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Europe > Britain and Ireland > Ireland > Southwest Ireland > County Cork > Skibbereen


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Skibbereen is a small town in the south-west of County Cork, Ireland. The name means 'little boat harbour', due to its presence on River Ilen.

Get in[edit]

Skibbereen is on the N71, about 85km from Cork. There is a Bus Eireann service from Parnell Place Bus Station in Cork. In summer there is a coach by Bus Eireann from Killarney.

Get around[edit]

The town is small enough to see everything on foot.

There is a taxi service with its base in the centre of the town. It closes at midnight on weekdays.


  • 1 Lough Hyne (Lough Ine) (7km south west of Skibbereen). A lake surrounded by woodlands with nice bathing areas but no beach. The lake is an important centre for sealife as it is Europe's largest saltwater lake. The water at Lough Hyne is approximately 3°C warmer than the sea and is home to a number of Mediterranean species.
  • 2 Skibbereen Heritage Centre, Old Gasworks Building, Upper Bridge St., +353 28 40900, fax: +353 28 40957. Mo-Sa 10:00-18:00. Exhibits on Lough Hyne and the Potato Famine as Skibbereen and the surrounding area was badly hit by the 1845-49 'Great Hunger'.


There are at least two must-do's whether on a short or long visit to skibbereen. These are:

  • Night Kayak on Lough Hyne. This is a spectacular experience on Ireland's only tidal lake. Set off from the northern shore and kayak in a clock-wise circumnavigation of the lake. Don't miss the opportunity to see the phosphorescence. Thanks to a combination of zero light pollution and temperature, the lake’s phyto-plankton light up like fireflies when agitated. The effect is most impressive on the dark nights from May to October. The nightly trip, offered by international kayak champion Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking, costs €45 per person and takes two and a half hours. It is suitable for all adult kayakers, novice or experienced, and scheduled trips for families are also available.



The area around Skibbereen is well known throughout ireland for its fishing villages, hence the main recommendation is to eat seafood. The best restaurants are in these fishing villages incluing, Mary-Anns in Castletownshend, The Marine or the Glandore Inn in Glandore and Dinty's in Union Hall.


There are many pubs in Skibbereen, ranging from traditional Irish pubs to the more modern superpubs. Whatever your preference, most are within a short walking distance of each other in the centre of the town


Both hotels in the town are old buildings although "The West Cork", as it is known locally, has been renovated.

If you like to stay in a newer hotel then The Marine Hotel in Glandore or The Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery are the nearest. There are also various Bed & Breakfast properties within and around the town.


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