Skibbereen boasts of being the "Capital of the Carberies". Today it is a thriving commercial town, with a steadily developing reputation as a tourist centre.
This town and its surrounding hinterland was particularly hard hit by the Famine of the late 1840's. Skibbereen Heritage Centre, in the old gasworks building in Upper Bridge Street gives the story of the effects of the Famine on Skibbereen and the surrounding area.
About four kilometers to the west of the town, on N71, are the ruins of a 14th century Cistercian Abbey. The cemetery there contains the Famine Plot, the scene of mass burials during the Famine years.
Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, prominent in Ireland's struggle for independence and founder of the Phoenix Society in 1856 lived in Skibbereen.
The man who raised the National Flag at the G.P.O. in Dublin at the rebellion of 1916 was a Skibbereen man, Gearoid O'Sullivan.
The Heritage Centre in Upper Bridge Street also houses the Lough Hyne Visitor Centre, which gives the history and other details of Ireland's first Marine Nature Reserve. A visit here deepens one's appreciation and enjoyment of a visit to Lough Hyne itself.