The Heritage Centre

For hotels in West Cork, the West Cork Hotel is ideally situated to take advantage of the many things to do in West Cork including a visit to both Skibbereen Heritage Centre and Lough Hyne Visitor Centre.

Skibbereen Heritage Centre

The Great Famine, 1845-1852, was the defining event in modern Irish history. Over one million people died during the catastrophe while double that number fled the county in a decade. Ireland was irrevocably changed, and the consequences were felt for many decades afterwards. 

West Cork was one of the worst affected areas in all of Ireland and Skibbereen, in particular,  became synonymous with the Great Famine.

The Great Famine Exhibition at Skibbereen Heritage Centre explores this complex period, when misguided policies severely worsened the effects of a natural disaster caused by the failure of the potato crop. This poignant exhibition explores how the poor lived and died through one of the most tragic and traumatic events in Irish history.

We offer a guided tour of the Great Famine Exhibition to groups of over 20 people by pre-arrangement in addition to special rates. Download a guide to the Famine Walk on www.skibbheritage.com

Heritage Centre Skibbereen Genealogy Centre

Lough Hyne

Situated in the beautifully restored Old Gasworks building, Skibbereen Heritage Centre also features an exhibition on Lough Hyne.

Lough Hyne, a small salt-water lake 5km from Skibbereen town, is renowned for its natural beauty and biodiversity. First 'discovered' by marine science in 1886, it is now one of the most-studied marine sites of its size in the world and was designated as Europe's first Marine Nature Reserve in 1981. As well as its unique natural heritage, it is an area steeped in history and folklore and a glorious place to visit. Follow Knockomagh Hill Nature Trail, which overlooks the lake, to enjoy one of the prettiest views in West Cork. Download a guide to the trail on www.skibbheritage.com

Lough Hyne Skibbereen
Genealogy Service and more

Skibbereen Heritage Centre also offers a genealogy West Cork service for the greater West Cork area. In-house genealogist, Margaret Murphy, has access to a database of over 250,000 family history records. Over the years, Margaret has built up considerable local expertise and loves to share this with visitors to the Centre, or by email on skibbheritage1@gmail.com

Skibbereen Heritage Centre also features an archaeology trail of the Skibbereen area, displays on species living on the River Ilen, a small gift shop and - always - a really great welcome!

www.skibbheritage.com for databases on local graveyards and other genealogy sources