County Cork

County Cork covers most of the south-west corner of Ireland, from Youghal all the way out to the end of the Beara Peninsula. 

Youghal and Cobh

Youghal (pronounced "Y'all") is a pretty little fishing town on the south coast, east of Cork City. The village clock tower sits in the middle of the main street. 

Another view of Youghal

The town of Cobh (pronounced "cove") in County Cork was the last port of call for ships sailing from Britain to the USA, and the place where most Irish emigrants left Ireland for the New World during and after the Famine

The old railway station has been converted to a mall and cafe. It also houses "The Queenstown Story", a museum about the emigrants who flowed through Cobh and also about the Titanic, which made its last landfall here, and the Lusitania, which didn't - it was torpedoed only a few miles off shore. 

A view across Cobh to the Irish Navy base across the harbor. 

The brightly colored houses across Ireland date back only to 1958. Before that, most Irish houses were plain stone or whitewashed. An annual "Tidy Town" competition encouraged Irish towns to compete to see which could be the most colorful and "tidy", and today bright colors are the norm. 

Cobh Cathedral towers over the town

Annie Moore and her brothers were the first immigrants to be processed through Ellis Island in New York. If you visit Ellis Island, you'll find another statue of her - pointing back toward Cobh. 

Fota Wildlife Park

Fota occupies an island just north of Cobh. It houses a variety of animals in large bar-less outdoor enclosures. 

A rook, which is a common Irish bird...

... and an ostrich - which isn't

Penguin on the rocks

A spider monkey, just climbing around one of the trees along the path.


Kinsale is not far down the coast from Cork. Its narrow, winding Main Street traces the old coastline -everything to the right is built on fill. 

Main Street begins here, leading down to the right. The road to the left leads to the upper town, through the old city wall. 

Newman's Mall, a pedestrianized shopping street in Kinsale

Signs along Market Quay

Further along Main Street. The narrow streets off to the right once led down to quays

The village of Scilly lines one street along Kinsale Harbor

The Stony Steps were once the only way to get from Main Street to the Upper Town

Charles Fort

Charles Fort was one of two star forts which guarded Kinsale Harbor. James Fort is now nearly completely gone, but Charles Fort remains in reasonably good condition. It was used by the British up until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, then was handed over to the new Irish government. Shortly afterward, it was burned down to prevent its ever being used again. 

The fort still looks out over the entrance to Kinsale Harbor - the Old Head of Kinsale is on the right. 

The South Coast

A fishing boat heads out of Baltimore

There are literally thousands of prehistoric remains in Ireland - this is the Drombeg stone circle, dating to the early Bronze Age. The burned remains of a young boy were found in the center of the circle.

The Ring of Beara

Most of the bus tours of the West of Ireland go around the Ring of Kerry on the Iveragh (pronounced "Ivy") Peninsula. The Ring of Beara, one peninsula south, is just as scenic and historic, but the road is too narrow and winding for buses, so the area remains largely unspoiled and unvisited. 

Bantry Bay

Along the south coast of Beara

Rush Hour on the Ring of Beara

A sailboat threads the narrow passage between Dursey Island and Beara

The Dursey Island cable car is Europe's only cable car crossing an arm of the ocean.

Ireland's population remains a fraction of what it was before the Famine of the 1840's and the immigration which followed. Abandoned farms are scattered across the countryside.

Glengarriff crosses the eastern end of the Beara Peninsula on the Ring of Beara.  

Sheep cover the hillsides of Glengarriff

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All pictures Copyright 2007-2008 Mike Brown