As you know,  we live in Dublin, Ireland. One year ago, we wrote a post about Galway, Connemara and Abbey Castle in the West Coast of Ireland. This time we explored  County Cork. 

Visit Finbarr’s Oratory

The place is located in Cork’s Gougane Barra Forest Park. Situated on the heart of Gougane Barra lake, the chapel is enclosed by Shehy Mountains and woodlands.

Next to the oratory was a former 6th century monastery. You can go to the ruins and see inside the icons showing the Way of the Cross. Behind the cemetery you can find a place to chill and enjoy the view.

The surrounding of the place, give you a bit of the feeling of the Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones movie. When you get inside of the church you can find beautiful stained glass windows and figures behind the altar.

The place is perfect for small wedding ceremony (capacity for 40 seated people).

Would you like get married there?

Take a pint at Cronins Bar and Cafe

After walking around forest park and taking a pictures of St. Finbarr’s Oratory, next to the church you can pop in Cronins Bar and Cafe,  have a drink and get ready for the next journey. This place is owned by an Irish family and this business has been run from generation to generation. The first thing we have noticed is the old pictures right at the entrance.

Second thing we spotted was the banknotes around the wall of the bar. Elodie found a 5,000 ariary note from Madagascar and I found not only current currency of Poland, but also previous currency 100.000 zloty (current 10 zloty) and polish mark during the german occupation.

The bartender shared more insights of their notes; the collection used to belong to her grandma, current owner of the pub.This lady has notes from over 180 countries. In the bar you can try local beers, enjoy the local vibe and listen to Irish music.

Rent a Kayak and discover local lakes and rivers

The best way to explore what the nature has to offer and watch the beauty of county Cork is to rent a kayak. K2 Sports & Leisure -Kayaks, has a really good option to rent kayaks for 2 hours minimum or for full day.

On top of that they are offering  brand new kayaks for 2 people, but can also rent more if you are with bigger group.

You can even take your dog into the kayak if it is not scared. There is an option to schedule pick-up appointment by the lake and drop off in another place, but the kayak must be in the same basin. 

The benefits of renting a kayak is to get to hidden spots, where you can take a rest, do barbecue and spend full day outside. We found several hidden spots where we could chill and appreciate the beauty around us.

Also what is really cool is that you can find sheeps by the lake and come closer to them. Normally when you come to sheeps by the road, they are scared, but when you come to them by kayak they are approachable.

Explore Ballingeary (Irish Village)

If you travel in Ireland, you probably must have noticed that almost everywhere you can speak English. However, there are only few places on west part of Ireland, where Irish is the primary language. One of those places is Ballingeary. The village is located by Shehy Mountains. If you would like to learn Irish you can join an active Irish-language summer school, called Coláiste na Mumhan (The College of Munster), located in the village. Thomas MacDonagh (Irish Politician, Poet) attended this school in summer 1906. 

You can walk around the village and find beautiful regional cottages and practise your Irish language.

Take a tour Buffalo Mozzarella Farm and try Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese

Have you ever heard of Irish mozzarella cheese or have you ever tried? If the answer of our question is no, for sure you need to check out this place. Let us share the story. In October 2009, Johnny (Irish farmer) imported 31 buffalos from Italy and was the first milking herd of Buffalo in county Cork.

He now has a herd of over 200 animals on his 150 acres farm based in Cill na Martra and the animals are thriving in the Irish environment.  Few years later, Johnny has set up his own company Macroom Buffalo Cheese Products Ltd and is now producing cheese in a new state of the art production facility on the farm. The main secrets of Buffalo Mozzarella cheese is that Buffalos are raised outdoor and Macroom buffalo Mozzarella is made of fresh Buffalo milk produced on the farm which is turned into cheese and dispatched that same day. 

The cheese won several important awards such as Word Cheese Awards, Great Taste 2018 etc.

You can take a tour with farm guide Dorothy.

During tour you can see the young calves  and milking parlour. The tour ends with the taste of places prepared by Dorothy. You can also buy some souvenirs such as T-Shirts, kitchen apron etc. Dorothy normally is offering tours only for groups.

The minimum people required is 6. You can also do the Exclusive Irish Buffalo Farm Tour Experience with special Breakfast or Supper Menu. If you are not in a group and you are not interested in Exclusive tour, from time to time Dorothy is organising open Saturdays for families and friends. Check the website when is the next event. 

If you really want to discover the  real Ireland, these places are for you. The area is the cherry on the cake, if you’ve already been to Killarney, Connemara or visited Cork and Blarney Castle.

Have you ever visited this area? If yes, feel free to add some interesting places feel free to add them in the comment section below. We will definitely get back to county Cork and try your suggestions.

Travel Tips:

  • Renting a car is a must (there is only 1 bus per week),
  • K2 Sports & Leisure -Kayaks– They are taking booking via phone or facebook, but they are not accepting card (cash only),
  • Buffalo Farm Tours accept cards, if you want to book a tour you need to do it online.