it the ideal place to base yourself when exploring the delights of this West Cork region. It's a bustling market town with world class food, unique shops, live music and all this is only 5 kms from the nearest beautiful sandy beach. The call of globalisation has not hit the town, with many shops remaining locally owned, friendly and non-chain owned like those found in other large towns around Ireland.


In the surrounding area, there's a fantastic 18-hole golf course, coarse fishing, game and sea angling, hiking and cycling, scuba diving and an abundance of sites with international archaeological interest.

The colourful buildings in the centre of Kinsale town in Co. Cork on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Kinsale

Depending on which direction you tackle the 2500kms of the Wild Atlantic Way, Kinsale is at the start or the finish. Famous for its colourful streetscapes and rich history, Kinsale is a vibrant coastal hub with a distinct personality that will keep all visitors entertained year round!


Visit the impressive fortifications of Charles Fort and James Fort guard with its narrow entrance from the sea all examples of the towns rich history. The harbour is packed full with yachts bobbing gently with the changing tides giving the town its Irish Riviera moniker.

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The People's Republic of Cork with steep banks of brightly painted houses overlooking the river Lee
The People's Republic of Cork

Despite Dublin being the capital and the largest city in Ireland, Corkonians (Cork natives) refer to Cork, the People's Republic, as the true capital. It has always been an important seaport and therefore has a more cosmopolitan feel. Life in Cork began on an island in the swampy estuary of the River Lee (the name Corcaigh in Gaelic means a marsh), and the city was gradually built up on the steep banks.


It is said that the flowing, song like accent of the locals is synonymous with the hilly streets of the city. They have a characteristic sing-song element which is always copied by comedians, and it is said that Corkonians are the most talkative of all the Irish you'll meet on your travels.