We spent the day in County Cork driving from Skibbereen around to the fishing villages of Baltimore and Union Hall, and then onto Kinsale via the Drombeg Stone Circle and the Timoleague Friary Ruins.
This post is about a trio of very different beaches we discovered while driving the Wild Atlantic Way on the coast of Cork.
When driving anywhere we frequently make exploratory turn-offs onto little roads that often turn out to be people’s driveways, or end rather abruptly (and not scenically).
With the WAW app we went down all these tiny little roads and ended up at hidden coves and secret beaches. Even with a fair bit of research I can’t find the names for any of these beaches that we discovered so here goes…
The first beach we came to after Drombeg Stone Circle was sandy with the tide was way out. It was full of sea birds like this Oyster Catcher, with its distinctive red beak and legs, all looking for something to eat in the tidal flats.
It was very cold and windy and this poor heron was getting his feathers ruffled. We didn’t even get out of the car.The next beach along came with a batch of warnings. A sign warning of hidden sharp rocks under the waterA sign warning of restricted breeds of dogs.
A sign warning of rip currents.
For me the joy was the slatey rocks on the beach that looked like Chinese paintings. While the rocks of the north half of the WAW tended be uniformly grey, once we hit County Kerry and County Cork the colours showed up in glorious abandon.These rocks look like slate but with wavy patterns that resemble the limestone karsts of Asia.After this we carried onto to Galley Head, with its its own private castle, underground inlet, textured rock formations and a private lighthouse that made it rate an entire post all on its own. The last beach we poked into, after Galley Head, was completely different again, with ferns and bracken at the edges. Grassy sand dunes. Stormy skies. A map from an info sign in the region. We had spent the night in Skibbereen, driven to Lough Hyne and the fishing villages of Baltimore and Union Hall, and then onto Galley Head at the end of this map.
This Lonely Planet map shows exactly the same region as above but highlights different towns and sites. The Bronze Age Stone Circle in Drombeg, at the far right of this map, is just after Galley Head.The map below starts roughly where the above map stops. The beaches in this post were before and after Galley Head, and then we carried on to Kinsale stopping at the Timoleague Friary Ruins.The WAW app no longer seems to be available but Ireland.com has some great write-ups about the drive. This region is called the Haven Coast on ireland.com and their site has some great ideas for a road trip.