we picked a rainy day to venture out and explore the villages west of cork, but here's the deal - if you wait for it not to rain in ireland, than depending on when you're there you may be waiting awhile. and staying in your hotel room is no fun, so we put on our waterproof jackets and comfy shoes and ventured off to explore the villages of west cork!
when i wrote about the copper coast I noted how there are many seaside beachy towns. however as you travel further west and transition from the celtic sea to the atlantic ocean, your beachy towns become more harbor towns. and for good reason. boat habors were especially important to southern ireland ages ago (something we learned on our visit to waterford), and cobh, our first stop, holds some pretty important boat history...
the town of cobh is nestled into the rocks in south western ireland and aside to being beautiful, it's claim to fame is that it was the last place that the titanic docked before making it's trip across the atlantic and sinking.
we knew this fact about cobh going in but our titantic tour was a happy accident that was a result of us needing to find a restroom and nowhere being open at 9am (ireland doesn't wake up until at least 10am, minus your breakfast places). after 3 bottles of water we made our way into the titanic museum and decided at that moment that we would do the tour.
when you first buy your tickets you're given a "passenger ticket". it has a name on it, and that name is actually of a person who was aboard the titanic when it sank. I was 3rd class passenger nora o'leery (age 17), and that the end of the tour you get to find out if you were one of the lucky passengers that survived.
from there you wait to board the tender boat that will take you to the ship, while learning about and standing in the exact spots that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class passengers were allowed to stand.
next, you're taken inside the titanic where you learn what the quarters for 3rd class passengers were like, as well as 1st class passengers. this part of the tour is filled with really interesting facts ranging from the differences in meals, to bathing, to common areas, and our tour guide was wonderful at answering all of the random questions my inquiring mind wanted to know.
at the end of the tour you're able to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the titanic, the rescue, and the eventual discovery of the ship at the bottom of the ocean. and of course you get to learn whether the person on your ticket survived (nora o'leary did in fact get rescued and survived!)
after our tour we wandered around cobh a little bit, taking in the town, noting that we definitely would love to come back and stay the night.
after cobh we headed towards kinsale for lunch and to explore. when we arrived it was raining pretty hard and we were hungry, so we snagged the first parking spot we could find and looked for a place to eat. the cafe @ no 11 was rated really high on yelp and we quickly realized the cafe was directly behind us, so we sprinted across the street and in from the downpour for a nice little lunch.
the cafe @ no 11 was adorable. a cute little coffee and lunch place within a hotel we snuggled back in the corner and ordered a salad, wrap, and green juices, which was much needed after one too many orders of fish and chips in the previous days!
after we finished eating there was a little break in the rain so we walked around the cute town of kinsale. bright storefronts stood out along the overcast skies and the boats lined up in the harbor hiding from the rain made for some beautiful views.
harbour view beach
harbour view beach was a lucky surprise on our day trip west of cork. we were headed towards clonakilty, and one of the keys to seeing scenery in ireland is to always keep your eyes peeled for places to pull off and explore or take pictures, and that was exactly how we discovered this beautiful little beach.
we didn't stay too terribly long, and we weren't really equipped to be at the beach, particularly on a rainy day, but it was a fun stop and worth keeping your eye out for if you're day tripping in the area.
by the time we got to clonakilty, our last stop on our day trip, the rain had broken up for a bit but here's the truth - we were tired, water logged, ready to kick back with a glass of wine at our resort, and the traffic in clonakilty? well just take a look below - it was CRAZY. we basically drove through the town and circled back to castlemartyer. so if you go to clonakilty, tell me about it!
cobh > kinsale > cafe @ no 11, old bank house (lunch, kinsale) > harbour view beach > clonakilty > castlemartyer
if you're heading to Southern Ireland the villages west of cork are a great day trip to take. if you've been, tell me where you stopped and what your favorites are!