Disclaimer: All the recommendations I give you are just places I like. I'm not being paid by anyone to say these things, I'm not getting discounts by anyone to say these things. These are just the places I like to go. I always appreciate getting a good recommendation when I travel, and I like to pass them on to you!
A trip through West Cork
Driving from Dungarvan down to the Beara Penninsula and around those parts.
A dog-friendly holiday part 2.
The first place we stopped at on our way down to West Cork was Garnish island. We hopped on the ferry from Glengarriff in Bantry Bay, and by chance myself and the dog were the only ones on the ferry. We passed by Seal Island where we saw so many seals basking and swimming, and then we arrived to the island.
Word to the wise, only cash is accepted for both the ferries and on the islands.
There is a lovely little coffee shop on the island, as well as a little museum inside one the gardeners cottage there, however we didn't enter as I had the dog with me. Garnish island is a beautiful garden spreading across the entire island, with a Grecian temple, a clocktower and Martello tower, and the incredible walled garden and stepping stones. The species of plants and trees come from all over the world including New Zealand and Australia, and the views over Bantry Bay are pretty spectacular. There are some hills up-and-down but generally the paths are well maintained and it's just a lovely thing to wander around the gardens for half a day. After this we got the ferry home back to Glengarriff and hopped into the car to make our way to where we would be staying that evening.
We spent some time down on the Beara peninsula near Allihies, where there is a lovely man-made beach, and the sand is so big and the grains of sand are so large, that it doesn't really stick to you. This makes going to the beach really nice because every time I left I didn't have thousands of sand grain stuck to me everywhere. It's a lovely place to swim, and it's right by a great campsite with facilities (toilets, showers) and in the high season there is a food truck open there, with some great reviews!
We also visited Mizen head for my first time, and as we were there very early in the morning we were the 1st to walk the path and bridge, and we even got to see dolphins off the head. I really enjoyed this walk especially as it was so quiet in the morning and then afterwards we sat down at the coffee shop and had some ice cream and coffee and I bought a couple of postcards too.
Another place we visited in Cork was Schull, a beautiful village, and I was able to finally visit this beautiful shop called Courtyard Crafts which does stock my wool wear hats and wrist warmers. I was delighted to be able to meet the owner (again) in her actual shop, and they have so much amazing stuff there. From wool wear to kids teddy bears to lighthouse paraphernalia to framed prints, postcards and candles it was just like walking into Aladdin's cave. I was so delighted to see my hats front and centre there. It was also so lovely to see so many beautiful crafts and items from Irish makers that I know, and that I have met again and again when we go to certain trade events. It was really nice to see my products sitting beside the products of people I highly admire, and that's always a really nice thing to see in a shop. I highly recommend it (obviously I am a little biased!!!) but if you are in Schull it's a great shop to go to, and I actually ended up buying a couple of gifts for different people and a little teddy in the shape of a crab for the dog.
One of the things I was really looking forward to was taking the cable car to Dursey Island which sadly I wasn't able to do as it was closed for repairs. However as of the 6th of June it is now open, so if you are in West Cork I would highly recommend it, just because I am extremely sad I didn't do it and I will probably drive down to go and do this again. I think it's the only cable car in Ireland. Anyways instead of going there, we went back to Glengarriff.
I had spotted a place called the Bamboo Experience when we had last driven through Glengarriff, and I wanted to check it out. We were so lucky we had the whole place to ourselves, and if you enjoy outdoor gardens, beautiful views, walking among magical forestry and bamboo, this is the place for you. I actually highly recommended it as a day out with the kids, as the paths are split into different levels of ease. There are wide flat paths that can be done easily with a wheelchair or a buggy, but there are also also teeny tiny little paths that are perfect for exploring (especially great for children and dogs). There are also beautiful vistas over the bay, and plenty of benches and spaces for you to bring a picnic and have a lovely lunch with all of the family. I enjoyed the 13 acres (!!!) of garden including over 30 species of bamboo and palms, three amazing lookout points, one cove, and so many arches and stone steps.
The last thing we did in West Cork was visit the beautiful Buddhist retreat (Dzogchen Beara) which is very close to Ahillies. The views are incredible as the retreat seems to be built over some cliffs, and when I was there the whole place had prayer flags hanging from the rooves - it was really beautiful. They also do super yummy cakes in their coffee shop, and the whole place exudes a wonderful calmness. I bought a great book from their shop, and some little prayer flags for the boat.
There are plenty of walks and beaches and mini waterfalls that we also discovered on our trip down to West Cork, but I'm afraid I just have no idea where those places were! While I was driving, if we saw someone that looked inviting, I would find a place to park, and we would jump out of the car and go explore. Which I think is just a really nice thing to do in West Cork.
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