Clonakilty – Is a place of tall spires, towers and historic buildings. The town has a trading and industrial history. It offers splendid scenery and many local attractions including: gardens, horse riding, water sports and nightlife with traditional music and dance.
Cobh – (An Cobh – haven) Pronounced “cove” was the principal port of emigration for over two million Irish departing these shores due to hunger and lack of work. At one point Cobh was known as Queenstown. The Interruptive Centre tells the history of Irish emigration from the “Great Hunger” to the end of the great ocean liner era. It also contains the military history of Cobh through eight centuries including British, American and Irish military involvement in many conflicts. Cobh has the dubious distinction of being the last port of call for the ill-fated voyages of both the RMS Titanic and the RMS Lusitania.
There are three islands in Cork Harbor joined by bridges. Cobh is on Great Island. The other two islands are Little Island and Fota. Fota Island is an impressive animal park with over 70 species of exotic wildlife in an open, natural environment.
Kinsale – (Cionn Tsaile -tide head) was founded by the Anglo-Normans in 1177. A major turning point in Irish history took place at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 when the Irish and their Spanish allies fought the English. Unfortunately, the English won. The Irish Earls O’Neill and O’Donnell fled to the continent a few years later. Their exodus is referred to as “The Flight of Earls”. The Flight of The Earls marked the end of the “Gaelic Order” in Ireland. After the Battle of Kinsale the English began the “Plantation of Ulster” with Loyal English and Scottish settlers.
The best way to enjoy Kinsale is to walk, visiting the many sites that are filled with history, such as, Charles Fort and Desmond Castle. There are many activities to enjoy in this area, from fishing, sailing and other water sports to horse riding, golfing and fine dining. Kinsale is considered the “Gourmet Capital” of Ireland with dazzling array of exceptional restaurants.
Youghal – (Eochaill -yew wood) has a rich past with the earliest civilization dating back approximately 8,000 years. The Celts arrived to the area about 500 BC. Christianity was introduced in the 5th Century at the Church of Coran and nearby hermitage. The Vikings used Youghal as a base for their costal raids. After the Battle of Clontarf in which Brian Boru defeated the Vikings, Youghal became a trading port. In the 12th Century, Henry II granted Youghal to Robert Fitzstephen and the Normans who rebuilt and extended the Viking fortifications of the town.
The Munster Plantation began in the 16th Century as a result of the fall of the Earl of Desmond. Elizabeth I parceled out his confiscated lands in Limerick, Kerry, Cork and Waterford, to her loyal supporters and military officers. The new landlords were instructed to establish English colonies with English citizens. In addition, they were ordered to cultivate the land in the English manner, build defenses and provide soldiers for defense.
The Youghal of today is a place where the past meets the present. Youghal is a walled, medieval town at the mouth of the River Blackwater. It is a great place to visit with neat medieval streets, quality restaurants and shops. Tynte’s Castle is the last remaining Tower House Castle. Other noteworthy attractions include: Greyhound racing, deep sea and shore fishing and beaches.