A travel writer is reputed to have written, accurately if somewhat inelegantly, that Bantry was 'tucked up into the crotch of two peninsulas' One of those peninsulas is the Bear Peninsula; the other is the Muintivara Peninsula, whose Goats Path affords some really spectacular views of Bantry Bay. Bantry is a go-ahead modern town. Bantry Bay played host to a French fleet on two occasions in the space of little more than one hundred years. The first came in 1689 to support James II against William of Orange. The second came in 1796 to support Wolfe Tone's planned insurrection. Severe weather and poor leadership rendered this expedition a total failure.
The jewel of Bantry is, without doubt, Bantry House, for generations the seat of the Earls of Bantry. This magnificent house, in a stunning location overlooking Bantry Bay and Whiddy Island is a treasure-house of magnificent furniture and object d'art collected from all over the world. It is open to the public. Anexhibition centre has been developed in the courtyard of Bantry House in recent years. It gives the story of the failed French expedition if 1796. If you wish to get an excellent view of Bantry, its bay and surrounding countryside, drive past the Catholic church and climb Seskin. At the summit there is a lay-by from which to view the spectacular countryside.