There is a bounty of sites of national significance from every era and fascinating visitor centres to help you better grasp the paths and events that have shaped modern Ireland. With evocative prehistoric archaeological sites, like Dunbeg stone circle, scattered throughout the region, you can trace the lives of our earliest ancestors from the Bronze Age through to the arrival of Christianity and era of the Gaelic clans.
Learn about the demise of the clans after the Battle of Kinsale and the subsequent intensive planting of settlers from our neighbouring island in the fertile valleys of West Cork. In the Winter of 1796, a formidable French Armada, inspired by Theobald Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen, arrived in Bantry Bay to invade Ireland, put an end to British rule and establish an independent Irish republic. They were foiled by the weather and never landed. The mid-19th century saw the region devastated by famine, with reports from and events in Skibbereen raising a global awareness of this tragedy.
In the early 20th century, West Cork was to play a leading role in the establishment of the new Irish state - the ambush at Kilmichael being the opening shots of the War of Independence and the ambush at Beal na Blath and killing of Michael Collins speeding the civil war to a close almost 2 years later. But there's a lot more to the heritage of West Cork than conflict, with important centres for our maritime, industrial and commercial heritage in many towns and villages including Clonakilty, Goleen, Allihies and Castletownbere. The members below are suggested as guides to this multi-faceted and complex heritage, but they will be equally keen to engage in debate with you about how we can interpret our past.