Ard Na Greine stands on a wonderful rural location on the outskirts of the vibrant town of Clonakilty, West Cork, Ireland. It is a large comfortable house with unspoilt views of the countryside. Blessed with great scenery and close to many fine beaches stretching from Kinsale to the Beara Peninsula. It draws people who want to see an Ireland of small communities, majestic nature and that special magic that is fed by her soft rains, ancient traditions and generous geography. Although set in the quite and tranquil countryside of West Cork, we are accessible from all major airports and ports, and provide an excellent base from which to tour the region.

 

Clonakilty

Fondly known by locals as “Clon", charming Clonakilty will steal your heart away with its colourful traditional shop fronts and blooming flowers and plants providing a splash of colour along narrow bustling streets.

Clonakilty is known as the "beach centre of West Cork" due to the miles of sandy beaches, coves and inlets nearby, including the Blue Flag Inchydoney beach. It has been designated an Irish Heritage town and boasts many awards including Tidy Town's and Entente Florale. It is also the first official Fair Trade Town in Ireland.

Steeping in history check out the Clonakilty Museum with its display of memorabillia celebrating the life of The Big Fella, Michael Collins. Or journey back in time to the 1940's on a visit to the West Cork Model Railway village & Interpretive Centre, overlooking Clonakilty Bay on the coast road to Inchydoney beach.

All aboard the The Choo Choo train for rides from the Model village around Clonakilty town or Inchydoney Island.

A walk around The Lisselan Estate and its spectacular gardens will leave you spellbound. Keen anglers can get hooked on a salmon and sea trout fishing on the best private stretches of the River Argideen. The Henry Ford ancestral site is located here, with a number of vintage Ford vehicles on display.

Those looking for some water sport action try surfing, swimming, horse riding, cycling, walking, golf or tennis. And you must have your fill of amazing local food including the world renowned Clonakilty Black Pudding.

 

West Cork - "A Place Apart"

It's no wonder they call West Cork “A Place Apart”. Nature sets the pace in this beautiful south west corner of Ireland – stretching from smart south-coast Kinsale to three rugged westerly peninsulas reaching into the wild Atlantic: Mizen Head, Sheep’s Head and Beara.

West Cork is the place many head for – leaving hurried city lives behind to play along the long zig-zagging coastline, and walk or ride through peaceful inland woods and valleys.

Hundreds of inlets, tiny coves, safe harbours and beaches are just right for long active days in the salty air – learning to sail, surfing, diving, whale watching, island-hopping, bird spotting, kayaking on a salt-water lake in the moonlight, messing about in boats. Or simply eating a fresh crab sandwich on a quayside.

Thanks to its gentle and generous nature, this corner has a wonderful food culture. West Cork’s farmers, award-winning artisan producers and chefs are leading Ireland’s culinary revolution. From traditional pubs to world-class restaurants, at local farmers’ markets, and long-established food festivals, you can enjoy great food right across West Cork.

There’s something restorative about the temperate climate and sub-tropical gardens, the tranquil lanes thick with fuchsia and montbretia, the sudden glimpses of water through the trees, the shifting light, and the soft greens, greys and violets of bays and distant mountains.

There’s edge-of-the-world drama too: climbing up to a mountain pass through ever-changing weather, crossing the bridge to the end of Mizen Head with the Atlantic crashing below, or taking the cable car to Dursey Island - one of over a hundred West Cork islands. Seven of these are inhabited, including Ireland’s most southerly community on Oiléan Chléire (Cape Clear) “the storytellers’ island”, where Irish is spoken as a first language, and there’s an independent way of life.

Beyond Cape Clear, the imposing Fastnet Lighthouse stands on a rock known as Ireland’s tear drop – for emigrants to the new world, this was their last sight of their native land. The whole coast echoes with history – ancient sites, ruined castles, coastal forts, copper mines. Cork is proudly ‘the rebel county’ and it was here, at Clonakilty, that Michael Collins – ‘the Big Fella’ – was brought up. He died at Béal na mBláth.

West Cork is both very Irish, and quite cosmopolitan – for many have ‘blown-in’ on the winds and stayed to make this beautiful place their home. There’s a strong creative community here. Arts and crafts, storytelling and traditional music thrive – as do scores of cultural festivals.

People here value the good things in life. It feels warm-hearted and kind. It’s a place that takes its time and helps us to slow down … It’s A Place Apart.