Glandore Harbour & Rabbit Island
Glandore Harbour (Cuan Dor -“Harbour of the Oaks”) is a beautiful bay (Photo by D.S.B).
This area is believed to have been one of the earliest settled in West Cork.
The C19th Rev. Murray‘s description remains true today: “Cloudless sky and sparkling sea, / Cliff and shore and forest tree, / Glen and stream and mountain blue, / Burst at once upon the view. / The gay the beautiful, the grand / Blending over wave and land / ‘Till the eye can see no more / Than it hath is sweet Glandore”
The longest established sailing regatta in West Cork takes place here annually.
Adam and Eve are the two main islands in Glandore Harbour. The advice given to boatmen entering the harbour is to “avoid Adam and hug Eve“.
Rabbit Island near the mouth of the harbour is private property, but the owner allows well behaved visitors to explore the northern side. Much-fragmented, with several pebble beaches, this attractive island was formerly inhabited, and is now home to some wild horses; otters have also been reported, especially at a spot called the Stack of Beans.
Glandore (Co. Cork / Southwest)
Glandore is the name of a famously picturesque village and district overlooking Glandore Harbour.
Glandore village, overlooking Glandore Harbour, comprises little more than one street and has no shops at all, but nevertheless has a fine reputation as a holiday destination, with several good pubs and eateries.
The village has a small harbour of its own, much frequented by boating and sailing enthusiasts in summer.
Glandore Castle, originally a Barrett stronghold, has seen many alterations over the centuries, and is ow a private residence. The ruins of a medieval church stand nearby.
Kilfinnan Castle, remarkable for its exceptionally thick defensive walls, was owned for centuries by the the Townsend family. The structure is now incorporated into a hotel.
Both castles were at one stage controlled by the O’Donovan clan, and have been inhabited continuously up to the present.
Christ church (CoI), built in 1860 on a rocky edge overñlooking the Harbour, is much photographed for its quaint entrance gate through the rock. Both it and the Roman Catholic church (1929) on the other side of the village are called Kilfaughnabeg / Kilfachtnabeg (Cil Fachna Beag – “Little church of St Fachna”).
Hayes Bar serves delicious homecooked food and has truly spectacular views.
James Redmond Barry, an exceptionally philanthropic C19th landlord, established schools to teach fishing and domestic economy, built the Glandore Inn (1828) and organized the first Regatta in 1830.
William Thompson, one of the first Socialists, established a commune here, mentioned by Karl Marx in Das Kapital.
Despite these efforts, the Glandore district was one of the worst hit in West Cork during the Great Famine, losing 45% of its population.
Dromilihy (Drom Oilche – “Ridge of the Deer”), once the property of the Dukes of Devonshire, is now the site of a Coillte Forest Recreation Area, comprising pleasant mixed woodlands around the ruins of an old country house and a flax mill. This is a good spot for observing wildlife, particularly songirds.
Leap (Co. Cork / Southwest)
Leap (pronounced “Lepp”) is the most famous of several places in Ireland with the same name.
This village at the head of Glandore Harbour claims to take its Irish name, Leim Ui Dhonnabhain (“O Donovan’s Leap”) from the story of a local O’Donovan clan chieftain who escaped pursuing English soldiers by jumping across a local gorge in the style of Robin Hood, El Zorro and suchlike heroes of fiction. Sir George Carew, leading a “pacification” campaign of West Cork after the 1601 Battle of Kinsale, noted in his diary on 26th April 1602, “we departed over the Leap“; he left Captain Fowler to devastate the immediate area. An old saying “Beyond the Leap, beyond the law” indicates that the territory west of the village remained outlaw country until the ravine was bridged in 1815.
The Church of Ireland edifice in the centre of the village was built in 1828 to replace the nearby “Little White Chapel”, which remained in use as a burial place, and contains the graves of several people lost at sea during both World Wars.
St Mary’s church (RC) was built during the Great Famine under the supervision of Fr Joseph Sheahan.
Leap is probably best known regionally for its fine all-weather harness racing track.
Dr. Thomas Herlihy, Bishop of Ross, is said to have been born locally. He was one of the three Irish prelates who attended the 1562 Council of Trent. On his return he was imprisoned by the Queen’s soldiers.
Fr John Power, a local parish priest who died in 1831, had the reputation of being a miracle worker. His tomb in the Abbey Cemetery in Rosscarbery is still a place of pilgrimage on St. John’s Eve.
Leap is south of Dunmanway on ByRoute 2.
Union Hall (Co. Cork / Southwest)
Union Hall / Unionhall (Bréantrá, from Trá an Bhróin, in memory of a battle which took place here centuries ago) (pop. 750) grew up around the “Big House” which was built by William Somerville of Limerick at the end of the C18th, called The Hall and later Union Hall to commemorate the passing of the Act of Union in 1800. It is often referred to as Myross, the name of the local parish, allegedly aka the Garden of Carberry. (Photo – www.pierholidayhomes.com)
Sheltered at the upper end of Glandore Harbour, it is a lovely little village with an active fishing fleet, anchorage facilities for pleasure boats, and calm water for aquatic sports such as water skiing, diving, sea kayaking and canoeing.
Dean Jonathan Swift enjoyed a pleasant stay for several months in 1723 in Rock Cottage, where he wrote the poem Carberiae Rupes (The Rocks of Carbery).
The old stone schoolhouse now houses village an excellent Hostel / Guesthouse / lodge and also hosts regular traditional music sessions.
Ardagh House is a 100-year-old waterfront farmhouse with highly recommended B&B facilities.
Shearwater House, scenically situated with wonderful views, provides genteel B&B accommodation.
Keelbeg Pier is a good place to hire boats for exploring the coast, visiting some of the offshore Islands, inshore angling, deep-sea fishing, dophin / porpoise and whale watching.
The Union Hall Festival is an enjoyable annual event, held every June.
The surrounding area is dotted with archaeological sites, ancient forts and medieval ruins; a Holy Well dedicated to Saint Brigid receives a yearly pilgrimage on 1st February. There are numerous woodland lanes and paths, ideal for walking or cycling, and many sheltered beaches and coves nearby.
Ceim Hill Museum in Myross is traditional healer Teresa O’Flaherty‘s wonderfully eccentric private collection of ancient stones, fossils, pre-historic implements and folk material, including memorabilia from The Troubles, in an isolated 500-year-old hilltop farmhouse.
Squince Harbour is a sheltered bay with a sandy beach.