When deciding on places to stay in Skibbereen choose the West Cork Hotel, we will be on hand to guide you on the best nearby walks, hikes and trails.
The West Cork Hotel is delighted to have as its expert and guide, local author David Ross, whose resourceful, well-researched book "A guide to The Sheep’s Head Way – Eastern Routes’’ has become the definitive guide to walks in the area.
Walking in West CorkCopies of David’s beautiful, 120-page pocket book with detailed maps, folklore and history can be purchased at the hotel for just €5. David has ensured that the walks featured n his book are well marked, so that people can be self-guided (with the aid of the book in hand). However, under his tutelage, local guides, well versed in the history and folklore of the area, are also available to take small groups for long or short hikes. And David himself, will, by prior arrangement, lead both amateur and experienced groups of walkers through some of the area’s lesser known paths.
In the mean-time, here is a taste of what the author has written:
"As the Ilen River meanders past your window at the West Cork Hotel you may be wondering, idly, how far it is to the river’s source in the hills, and whether those hills offer worthwhile walks? As it happens, the hills in question form the backdrop of a unique network of six wonderful walks, covering an area of nine miles, which have been developed north of the village of Drimoleague, just 8 miles from the West Cork Hotel.
The nine miles of walks, two-thirds of which are on private lands, follow the Ilen River valley to its source beyond Castledonovan. The six walks vary from 40 minutes to five hours in length. They comprise unspoilt riverbank; native Irish woodland, and edge- of- field walks with a new vista at every turn. There are long stretches of hill and valley walks with views out to sea; a unique Alpaca Farm walk; and a national loop walk, lasting two hours, which guides you through the fascinating heritage of Drimoleague and its environs. The walks are part of the Sheep’s Head Way: Eastern Routes. Once you get on this Way at Drimoleague, you can walk all the of 60km to the Sheep’s Head lighthouse ,or you could take the 37km ancient pilgrim walk of St Finbarr, and end up at his island hermitage of Gougane Barra. Once upon a time, Drimoleague was best known as an important railway junction of West Cork, with no less than three platforms. Now , in more leisurely times, the village has become known as “the Walker’s Junction of West Cork"
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of this. Or contact our west cork accommodation reception
(It is also worth remembering that the West Cork Hotel can provide picnics for guests of the hotel who are following David’s routes).
Drimoleague Heritage Loop
An energetic national loop walk combining village landscape, hilltop panorama, woodland and riverbank. Start at Drimoleague Railway Yard.
Moyny Bridge Walk. A pleasant walk along the banks of the Ilen River, with some lovely views on your return journey. Starting point is Drimoleague Railway Yard
A long countryside walk in a beautiful natural environment. Start at Moyny Bridge and continue westwards to Glandarta Bridge.
Gentle countryside and hill walk with beautiful views. Discover Captain Francis O'Neill's history and other local folklore along the way..
Deelish Cascades Walk
Leaving Castledonovan Bridge, walk the old ‘mass path’ along the banks of the Ilen, with its cascades, cliffs and patchwork field systems providing a splendid backdrop.
A gentle 1k stroll with a chance to meet the alpacas – and the perfect walk for all the family. Start at the car park at Castledonovan Bridge.
A spectacular , though energetic, walk from Casteldonovan to the top of the mountain, where you can see almost the entire West Cork coast.
Mealagh Valley Walk
Starting near Coomanore Lough, the Mullaghmesha to Kealkill walk offers breathtaking views, plentiful history and heritage.
An invigorating walk on old bog road, valley and ridge with Loch Bofinna near its end. Starting at Coomanore point near the Lough.
St Finbarr's Pilgrimage
Stretching from the Top of the Rock, Drimoleague, to Gougane Barra, at a distance of 37km, this 2-day walk follows in the footsteps of St Finbarr who visited Drimoleague in the 6th century. The walk passes through Kealkill, taking in part of the Carriganass walk on the way. The walk is challenging in places, and is recommended only for experienced walkers.