A fun place to be, Clonakilty has a metropolitan, carnivalesque feel. Lots of gourmet food, good shopping, and unique street life awaits. I saw a banjo-wielding man conducting an ensemble of mechanical-puppet musicians; his Shop Street Ceili Band stopped traffic. Clonakilty is highly recommended for its village life and for nearby Inchydoney Beach. So get on with the feasting and merrymaking !
What to See and Do
Let De Barra's satisfy your ears; it is live music venue that attract talent from all over Europe. Or drop into An Teach Beag, in Recorder's Alley, to hear traditional music sessions all summer - free admission. Don't miss the game; watch it at The Venue, a sports and music bar also located in Recorder's Alley. The Quality Hotel runs a summer kids camp with rugby, swimming, and hip hop dance classes. Visit the Model Railway Village. Surf and sun yourself on gorgeous, sandy Inchydoney Beach. Take a class with ceramic artist Jim Turner at Country Pottery, located off the Dunmanway road. For more information about the one to ten-day courses, visit www.rossmorepottery.com. Shop a fabulous array of unique women's shoes from English and American designers at Boo Shoez in Spiller's Lane. Or leave town on a car, bike, or foot excursion around Seven Heads Peninsula to the east or Galley Head peninsula to the west.
Where to Eat and Drink
The Lettercollum Kitchen Project is a unique, specialty food and wine shop on Connolly Street. They bake breads, quiches, and tarts on the premises, as well as concoct fresh pasta and bean salads. Also stocking an assortment of fine chocolates and wines. Come in hungry and leave fully satisfied. The Choc Box on Ashe Street imports Belgian loose chocolates for your sampling, or take home a box of Irish chocolates. The Olive Branch Heart and Soul Food in Spiller's Lane carries organic peanut butter, whole foods, tofu, and other fresh essentials. Abacus, also in Spiller's Lane, is a bakery creating breads, scones, and tarts, as well as stocking fresh French yogurts with fruit. Prego is a street-side café to nibble scones and sip tea. Clonakilty's hometown ice cream is available at a dingy parlor on the main drag, in flavors such as Orange Crunch laces with honeycomb and chocolate. There is a local farmer's market every Thursday at 10AM.
Where to Sleep
Wake up right on the beach at the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa - Tel: 023 35229.
Or rent a cottage on the beach. O'Donovan's Hotel is a family-run place in the town centre with traditional music every Tuesday in the lounge - Tel: 023 33250.
The Jennings family runs The Desert House, the nearby option for camping or caravanning, 1.6km from Clonakilty on Ring Rd.
How to get there
From Cork, take N71 south to Clonakilty.
From Skibbereen, take N71 east to Clonakilty.
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. South of Ireland Brass Band Championships at beginning of July. Michael Collins Festival in mid-July and mid-August..
Lisselan Golf Club Open Week in mid-July.
Written by Liz O'Malley - Summer of Travel 2007