A small harbor village designed for sailors, Baltimore is the ideal launching point to the waters of southwest Cork. With the islands of Clear, Calf, Carthy, Skeam, Hare, Sherkin, and Goat beckoning, you have tons to explore by sea. Enjoy coffee and scones on deck, spot seals sunning on rocks, and pull into new harbors. Let the rocking sea waves soothe your body and soul.
What to See and Do
The big attraction here is getting into the water. Sail the islands aboard a 50ft yacht with Con and Mary Minihane – a fun trip I will remember for the rest of my life. They host day cruises or longer excursions aboard the Inishbeg. Get in touch with Baltimore Yacht Charters for more information: Tel: (028) 20160, firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Dun na Sead Castle, a beautifully restored 13th century castle that overlooks the harbor. Learn the exciting history of Baltimore inside the castle. Fiddle Fair kicks off the Baltimore Fiddle Fair at Glebe Gardens Ampitheatre. Check www.fiddlefair.com for show details in July and August. Baltimore Sailing Club, established in 1974, runs courses every week for those ready to captain their own ship, and I’m ready to sign up. Call (028) 20141.
Where to Eat and Drink
There are plenty of options here. Go crazy with seafood at renowned French restaurant Chez Youen. Dive into the culinary sea with Moules Mariniere, Irish Smoked Salmon, local Sherkin Island Oysters, Warm Goat Cheese Salad, Brown Crab with Mayo, and Galley Head Prawns (+10 euro) for 39.50 euro. Or dine on food with a little sass at The Mews Restaurant and Art Gallery, serving “carpaccio of beef aroused by horseradish chive and hazelnut cream” (12.95 euro) or “grilled pear, watercress, and walnut salad, crumbled stilton flirting with light mustard drizzle” (9.95 euro). Mews was declared Best in Ireland 2007 by Bridgestone. The Lifeboat Café is a scenic spot for open-faced sandwiches or tea and organic spelt scones with butter and jam. If the weather is fine, sit outside La Jolie Brise eating a fresh baked pizza on their long wooden tables. Or sip a pint atop an outdoor barrel at Bushe’s Pub.
Where to Sleep
Lots of guesthouses and B&Bs to choose from. Fastnet House B&B looked friendly and inviting. For travelers on a budget, there’s the Top of the Hill Hostel.
How to get there
From Skibbereen, take R595 south to Baltimore. Castle is located by the harbor.
See www.buseireann.ie website for all current travel details and restrictions.
When to go
April through October, when the days are longer and the sun more likely to show. Alondra Trophy (wreck fishing) in mid-June. O’Driscoll Clan Mid Summer Festival in mid-June. Baltimore Championship Regatta the second week of July. Coastal Rowing Country Final first week in August. Baltimore Regatta second week in August. Baltimore Deep Sea Angling Festival the last week in August.
Written by Liz O'Malley - Summer of Travel 2007