Biographies and images of artists appearing at our latest festival
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Located on the Wild Atlantic Way, overlooking Bantry Bay in the heart of West Cork, our Bantry home is a thriving market town, situated at the head of Bantry Bay and surrounded by some of Ireland’s most stunning country side with drives and walks that will take your breath away.
It is set within a magnificent landscape which has inspired its own language, literature, art and song – and is an ideal place for visitors to discover Ireland’s wild, west coast. The town is also host to the Friday market which sees a wide variety of market stalls selling West Cork’s finest local foods, antiques, art, crafts and livestock.
The majestic Bantry House, home since 1739 to the White family, the former Earl of Bantry, overlooks the harbour with its beautiful gardens reaching down towards the shore.
The town is an important economic centre to the region. Apart from tourism, fishing is one of the main industries. Mussels in particular are harvested in the area.
West Cork Map 24 (old series) – ordnance survey
Ireland South Sheet No 4 – ordnance survey
Discovery Series no’s 84, 85, 88 & 89 – ordnance survey
Discover Ireland is operated by Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, and features comprehensive information and listings for Irish accommodation, activities, events, tourist attractions and Irish holiday special offers.
The Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way is the world’s longest defined coastal touring route. From Malin Head in County Donegal, the country’s most northerly point, to Mizen Head in County Cork, the most southerly point, the route weaves and winds across 2,500km of beautiful coastline. The Wild Atlantic Way website is the route’s official tourism information source and is operated by Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority.
Tourism Ireland is responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a holiday and business tourism destination.
Bantry Tourist Office
The Old Courthouse, The Square, Bantry, Co. Cork
353 (0)27 50229
Cork Tourist Office
125 St Patrick’s St, Centre, Cork, T12 AE81
1850 230 330
The Wild Atlantic Way leads visitors through one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes. It runs along the entire west coast of Ireland, from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal to Kinsale in our own County Cork. This is where land and sea collide, a place to experience nature at its wildest, scenery at its most breathtaking and events which will remain in the memory forever.
From Kerry, the Wild Atlantic Way segues into West Cork in a dramatic explosion of islands and jutting peninsulas. From megalithic stone circles and bardic schools to Bantry House, you can trace every stage of Ireland’s rich history here. A few miles away, at the head of the Sheep’s Head, is Durrus, one of the key staging posts on the Wild Atlantic Way. This peninsula is so spectacular it has been recognised as a European Destination of Excellence: a modern Eden.
St Finbarr’s Oratory at Gougane Barra marks the site of an early Christian settlement, while Carriganass Castle, in Kealkil, is a key staging post in the famous Flight of the Earls. Nestling in the heart of Bantry Bay is Whiddy Island. It has an intriguing history: gun batteries were built there in Napoleonic times and it was the site of a US naval air station during the First World War. Garnish Island is renowned for its spectacular gardens and lies a short ferry trip from Glengarriff. Visit Seal Island on your way to Garnish and see the large colony of harbour seals.
On the other side of Bantry Bay lies the remote Beara Peninsula which is dominated by the Caha Mountains and offers views of the distant Skellig Islands. It boasts the highest waterfall in Ireland and Britain as well as one of the oldest mythological antiquities, Cailleach Beara. The Allihies Copper Mines are so deep that they go under the sea and the Dursey Island cable car is the only one to carry people over open water in Europe.
From walking to stone-carving, kayaking to visiting a working blacksmith’s forge, there is much to do in this region, which is also renowned for its wonderful artisan food.
The Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500 km scenic driving route along the entire west coast of Ireland, runs from Donegal in the north to Cork in the south.
WAW video here – www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCFJYj8RnSc
You’ll find more information on the Wild Atlantic Way at www.discoverireland.ie/wild-atlantic-way
West Cork Music is our management company. It was established in 1995 and has grown from a small voluntary organisation to a company which is dedicated to bringing the highest calibre of musical experience to Ireland. We promote the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, now in its 21st year, which has become one of the leading chamber music events in Europe, attracting local, national and international audiences alike. We also organise the West Cork Literary and Masters of Tradition festivals and educational activities as part of our Festivals and through the music-in-schools programme, ‘Tuning Up’, in partnership with Cork County Council, visiting 50 schools throughout the county each year.
Our commitment to excellence and distinctive West Cork identity have secured us a special place in the Irish cultural landscape.
There is a wide choice of accommodation in the region – Manor House Hotels and Hotels, Lodges and Guesthouses, Bed & Breakfasts and Farmhouses. To explore your options, browse our Fáilte Ireland-approved listings ( link to WCM’s where to stay page) or see the Co Cork listings at Discover Ireland ( link to www.discoverireland.ie/accommodation) .
If you’re having trouble finding accommodation our local Tourist Information Office ( link to https://www.bantry.ie/) will be delighted to help you.
You can also find out more about our local area and things to do on our own Tourist Information ( link to WCM’s what to do page).
Written suggestions are easiest for us to follow up on. You can write to us at West Cork Music, 13 Glengarriff Rd, Bantry, Co Cork, or email us.
If you’ve any suggestions while you’re attending our festival, look out for our surveyors. Every year we ask our audience for feedback and suggestions – and our surveyors will provide you with a form designed with that in mind.
You’ll find our terms and conditions on our Booking pages ( link to booking page) – with all the other information you’ll need to know about booking.
Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, Bantry is approximately 90 km west of Cork City.
If you are unsure of travel directions please get in touch ( email@example.com) – we are more than happy to help you to get to this beautiful part of Ireland.
GPS: Latitude : 51.680563 | Longitude : -9.448771
Bantry on Google Maps
Bantry is along the N71 between Glengariff and Ballydehob.
– From Cork (via N71): Approx 90 km or 1 hr – 1 ¼ hr drive
– From Dublin (via M7 & M8): Approx 285 km or 4 hr drive
– From Limerick (via N20): Approx 180 km or 3 hr drive.
– Cork Airport is located just outside Cork city centre, approx 90 km or 1 hr – 1 ¼ hr drive from Bantry.
– Kerry Airport is located just outside Killarney, approx 75km or 1 ¼ hr drive from Bantry
– Shannon Airport is located in County Clare, approx 180 kms or 2 ¾ hr drive from Bantry
– Dublin Airport is located just outside Dublin, approx 348 km, 3 ¾ hr drive from Bantry
Contact George Plant Minibus & Taxi Services who provides private transport services for the West Cork/South East Kerry Region.
+353 (0)27 50654
+353 (0)86 239 8123
Cork City is served by a mainline rail terminal (Kent Station), however, there is no train connection to Bantry.
Visit Irish Rail website for more information.
Bus Éireann offers a regular service from Cork (Bus Aras) at Parnell Square, with a special express service during the summer months, connecting to Kenmare and Killarney.
You can view timetables and buy tickets from their site.
Bantry House and Garden is a stately home situated on the Wild Atlantic Way overlooking Bantry Bay in the south west of Ireland and is one of the venues for West Cork Music’s three festivals. It houses an important private collection of furniture and objects of art. It has been home to the White family since 1739 and was open to the public in 1946. Today visitors can explore the house and formal garden, have tea in the tearoom or even stay the night in the B&B located in the East Wing. The estate is unique since it is still lived in and managed by the family.
Bantry has a series of way-marked walks set up by Bantry Tidy towns group in 2010. The aim is to take walkers on a tour of many of the heritage points of interest in and around the town. The walks vary from 2.5m to 5km plus, but they can be linked together to form a walk of more than 20km.
Most of the walks use pavements, paths and small roads so are suitable for all the family. For the more adventurous there is the possibility of striking out across the peak of Knocknaveagh, which provides stunning views over the town and bay. The walks are complemented by a series of interpretative boards erected by Bantry Tourism, Fáilte Ireland and Cork County Council.
Bantry Heritage Walks details are available here A Bantry Heritage Walks guide is also available free of charge from Bantry Tourist Office.
Bantry House is the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry, still lived in by their descendants Brigitte Shelswell-White and her family. Since 1946 the house containing its important collection of furniture, tapestries and objets d’art has been open to the public. Bantry House is one of the main venues used by West Cork Music’s three festivals.
Bantry Harbour Marina
We are delighted that the new Bantry Harbour Marina is now open for local and visiting boats to enjoy.Find out more here
Bantry Bay Boat Hire
Self-drive power boat hire, no experience required. Fancy exploring the beautiful Bantry Bay? Come and glide along the waters of the Wild Atlantic Way!
Provides skippered Half-Day and Day sails on a luxury Hallberg-Rassy from Ahakista on the Sheep’s Head peninsula.
Cinemax Bantry – 3-Screen Cinema
Bantry Bay Golf Club, 2km from Bantry on the N71 to Glengarriff is a demanding 18 hole course, designed by Christy O’Connor, Jnr. (Length 5910m. Par 71). Near-by is a Pitch & Putt Course. There are 3 more 18-hole courses within a 20 mile radius and 9-hole golf courses at Glengarriff & Castletownbere.
Whiddy Island & Whiddy Ferry
Truly an island paradise – Whiddy is a small haven of peace and tranquillity.
A small island, approximately 3 miles long x 1.5 miles wide & nestling in the sheltered heart of Bantry Bay, off the coast of West Cork, Ireland.
The Bantry Bay area is rich in sites of historical and archeological interest, from wedge tombs, which are thousands of years old, to those of more recet origin. The area is dotted with stone circles, alignments and galluns. Kilnaruane Pillar Stone, Kealkil Stone Circle, Breenymore Megalithes and Ahakista Stone Circle are among those nearest to Bantry. Leaflets and maps are available at Bantry Tourist Information Office or Bookstores.
There are 2 Walks recognised by the National Waymarked Ways Committee in the Bantry area, namely Sheep’s Head Way and Beara Way. The Sheep’s Head Way is an 88km route which circles the whole of the Sheep’s Head from Bantry to Sheep’s Head at the end of the peninsula and back through Kilcrohane, Ahakista and Durrus.
The guide book and map of the Sheep’s Head Way is available at the Tourist Office and local shops. The Beara Way is about 165km stretching from Kenmare to Glengarriff, west to Dursey and back to Kenmare on the north side of the peninsula. There are numerous loops for those who just want a short circular walk in scenic surroundings.
Visit The Sheep’s Head Way on Ireland’s Atlantic coastline and you’ll find an unspoilt natural landscape so beautiful it’s been recognised as a European Destination of Excellence: a kind of modern Eden.
The West Cork Garden Trail has welcomed thousands of visitors to some of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland since 1994.
The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s first long-distance touring route, stretching along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork. Bantry is situated in a key position along the southerly end of this route.
Click below to download pdfs of sample itineraries.
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