It wasn’t until I started dating James that I really got to know parts of Ireland outside of Dublin. Sure, I’d gone on day and weekend trips to various parts of the island. I’d visited tourist attractions and ordered pints in charming country pubs. But I hadn’t gone far off of the beaten path. However, James’ Ireland is very much not Dublin. Now, more often than not, we visit Ireland and avoid Dublin completely. This will change, obviously, in a few weeks when James moves over. For now, I thought I’d go through a few of my favorite Irish spots outside of the capital.
James’ family is from Cork (the “real” capital, if you ask them). He grew up in the city, but spent most weekends and every summer at his family’s house in West Cork. It’s James’ favorite place in the entire world – every time we start planning a new trip somewhere, James inevitably comes out with, “Sure, we could just go to Kilcrohane.” Luckily, I love it almost as much as he does. The house is beautiful and cozy, with great views of the water and just a short walk into the village. It’s rustic and relaxing – really, just magic.
There are a few different ways to drive to Kilcrohane, which is on the Sheep’s Head peninsula. Our favorite, when the weather cooperates, is the Goat’s Path. This small, mostly dirt road takes you from Bantry all the way to the end of the Sheep’s Head peninsula. Drivers share the road with walkers and cyclists, although if you choose to walk or cycle, be prepared – it’ll take a lot of energy!
The Goat’s Path is the long road at the top of the peninsula.
Even in a car, traversing the Goat’s Path can be a bit of a challenge. The road is barely wide enough for one car, so expect a lot of awkward reversing and pulling into bushes. The views from this road, however, make the terrible driving worth it.
When the sun is shining, the sea turns the most gorgeous deep blue, which contrasts beautifully against the emerald hills. If you look around, you might find a few new friends…
…and on particularly lucky days, you get this:
These shots only reflect a tiny piece of the magic that is the Goat’s Path. If you find yourself in Cork with a day or two to spare, definitely make the trek west to explore this glorious part of the country.
The Sheep’s Head peninsula is just under two hours away from Cork. You would definitely want to have a car to get around the area – there is a bus service, but it isn’t extensive and buses don’t run as frequently as you might like. There are some great B&Bs and hotels in the area, as well as some absolutely incredible restaurants.
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions while planning your trip!