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Things to do in Clonakilty

A vibrant town, Clonakilty also boasts beautiful beaches, green surrounds and a mix of activities for everyone from water sports and adventure to golf, and our proud heritage. 



The Blue Flag beach at Inchydoney Island, just a few miles from Clonakilty, is renowned not only as one of the most familyfriendly beaches in West Cork but also as one of the most beautiful. With vast expanses of sand, dunes and excellent surfing conditions there really is something for everyone.

(Car parking, toilets and access via ramps and steps. Lifeguards on duty in the summer season).


About 15 minutes from Clonakilty and looking out over the Galley Head lighthouse is the aptly named Long Strand. A mile and a half of sand bounded by waves of dunes this is the perfect place to stretch your legs and breath in the fresh Atlantic air. The top end is a haven for surfers but the rest of the beach is unsafe for bathing due to a dangerous undertow.

(Car parking facilities are available at the southern end of the beach).


Dotted with rock pools, the Red Strand is only minutes from the Long Strand and offers a wonderful tranquil spot for the whole family.

(Toilets and access off road)


The Blue Flag beach at The Warren, Rosscarbery is a wonderfully sheltered family beach with safe bathing and numerous rock pools. If swimming or paddling isn’t your thing then try a round of Pitch and Putt on the 18-hole championship course located in the adjacent dunes or perhaps a spot of fishing off the pier.

(Car parking, toilets – closed in winter – and access via ramps. Lifeguard on duty in the summer season).


Owenahincha is a popular family beach backing onto sand dunes and located approximately 7 miles from Clonakilty. Here you can get the best of two beaches by taking the short walk over the cliffs to The Warren, Rosscarbery while taking in the incredible sea views. Owenahincha is only minutes away from Castlefreke woods and the ‘TidyVillage’ of Rathbarry with shop, pub, water wheel and pot bellied pig!.

(Car parking and toilet facilities. Lifeguards on duty in summer season).


Activities & Outdoors

The West Cork Model Railway Village, Ireland's only Model Village, is a fully scaled handmade model of the historic West Cork Railway Line with fully working trains and the towns that the railway served during the 1940's. Take a spin on the iconic Road Train through the beautiful town of Clonakilty. Indoor and outdoor play areas. Try out the new remote control boats! Relax and enjoy a cup of coffee/tea in the Café and visit the Gift Shop in an authentic train carriage. 

Michael Collins, Clonakilty's most important son, is one of the most significant figures in the creation of the modern Irish State. Visit the Michael Collins Heritage Centre and Michael Collins House to learn more. Michael Collins died during Ireland's Civil War at a place called Béal na mBláth - not far from Woodfield, Clonakilty, Co. Cork where he was born just over 31 year earlier. The ambush was commanded by Tom Hales and Liam Deasy, both of whom were former friends and comrades in arms of the ‘Big Fella’.


Lisselan House, on the banks of the Argideen River was built in 1851/53 by William Bence-Jones. The House in French Chateau Style was designed by Lewis Vuliamy. In the late 1800s the smoke room wing was added, to the design of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane who also designed the lodge at the front gate. The Property was sold to C.O. Stanley in 1929 and he enlarged the hall by building a single storey addition along the entrance in 1946.


Cork Whale Watch - When it comes to unique wildlife encounters there are few things as breath-taking and humbling as coming face to face with the world’s largest creatures. Whale watching is one of those activities that comes close to the top of every “100 things to do before you die” bucket list ever compiled — and it’s much more accessible than you might think. (Photo: Vanessa Jordan)


Ten hotels together with The Model Railway Village, in the West Cork town of Clonakilty and its surrounds, joined to offer the Clonakilty Bike Scheme in Ireland’s first rural community bike rental scheme. The Clonakilty Bike Scheme comes complete with tips for cycling on West Cork roads and a Clonakilty area cycle route map. Suggested cycle routes include Inchydoney Loop, 10km; Courtmacsherry Loop via Timoleague, 33km; South Beaches Loop via Castlefreke Woods, 34km; Timoleague to Ballinspittle via Killbrittain Whale Bones, 30km; and Rosscarbery to Unionhall via Drombeg Stone Circle, 20km.


Fernhill House and Gardens - The gardens at Fernhill are the perfect place to relax and unwind. There are many quiet corners for you to enjoy a book, chat or reflect on the beauty of the gardens. There are many stunning features including a heart shaped flower bed, rose walk, geyser and many more.


Inchydoney Surf School have been in business for 16 years in Inchydoney. For ages 8-108 anyone can enjoy the thrilling experience of surfing in Irelands number 1 beach as voted by Tripadvisor, which is only 10 minutes from the vibrant festival town of Clonakilty. At Inchydoney Surf School wetsuits, surfboards and if needed, boots, hoods and gloves are all provided. Changing rooms are also provided. The instructors are in the water with you at all times. Every instructor is a Fully qualified lifeguard and surf instructor.


Sprigging School

Sprigging School. Rathbarry was well known in the early 19th century for its lace making. The lace especially associated with the area was known as sprigging lace because it was shaped like a sprig or spray. In 1825, Lady Carbery initiated this school to teach the art of lace making. In recent times, the building had fallen into dereliction but in 2000, the Tidy Towns Committee restored the building to its original condition using traditional building methods resulting in an award in the Green Town 2000 competition.There was no bridge when the school was in use. Instead, students were expected to ford the stream using two short flights of steps.


Clonakilty Park Adventure Centre, is Clonakilty's newest family activity centre in the heart of West Cork. Located on the grounds of the Quality Hotel & Leisure Club, this superb adventure centre offers a host of exciting activities for you to choose from including Aerial Trekking High Ropes Course, Climbing Tower, Zip Line and Power Fan Jump.


Clonakilty GAA pitch and track is the place to go if you would like a run or walk on a secure path



We stayed in Clonakilty for 4 nights and loved it. So much to do. Beautiful beaches. Lovely pubs and such friendly people! Can't wait to come back!

Denise Lemmon Brown

A charming, yet cosmopolitan little gem, set in a stunningly beautiful part of the Emerals Isle. Great food, friendly people with immense sense of civic responsibility. Do not miss the music scene.

Jim Shine

I love Clonakility! Whenever we visit the Cork area we can't resit a stop off! Great Cafes & Restaurants. Very Pretty Town, bustling with life and Activity!!!!

Mary Sheridan Galway

A great town vibrant and pretty. Always plenty to do. Always clean and with the most friendly people. A must visit for both visitors to Ireland and native Irish. Great pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Michael McKenna

The most vibrant small town in Ireland. Always something happening. Great food, great atmosphere, lovely people.

Alison Wickham

We found Clonakilty to be one of if not the friendliest place we've ever visited. The people of "Clon " treated us like we had lived there our whole lives.They welcomed us into their lives like we were family.

Mitch Eveleth Iowa, USA

Great town ."The people are Splendid" to use a quote of the towns most Famous famous residence Michael Collins. The food and choice of food is excellent, the layout of the town with it meanderingĀ streets creates an intimacy with this place.

Michael McManus

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