Route Details :
Road Type : Normal
Enjoy some of the most stunning views as you drive to
Irelands most southerly point.
The journey begins on the R592 from the Market town of Skibbereen. One
takes the detour route through the town, via Townsend Street, and follow
the Ilen river along the route to Ballydehob. This refreshing country
route leads to Church Cross, where the view becomes more charming at the
lay-by outside Ballydehob. The sea broadens and Kilcoe castle a rusty
painted edifice is gloriously reflected in the water. As you enter this
village from the east, the twelve-arched bridge to your left dominates
the skyline. This bridge beside the children's playground, was part of
the West Cork Tramway, which ceased to operate in 1947. Ballydehob is
the native village of Dan O'Mahony, who was world wrestling champion in
the 1930's. To continue one's journey to Schull one chooses the road to
the right up past this champion's statue. Schull is a cosmopolitan
village, where various nationalities merge and interact outside it's
pubs and cafe's. Schull can also boast of one of the finest harbours in
the south-west coast. A favourite port of yachtsmen, Schull has also the
only planetarium in the republic. Trips to Cape Clear Island can also be
availed of from here, but let's not forget that we are continuing to
On the way to Schull, Mount Gabriel (1339 feet) dominates the peninsula.
The two huge globes on the summit are part of a European wide air and
sea traffic monitoring system. Mount Gabriel had the oldest worked
copper mines in north-west Europe dating back to the 17th century B.C.
We head on into the colourful rugged village of Goleen, via the Coast
route, which is the first hill road on the left as one bids farewell to
Schull. As one climbs, no camera could capture the magnificence of the
view as on one's right one overlooks patchworks of grassland with cattle
grazing, rocks and trees, interlayered between the azure of the ocean
which stretches to the horizon.
When one descends from this intoxicating vista, one rejoins and turns
left on the main level road from Schull to Goleen. The flora along this
roadside is pretty impressive with reeds, bracken, gorse, daisies
ragwort etc. The rushy lakeside outside the hillside village of Goleen
is a pleasant sight. One can visit Ballyrisade Strand from here or
continue and regain one's breath in the village. A tree enshrouded aged
Church of Ireland church lies slightly on a height on one's right as one
leaves Goleen to hug the coast all the way to the Mizen.
There is a cul de sac leading to watch towers and a former coastguard
station on one's left, or meander on right past dappled rocks and look
across at the fabulous yachting harbour of Crookhaven. This picturesque
village was chosen for some of the scenes in "I thank a fool" starring
Peter Finch and Susan Hayward. Nor far from the village Marconi sent his
first radio message to America. The ruined station is still visible.
Keeping to one's right one passes by the golden sandy beach at
Barleycove. Then one chooses a high road to the left, to follow along
the high-cliffed peninsula, majestically carved and sculptured by the
Atlantic ocean. Here one reaches the wide car park at the Mizen Head the
most south westerly point in Ireland. since, 1993, the old light house
has been developed as a project known as Mizen Vision. A visitors centre
provides on with historical and local information.
On a fine day the Fastnet Lighthouse can be seen across the way in the
middle of the ocean. While a path past the visitors centre leads to the
lighthouse, one must behave in a responsible manner when descending the
99 steps that lead to the white bridge which crosses the rocky chasm to
the lighthouse. Be particularly vigilant with children especially in
blustery weather, but otherwise enjoy the spectacular views.