We are not experts in writing tourist guides so the following relies heavily on various web guides to give you a feel for what attractions lie in the locality of Ballincurrig. However, we can vouch for the accuracy of the information given even though we’re far too busy to visit most of them often ourselves!


Midleton is a market town with several good restaurants serving fresh local vegetables and fish brought in ‘straight from the sea’, though ideally they would have visited the kitchen first. There is a farmers’ market and a range of gourmet shops.

The Old Midleton Distillery… tours end with a glass of the product. After reading this page you may need several.

Midleton is well-known to whiskey connoisseurs, having had a distillery since the early 1800s. Production continues today in a newer building, but the Old Midleton Distillery houses a heritage centre exhibiting the world’s largest pot still and a working water wheel. There is a restaurant and a tasting room in which Jameson’s Irish Whiskey may be sampled and rare bottles purchased.

Elsewhere, there are historic churches and buildings, such as the grey-stone Midleton College founded in 1696. Rumour has it that Michael Moore was an early pupil.


The fishing village of Ballycotton, standing on a rocky headland jutting into the Atlantic, is the nearest seaside location to Ballincurrig. In the picturesque little harbour, sheltered from the worst of the sea by an island topped with a 19th Century lighthouse, you can hire rods to fish off the quay. Ballycotton is also a centre for deep-sea fishing and boats with experienced captains are available for hire. Inexperienced ones are not such a good idea.

Quaint Ballycotton Harbour, viewed from the hotel, with a traditional Irish JCB in the background.

For those who prefer to let other people catch their fish for them, there are beautiful walks along the cliff path, with constantly shifting sea views. These are ideal both to work up an appetite for dinner in the village hotel or pub or to walk off lunch.


Kinsale and its harbour, which is enclosed on three sides by the town; luckily the fourth leads to the sea.

Kinsale is a picturesque coastal town that in recent years has become known as ‘the fine dining capital of Ireland’ (another triumph for Irish marketing), with a number of good restaurants offering freshly caught fish and seafood and locally produced meat and vegetables. Our particular favourite is Fishy Fishy, which offers bucolic open-air luncheons in summer and is now also open for dinner.

One of the major attractions of Kinsale Old Head is this specially created facility for people that enjoy using a stick to try to knock little white balls into small round holes.

Kinsale is a historic town with narrow streets, quaint bars and shops and interesting old buildings. The coastal scenery is spectacular, from the rugged cliffs at the Old Head of Kinsale to the town’s natural harbour filled with yachts and pleasure craft. Kinsale is a major centre for sailing, deep-sea angling and water-sports of all kinds, also offering harbour cruises and whale and dolphin-watching excursions. The wreck of the Lusitania liner, torpedoed in 1915, rests ten miles out to sea just off the Old Head; clients are asked to settle any outstanding bills before attempting the swim.

Kinsale holds various festivals, including an Arts Week; but, unless you are particularly interested in these, they are probably best avoided as the town gets very busy at these times and parking can be difficult.


Youghal has a lighthouse, a beach, a harbour and the occasional passing drone to photograph them all.

Located on the south coast of Cork where the River Blackwater meets the sea, Youghal has lovely scenery, sandy beaches, restaurants serving excellent local produce and plenty of entertainment. The 13th Century town is partially walled, and guided walks are available around the medieval streets and historic buildings. A particular feature is a clock tower built in 1776.

In summer, the quayside bustles with pleasure boats (some for hire) and yachts; and various trips are available – up the Blackwater by canoe or airboat, or into the bay for fishing or whale and dolphin spotting. Youghal also has a Championship golf course set on the clifftop.


The imposing Lismore Castle, described as ‘built by King John I of England’ – though he probably delegated the actual work to some friendly Irish serfs.

Along the valley east of Fermoy, and nestling (as they say in all the best guide-books) at the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains, lies the riverside heritage town of Lismore. Lismore originated as a monastic settlement, established in the 7th Century by St Carthage, and its colourful past is recalled by the Heritage Centre.

The town has two famous landmarks, St Carthage’s Cathedral, whose spire can be seen from all around, and Lismore Castle, a magnificent building that dates back to the 12th Century. King Henry II ordered his son, John, to build the castle and, along with the Magna Carta (another thing that wasn’t really his idea), it is one of the better legacies of a particularly inept King of England. The castle was later owned by Sir Walter Raleigh, who sold it in an unsuccessful attempt to pay King James I not to execute him for ‘treason’, which doubtless involved promoting the health benefits of tobacco. The castle has lovely gardens that are open to visitors. A short drive from Lismore lie Cappoquin House and Tourin House, both of whose gardens are also worthy of a visit.

The countryside surrounding Lismore offers many outdoor activities, such as fishing for salmon and brown trout in the Blackwater river, several golf courses, horse-riding and delightful walks.


The village of Blarney is famous for its ruined castle, which contains the legendary ‘Stone of Eloquence’ set high up in the battlements. It is said that anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone receives ‘the gift of the gab’. Among those to have benefited from the Stone’s powers are Sir Winston Churchill, Laurel & Hardy (we don’t envy the guide that had to hold on to Hardy) and Mick Jagger; whilst Michael Moore is rigorous in paying a visit before every horse sale. In fact, if you ask Michael after one of his visits he may tell you it was him that gave Sir Winston, Laurel & Hardy and Mick Jagger the idea of going there in the first place.

Kissing the Blarney Stone: Michael demonstrates the correct technique.

As well as the famous stone, the castle has interesting gardens and Blarney is a pretty village with colourfully-painted houses and other attractions such as ‘the Hermit’s Cave’, ‘the Witch’s Kitchen’ and ‘the Wishing Steps’. The legend of the Stone must indeed be true for how else could a humble Cork marketing man have come up with such fancies?


Cobh harbour, with St Colman’s Cathedral in the background. Great care has been taken not to mix up this photo with ones of Waterford or Youghal, which offer similar views of cathedrals with tall spires overlooking harbours.

Cobh is a small port on the south coast of Great Island, one of three islands in Cork Harbour. Its history is tinged with sadness, for it was from Cobh that hundreds of thousands of families sailed for America, providing what must have been the last sight of their homeland for many emigrants; whilst the Titanic made her last stop at Cobh before sailing to disaster in 1912. The haunting remnants of the boarding pier at which the Titanic docked can still be seen today. Finally, over 100 victims of the Lusitania, torpedoed by the Germans just off the Old Head of Kinsale, are buried in Cobh.

The town’s historical events are detailed at its Museum and Heritage Centre. Cobh is not the most elegant of Cork’s seaside towns but it has a pleasant park in which bands frequently play in summer; and there are good restaurants with excellent views over Cork harbour. Just north of Cobh is Fota Island, which contains a large wildlife park.


The historic city of Cork is the second-largest in the Irish Republic but it is relatively compact and so is easily accessible by visitors. Cork originated on an island in the River Lee, which crosses the city in two channels. Tributaries and streams flow here too, with the result that Cork is famous for its bridges as well as its hilly streets and lanes. The 18th century hilltop church of St Anne’s, Shandon, is a major landmark, with a steeple containing eight bells that sightseers are invited to ring.

Cork, Ireland’s second largest city but lovelier than Dublin by far – and also benefiting from the presence of far fewer Dubliners.

Cork is a major port, a busy commercial centre and a university city. It has many galleries, theatres and museums; and, like many Irish towns and cities, it has a programme of festivals for art, music, theatre, film and literature. As would be expected, there are several good restaurants and hotels. For those into self-catering the famous English Market is well worth a visit. Visitors from that country will be delighted to know this has retained its name following Brexit, rather than being renamed ‘the Brussels Market’ as some proposed .

West Cork

The Heron’s Cove Hotel in Gollen. Unfortunately the heron was out fishing when the photograph was taken.

Out to the west of Cork there are many pretty seaside villages, including Clonakilty, ‘the beach centre of West Cork’ (Irish towns do like to have claims to fame, though this is less grandiose than most); Glengariff, set in the mountains; and Bantry, overlooking the famous bay of that name. About as far as you can travel west before reaching the Atlantic lies the little village of Goleen, which contains the Heron’s Cove Hotel (, a homely establishment recommended by one of our clients for its lovely views over the cove and its delicious seafood. However, the heron tends to favour the stream behind the hotel for his fishing expeditions, rather than the cove named after him .


The Rock of Cashel and its medieval ruins, photographed in 1985 so they may be even more ruined these days.

Cashel, in Tipperary, is one of the places you skirt when travelling down from Dublin, and it’s a good place to break the journey. It is, of course, famous for one of Ireland’s most imposing landmarks, the Rock of Cashel, which dates back to the Dark Ages. There is a tale that the Rock originated in a mountain (‘the Devil’s Bit’) 20 miles away but was hurled out by St Patrick, along with Satan himself (who for reasons that have never been revealed was hiding in a cave), landing in Cashel. This ancient legend is believed to owe its origins to a particularly inventive guide needing a story to tell the tourists.

On this imposing limestone outcrop are found a remarkable group of medieval ruins, including a 12th century round tower, high cross and chapel, a 13th century cathedral and a 15th century castle.

Cashel also features a ‘Folk Village’, bringing back olden days with its reconstructions of thatched shops, homes and village trades; a small museum about the 1916 Easter Rising; and the ‘Bru Boru Cultural Centre’, ranged round a village green below the Rock and celebrating traditional music, dance and theatre. There are many opportunities for walking, riding and fishing in the Suir river – but ideally these should not be conducted at the same time.


The waterfront at Waterford, whose name apparently means a ford over the water, with Reginald’s Tower to the left and Christ Church Cathedral (not the one in Oxford) in the background..

Waterford is the oldest city in Ireland, having been founded by the Vikings (who are usually more noted for their expertise in rape and pillage rather than urban development) over 1100 years ago. Today it is a real mixture of old and new. Medieval buildings and little restaurants line the narrow streets of the area known as ‘the Viking Triangle’. At the quayside by the River Suir stands Reginald’s Tower, a circular stone structure housing a museum (which is not believed to have been its original purpose) and reputedly 1,000 years old. Treasures from the city’s long history, fashioned from precious metals, are exhibited at The Granary.

At the same time, Waterford is a modern shopping destination with chic clothing stores, malls, small family shops and craft centres. Most famously, there is the world-renowned Waterford Crystal, which has sadly had its share of business difficulties lately but whose factory and gift shop are well worth a visit. The 800-year-old Waterford Castle, an island hotel, has an 18-hole championship golf course.