LOCAL ATTRACTIONS AT GLENGARRIFF WEST CORK
Please be aware that the opening times of these attractions may be affected due to Covid-19 restrictions.
No visit to Glengarriff, along the Wild Atlantic Way in West Cork would be complete without taking the short ferry trip to Garinish Island to enjoy the beauty of its famous 19th century Italian Gardens. Garinish Island (Ilnacullin, Garnish Island) is a beautiful island garden located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff Bay, it is a small island of 15 hectares known to horticulturists and nature lovers all around the world as a stunningly beautiful island garden. It is carefully laid out in walks that make the most of the gardens, it is a must see attraction for visitors.
Alternatively, you can take a trip to Seal Island and watch the carefree antics of these loveable creatures. Seal Island has up to 250 harbour seals in residence in Glengarriff Bay. The seals are used to the Ferry’s and you will see them basking on the rocks, posing cheekily and swimming around in a carefree fashion!
We are spoiled with some great local ferry services in Glengarriff and are happy to help arrange a trip for you during the season from April to October.
Borrow a bicycle from us at Eccles Hotel and explore the beautiful Beara region, we can even prepare a picnic for you if required. Take a hike around the nearby Caha mountains or the peaceful nature reserve or try picking up some bushcraft skills with our friends in Outdoors Ireland or join them for an organised sea kayak exploring the bay here in Glengarriff. Ask at reception for more details on these activities.
The Blue Pool
This magical harbour is hidden in the middle of Glengarriff. Access to the blue pool is in the centre of Glengarriff village. The blue pool is formed where the river meets the sea, it is a wonderful stony inlet, which is surrounded by lush vegetation. There are a number of beautiful walks through the woods with views of the harbour that are well worth exploring and the Blue Pool Ferry offers trips out to Garinish Island.
Glengarriff Bamboo Park
The unique exotic garden in one of the most attractive and renowned gardens of Ireland. Situated in the mild climate of Glengarriff in the beautiful West Cork region. Thirty different species of bamboo surrounded by palms and other tropical plants, amidst of romantic paths and breathtaking views. The park is open year round from 9am – 7pm.
The Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is a magnificent example of mature oak woodland and lies in the heart of the old Glengarriff valley where the observant visitor can trace relics of older settlements. The forest has been enhanced by complementary new planting which provides an interesting and attractive treescape for visitors to enjoy. There are many paths, with convenient picnic areas, and several viewpoints within easy reach. Perhaps the most well-known of these is Lady Bantry’s Lookout, which gives a panoramic view across the Bay and up to the bulwarks of the Caha Mountains. The forest was once part of the Bantry Desmense but (apart from a small private section) is now owned by the State.
"There is a green island in lone Gougane Barra,
Where Allua of songs rushes forth as an arrow;
In deep-valley'd Desmond - a thousand wild fountains
Come down to that lake from their homes in the mountains.
There grows the wild ash, and a time stricken willow
Looks chidingly down on the mirth of the billow;
As, like some gay child, that sad monitor scorning,
It lightly laughs back to the laugh of the morning."
by J.J. Callanan.
Nestled in the beautiful countryside of West Cork, stunning Gougane Barra is the source of the river Lee and a renowned beauty spot. not only a great place to see some of Ireland’s history in St. Finbarr’s Oratory, and what remains of his monastery founded in the 7th century. St Finbarr’s oratory is one of the most photographed churches in West Cork as it is a popular spot for weddings. Further up the valley is the national forest park, Ireland’s first national park. With over 250 hectares of woodland and forests to explore, the stunning area of Gougane Barra is a delight whether you walk or cycle among its renowned beauty.
In just over an hour drive from the hotel, you can visit Ireland's most southerly point, Mizen Head. Situated at the end of the Mizen Peninsula, the cliffs of Mizen Head rise high above the Atlantic Ocean, where the currents meet from the west and south coasts and waves from the mid-Atlantic crash into the land.
From there you can discover how the Mizen Head Signal Station was built to save lives off the treacherous rocks. Dare to cross over the magnificent arched bridge and look out for seals, humpback whales and dolphins in the deep blue swell below.
Experience the solitude of the keepers’ lives through their quarters in the former Irish Lights Signal Station. View the engine room and the workmen's quarters where you will find the Mizen map collection, CIL boat displays and a new Navigational Aids Simulator that takes you on a voyage in the ocean around the Mizen.
No matter the weather Mizen Head is a sensationally scenic sight.
If you’re visiting Mizen Head make sure you take the 5-minute detour to the beautiful Barleycove beach, believed to be one of the best beaches on the Wild Atlantic Way. Take a drive uphill towards Canawee, for an incredible view of the hills, sea and shoreline.
Bantry Bay Charters
Based in Glengarriff, Bantry Bay Charters offers top quality marine adventures for groups, families, couples and individuals to enjoy! Choose from a cruise around the bay, fishing trips for all levels or a completely customised day on the bay.
Take a trip aboard the "Deep Star" for serious deep sea fishing, mackerel fishing, historical coastal cruises and wildlife tours. If you are lucky you might even catch a glimpse of Dolphins, Whales or other Marine friends along the way. There are tea/coffee making facilities available on board along with, binoculars, BBQ and much more.
Outdoor Ireland offers spectacular kayaking trips around Glengarriff bay. Beginning at an old stone fishing pier through deserted wooded islands, exploring sheltered coves and rugged coastline. Experience the abundant wildlife and friendly seals of Glengarriff Bay and learn the skills to master your kayak with a qualified guide, no previous experience needed!
If you’re feeling extra adventurous why not opt for the dawn sunrise trip and experience the dazzling gold sunrise over the quiet waters of Glengarriff Bay.
While the mountains slumber in their misty blankets and the sea sleeps under pillows of seaweed, you will explore the intricacies of one of Ireland's most sheltered bays, with abundant seals, rich birdlife and numerous rocky islands.
Waterfall Alpaca Farm
Home to the first Alpaca farm in Ireland, where you can walk these curious creatures along a scenic walkway while learning about their fascinating history. This walkway runs past luscious fields and forestry, along the riverside under a canopy of old oaks and past the magnificent waterfall. Before beginning, you will also get to meet the farm’s other popular residents, the ponies, donkeys, hens and rabbits. Why not pack a picnic to enjoy afterwards and take in the scenic surroundings.
One of the many hidden gems of West Cork, Mount Gabriel 407m high incredible hike. From the top, you’ll be treated to views over Schull Harbour, Long Island Bay, Roaringwater Bay and its many islands.
Dursey Island Cable Cart
Operating since 1969 the Dursey Island Cable Cart is the most used means of transport across the choppy waters of the Dursey Sound. The cable car runs 250m above the sea and takes just 10 minutes to transport explorers from the mainland to the most westerly of West Cork’s inhabited islands. When you reach the island, you can explore and enjoy spectacular views of the Beara Peninsula.
The Ewe Experience
Visit Ireland’s only interactive and interpretive sculpture garden in a spectacular waterfall oasis. This award winning garden has been 27 years in the making. Visitors enter the garden by one of several bridges across the river and begin a voyage of discovery in the wonderful blend of art and nature in four interlinked gardens on a one kilometre walk, which includes a science trail and a poetry trail.
This 40km stunning scenic road trip over Ireland's highest mountain pass at 1,500 ft from Bonane in Co. Kerry to Coomhola in Co. Cork and is truly one of Ireland's hidden gems. The Priest Leap (pronounced locally as Lep) mountain pass is a steep, narrow and winding mountain road on the border of counties Cork and Kerry on the Wild Atlantic Way.