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From the Irish “An Gleann garbh,” meaning the rugged glen, this a beauteous place of lakes, ancient woods, and subtropical gardens. Glengarriff is the southern portal to the Ring of Beara and the town itself has a holiday resort feel.
What to See and Do
Drive to Glengarriff Ancient Oak Forests, and walk in this nature reserve under the lush canopy of trees by the river. Continue on to see Barley Lake, a unique example of an “armchair lake,” perched up in the hills. In the back of the Coomerkaun Valley, there is fishing at Twelve Cows Lake and at Lough Eekenohoolikeaghaun, a tricky name to pronounce. The Beara Way walk also snakes through this region, look for the signs.
On the way back to town, visit The Ewe Sculpture Garden and bring a smile to your face. Indulge in the Edible Art Café and satisfy your sweet tooth.
Back in town, visit the Catherine Hammond Gallery, and see a collection of contemporary Irish art. Quills, located in a picturesque stone building, has a wide assortment of Irish woolen sweaters.
Visit Garnish Island (illnacullin), a famous subtropical garden of rare flowers, trees, and shrubs. The Island also has the Italian Gardens, the De Medici house, and the Martello Tower. Boats leave every 20 minutes and include a tour of the local seal colony.
Where to Eat and Drink
The Martello Bistro, located next to the Catherine Hammond Gallery, offers a fine selection of local cuisine. The Blue Pool bar at the Glengarriff Park Hotel serves hearty lunches and dinners to refuel after a long day’s hike.
Where to Sleep
The Glengarriff Park Hotel, a new place at the center of town.
How to get there
From Kenmare, take N71 south to Glengarriff.
From Cork, take N22 west to Macroom, transfer to R584 through Ballingeary to Kealkill to the N71. Take N71 north to Glengarriff.
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. West Cork Run from Glengarriff to Bantry in early May.