Clonakilty was founded by Richard Boyle, Great Earl of Cork in 1588 and is usually flush with colour from the traditional shop fronts to the many flowers and plants blooming along the narrow bustling streets. Close by are Inchydoney Beach, West Cork Model Railway and the small West Cork Museum with many mementos of Clonakilty in bygone times. A number of festivals take place in Clonakilty every year including The West Cork Rally, an International Guitar Festival and the Michael Collins Festival. Music, good food and a bit of craic can be had in the many hostelries in this delightful town.
A long list of restaurants, café’s and bars, all serving the very best of what West Cork has to offer will make sure you are well looked after while the wide range of amenities, leisure activities and attractions will ensure your experience of Clonakilty is truly memorable.
There is so much to see and do in the area that Clonakilty is the perfect hub for all the family.
Michael Collins, one of the great heroes of the 1916-1922 period, was born at Woodfield near here. He was General of the Free State Army, and his dynamic and powerful personality made him a legend in his own lifetime. The Michael Collins Centre commemorates him. The memorial to him at Sam’s Cross was unveiled by General Tom Barry, himself a prominent figure in the Republican Movement. A life size statue of Michael Collins stands on Emmet Square in Clonakilty town.
A statue of Tojo the monkey was erected in the west Cork town, where he and a US Air Force crew made an emergency landing in a war plane in 1943. Tojo, named after the Japanese prime minister of the time, was plied with food and drink – alien to a monkey diet – as the locals welcomed him and the crew into the community. When Tojo died a number of days after their arrival, he was given a traditional Irish wake and funeral with military honours.
Top things to do
The Blue Flag beach at Inchydoney Island, just a few miles from Clonakilty, is renowned not only as one of the most familyfriendly beaches in West Cork but also as one of the most beautiful. Vast expanses of sand and dunes provide excellent surfing conditions.
West Cork Model Railway Village
The West Cork Model Railway Village, Ireland's only Model Village, is a fully scaled handmade model of the historic West Cork Railway Line with fully working trains and the towns that the railway served during the 1940's. Take a spin on the iconic Choo Choo through beautiful Clonakilty. Indoor and outdoor play areas.
Clonakilty Distillery and Visitor Experience
Immerse yourself in the unique sensory experience of a real working distillery by booking a tour of the new Clonakilty Distillery and Visitor Experience. A must see for the growing numbers of Irish whiskey fans or anyone wanting a hands-on experience of a real working distillery in action. Combining world-class visitor facilities, the very best in multi-media presentation technology and knowledgeable expert guides, visitors will experience first-hand the smell, sound, feel and taste of a distillery creating genuine Irish spirits.
Atlantic Whale & Wildlife Tours
When it comes to unique wildlife encounters there are few things as breath-taking and humbling as coming face to face with the world’s largest creatures. Whale watching is one of those activities that comes close to the top of every “100 things to do before you die” bucket list ever compiled.
General Michael Collins
Michael Collins, Clonakilty's most important son, is one of the most significant figures in the creation of the modern Irish State. Visit the Michael Collins Heritage Centre and Michael Collins House in Clonakilty town to learn more. Michael Collins died during Ireland's Civil War at a place called Béal na mBláth in August 1922 - not far from Woodfield, Clonakilty, Co. Cork where he was born just over 31 year earlier.