Mattie and Mary take us on a historic adventure around beautiful West Cork.
Bantry is a major town at the head of Bantry Bay and is the principal coastal town in this part of West Cork. It is delightfully situated with a spectacular back-drop of mountains. Bantry is an old town with many historical connections.
Chief amongst these is that Bantry was the destination of two French Invasions - 1689 and 1796. In the former, the French landed some 2,500 troops and supplies before engaging the British fleet in the famous 'Battle of Bantry Bay'.
Because of its geographical location, Bantry has a warmer than average climate. This gives Bantry and Bantry Bay its lush vegetation, semi-tropical flowers and even palm trees. Bantry market is open every Friday on the Square, between 9am and 1pm.
The Beara Peninsula is steeped in myths, legends and folklore. The mountains and valleys are rich in archaeological sites such as stone circles, wedge graves and other relics from the past.
It is home to many scenic lakes cradled by gorgeous mountains and a rugged coastline with lots of great fishing spots. Linking all of this together is the Beara Way walking trail, also a cycling route and the Ring of Beara for those who wish to drive.
Along the Beara Way is the village of Eyeries. This brightly painted, beautifully situated community overlooks Kenmare Bay and is home to the famous Milleens Cheese, a family run business which produces a unique washed-rind cheese made from cows' milk.
Glengarriff is a sheltered harbour on the Beara peninsula near Castletownbere, in West Cork. It is the home of Garnish Island, a microclimatic, garden island, famous for its rich collection of trees and rare flowering plants.
Garnish is a small island of 15 hectares 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 eighty years ago, of Annan Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer.
Access to the Island is by small ferry boats and licensed 60 seater water buses.
Dursey Island is five square miles of beautiful rocky land that has been amputated from the end of the Beara Peninsula by the erosive power of the Atlantic Ocean. At its nearest point, it is about two hundred yards from the peninsula but the intervening channel is a really treacherous length of water.
Since 1969 Irelands only cable-car links Dursey Island and its inhabitants with the mainland. It is licensed to carry three people and a cow.