Charles Fort

This was constructed in the late 17th century on the site of an earlier coastal fortification. Charles Fort is a classic example of a star-shaped fort and has five bastions. Image of Charles fort The two seaward bastions, the Devil's and the Charles' were for defending the harbour and both are casemated - that is, they have gun embrasures inside as well as on top of the walls. The North, Flagstaff and the Cockpit, are the three landward bastions and all three had a brick sentry box at their outermost point, two of these still survive.

William Robinson, architect of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin, is credited with designing the Fort. Across the estuary is James Fort, an earlier structure, which was designed by Paul Ivy in 1602. In 1690 after the 'Battle of the Boyne' the Williamite forces arrived at Kinsale and attacked both forts. Guided tours available. Restricted access for people with disabilities due to uneven terrain.

Creagh Gardens

Those in search of a romantic garden with an intimate, reposeful ambience will surely find Creagh very much to their taste. This is a delightful, informal garden set in the wooded grounds of an old demesne that extends down to the shore of a river estuary. Image of Creagh GardensAcquired by Gwendoline and Peter Harold-Barry at the end of the last war, the garden has been developed by both of them, making excellent use of existing features, notably a mill pond and the ruins of a mill house. An extensive network of tracks and paths meander their way through the woodlands, across glades and along the strand, enabling the visitor to view a wide range of tender plants. These include camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, fuchsias, magnolias, telopeas and abutilons all enjoying the gentle climate of West Cork.

The focus of the garden is a very pleasant Regency house, circa 1820, with wide eaves and a deep semi circular bow. From the lawns in front of the house, the visitor follows a straight gravel walk leading down to the pier. A short distance to the left, a narrow path through woodland winds around a serpentine mill pond amidst a scene reminiscent of a Henri Rousseau landscape - from which the garden was inspired.

Located 3 1/2 miles south of Skibbereen on the Baltimore Road.

Open daily, all year.
Suitable for wheelchairs.

Sorry, no dogs. Tel: (028) 22121.
Best season: April to June.

Garnish Island

Located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff , in Southwest Ireland, Ilnacullin is a small island of 37 acres known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of rare beauty. The gardens of Ilnacullin owe their existence to the creative partnership, some seventy years ago, of Anna Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. The island was bequeathed to the Irish people in 1953, and was subsequently entrusted to the care of the Commissioners of Public Works. Today management of the island is in the hands of the Office of Public Works.

Image of Garnish Island

The island is named Garnish (the near island) on official Ordnance Survey Maps and is widely known by that name. The alternative name Ilnacullin or Illaunacullin (island of holly) also has a long history in the locality, and appears on at least one early map; it may in fact be the older name for the island. As there is another island garden called Garnish not far away in County Kerry, there is much to be said for using the distinctive name Ilnacullin for the island garden at Glengarriff, County Cork, and this has been the practice of the Office of Public Works for some years now.

The island is open to visitors each day from 1st March to 31st October. During the winter months, from November to February, it is closed to visitors except by special arrangement. Ilnacullin is reached from Glengarriff by privately operated boats. A charge for admission to Ilnacullin is made by the Office of Public Works on arrival at the island. This charge is quite separate from the fares collected by boat owners. Ilnacullin is renowned for its richness of plant form and colour, changing continuously with the seasons. The vivid colours of Rhododendrons and Azaleas reach their peak during May and June, whilst the hundreds of cultivars of climbing plants, herbaceous perennials and choice shrubs dominate the midsummer period from June to August. Autumn colour, particularly on the magnificent heather bank, is rich during the usually mild early autumn months of September and October.


This lovely recumbent stone circle is locally known as the Druid's Altar, and is located on the edge of a rocky terrace with fine views to the sea about a mile away. The word Drombeg means 'the small ridge'.

Of the original 17 pillars of smooth-sided local sandstone erected in a circle of 9.5m (31ft) in diameter, only 13 remain. To the left of the north-east entrance is a portal stone 2.2m (7ft 2in) high; its opposite is the 1.9m (6ft 10in) long recumbent which has two egg-shaped cup-marks (one with a ring around it). The circle stones have been shaped to slope upwards to the recumbent itself. Image of Drombeg The midpoint of this stone was set in line with the winter soltice sunset viewed in a conspicuous notch in the distant hills; the alignment is good but not precise.

Excavations in 1957 and 1958 revealed cremated bones in a deliberately broken pot wrapped with thick cloth and buried near the centre of the circle along with 80 other smashed sherds, four bits of a shale and a collection of sweepings from a pyre (recalling similar deposits at the Scottish recumbent circle of Loanhead of Daviot).

About 40m (44yds) to the west of the circle are the remains of two stone-built prehistoric huts joined by a common doorway. The smaller has a cooking place 1.5 x 1.1m (5ft x 3ft 6in) on its eastern side; this was still in use in the 5th century AD. This prehistoric kitchen had a flagged trough in which water was boiled by dropping red-hot stones into it. Recent tests confirmed that using this method, 70 or more gallons of water could be boiled for almost three hours.

Timoleague Abbey

Timoleague abbey was founded by the franciscan order in 1240 A.D. The abbey was built on the site of a monastic settlement founded by Saint Molaga in the 6th century. The villages name comes from the Irish for House of Molaga, Tigh Mologa.The abbey was extended by Donal Glas McCarthy in 1312, and by Irish and Norman patrons in the 16th century. The monks were dispersed by the Reformation, but returned in 1604. In 1612 the abbey was sacked by English soldiers who also smashed all of the stained glass windows, but much of the significant architecture remains. The friars remained in the abbey until 1629.

Image of Timoleague Abbey

Michael Collins

Tim and Dolores Crowley have been interpreting the life of Michael Collins since 1997, when they organized the first Michael Collins Tours, taking visitors to the important sites in West Cork associated with the famous patriot.

Elizabeth Slyne Crowley, grandmother of Tim Crowley was a cousin of Michael Collins and her husband Tim Crowley was on active service during the 1916 rebellion. The Crowleys opened a Heritage center on their farm in 2000 and Michael Collins slide shows were held two evenings a week during the summer months. Micheal Collins In 2002 the Heritage center was named the Michael Collins Centre and the photograph and militaria exhibition was set up in the cottage theatre.

In 2003, outside the center the ambush trail was laid out, a one hundred meter section of road designed to look like a War of Independence /Civil War ambush site. The Michael Collins Centre Clonakilty is the only facility in Ireland, at which visitors can receive a comprehensive presentation, by expert guides, on the life and times of Michael Collins.

From N 71 Clonakilty Co. Cork. Ireland travel the R600 road to Timoleague for approx 2 Km and take the second turn off to the left. On that road go straight through for 1.6 km until you reach the Michael Collins Centre.

From Kinsale: Take the R600 towards Clonakilty after passing Timoleague Village. Look out for the sign on the right for Centre (approx 3 Km).

Opening Times Mid June to mid September
Mon - Fri 10:30am to 5pm
Sat 11am - 2pm