This town attracts some world-class festivals. On your visit, uncork the arts and the fine wine amidst the pretty setting of Bantry Bay. It is a place for intellectual and artistic revelers. We truly enjoyed our time here and did not want it to end.
What to See and Do
Get tickets to one of the many festivals. Visit The Bantry House and Gardens, a grand, mid 18th century mansion with spectacular grounds and view, and stay for tea. Browse Booksteps, a bookstore specializing in books that promote resolving environmental problems. Hear live music at The Anchor pub (stop in for coffee and Sunday morning jazz sessions) and The Quays. Visit the Bantry Library and water mill. Eat. This town is a good place to dine.
Where to Eat and Drink
Farmer’s market on Friday – the largest in the area. Tons of delicious local eats as well as antiques, clothing, livestock, handicrafts, furniture, you name it. On par with the flea markets in Los Angeles and New York City. We tasted some superb pork rillets from Krawczyk’s, the “finest handmade West Cork charcuterie.” Bought some organic greens from a farmer. Ate delicious, homemade goat cheese and sun dried tomato empanadas. Find fresh dates, olives, fudge, and local Cashel Blue cheese amongst other culinary delights.
For fine seafood from the local waters, O’Connor’s Seafood on Wolfe Tone Square: www.oconnorseafood.com, Tel: 027 50221. The Stuffed Olive is a gourmet store/café stocking Gwen’s Chocolates (made in Schull), fresh baked savory and sweet scones, tarts, spelt bread, focaccia, gourmet sandwiches, and other local artisan foods. Bantry Wholefoods has a fine assortment of healthy foods to supplement your decadence – and handmade Irish soaps by Gallunae, in varieties such as Wild Irish Seaweed and Rosemary. The Central Fish Market supplies fresh fish and local cheeses. Up the hill is Organico, a local café, bakery, and store.
Where to Sleep
The Bantry House – a taste of the posh old: www.bantryhouse.com, Tel: 037 50047. The Maritime Hotel – a taste of the chic new with richly colored décor and ultra modern amenities: www.themaritime.ie, Tel: 027 54700.
How to get there
From Kenmare, take N71 south to Bantry.
From Cork, take N22 west to outside Crookstown. From Crookstown, take R585 southwest to Kealkill to main N71 highway. Take N71 south to Bantry.
See www.buseireann.ie website for all current travel details and restrictions.
When to go
From April to October, when the days are longer and the sun comes out. Callino Quartet and Friends at the Bantry House in April. West Cork Run from Glengarriff to Bantry in early May. Bantry Bay Golf Club Opening of new holes in June. West Cork Chamber Music Festival at the Bantry House at the beginning of July. West Cork Literary Festival in mid July. Masters of Tradition at the Bantry House in mid August.
Written by Liz O' Malley - Summer of Travel 2007