A happening town with a vibrant youth culture. Skibbereen is a real town that is not overly commercial or touristy, so it retains its small-town feel.
What to See and Do
Visit West Cork Arts Centre and browse their current art exhibition. Go to the Skibbereen Heritage Centre. Take a guided historical walk, twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 6:30PM, beginning at the Heritage Centre. Spend the day swimming and picnicking at Lough Hyne. Make your own hazel wooden chair with professional chair maker and woodwork teacher Alison Ospina. Courses are set in The Wooden House in Rossnagoose, approximately two miles from Skibbereen, near the Ilen River. One, two, and three-day courses available. For more information, Tel: 028 21890 or www.greenwoodchairs.com. Take a walk with or roll up your sleeves and take a workshop with Growing Awareness, a Skibbereen-based food and farming group promoting respect for the earth. Courses such as Tree See Saving (“learn how to identify, collect, and store the seeds of native trees and how to prepare them for germination and planting”) or Tomato Day at the Skibbereen Farmer’s Market (taste 30-40 varieties of tomatoes). See latest detail on www.growingawareness.org. Hear impromptu live music at the pubs. And do your laundry. Rosie’s Laundrette does a fine job.
Where to Eat and Drink
Taste artisan foods at the Country Market, every Friday from 12:30PM to 2:30PM at the Abbeystrewery Hall, or the Farmer’s Market, every Saturday from 10AM to 1:30PM at the Fair Field. Yin Yang is the local health nut store, with a sitting area in back to stew over the local news while chomping a sesame bar. The Tipsy Muffin is a new mother-daughter operation on North Street. Mom bakes fresh muffins such as “nana’s naughty chocolate cake” or “scrumptious carrot cake” and flapjacks, fruit and brown scones, and croissants, while daughter pulls espresso and brews teas. Open Monday to Saturday from 9:15AM to 5:15PM. They also serve lunches. Kalbo’s Bistro is the premier seafood restaurant, located on North Street. Menu includes grilled wild salmon on spring onion risotto with ginger butter sauce (20.95 euro). Or grilled goat cheese with basil crust on seasonal lettuce leaf (9.50 euro). They also make gourmet burgers, homemade burger with blue cheese (16.95 euro). For the early birds, they serve a 3 course dinner (25.95 euro) from 6:30PM to 7:30PM, Monday through Saturday.
Where to Sleep
Russagh Mill Hostel and Adventure Centre is one mile outside of town. Pitch your tent here or book a double room. Relax in the sun room or out on the back porch tables. The hostel attracts adventurers old and young and has a social, communal vibe that is purely positive.
How to get there
From Bantry, travel south on the N71 to Skibbereen.
From Cork, travel south on the N71 to Skibbereen.
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. All Ireland Road Bowling first week in July. Jack Lynch Memorial Golf Classic in mid-July. Skibbereen Children’s Festival in late July. Cork X Music Festival in early August. National Heritage Week at the end of August/early September. A Taste of West Cork Food Festival in mid September.
Written by Liz O'Malley - Summer of Travel 2007