Be Our Guest 2018

16 Be Our Guest MIZEN HEAD Located just 8km from Goleen and on the Wild Atlantic Way route, Mizen Head is simply spellbinding. As Ireland’s most south-westerly point, it is home to a signal station that was built in 1910 to save lives off the rocky shoreline. It later became the home of Ireland’s very first radio beacon in 1931. Here, inside the Keeper’s House, you’ll find a dynamic visitor centre that contains a café and gift shop. It also has a navigation aids simulator, displays the geology of the region, tells the story of Marconi in Crookhaven and discusses the lighthouse keepers’ hobbies. Once your tour of the visitor centre is complete, head outside and follow the path down the famous 99 steps and over the arched bridge that looks down upon the gorge. This route will take you to the signal station, which is open to the public. Along the way, there is stunning scenery to be admired, with the possibility of spotting seals, kittiwakes, gannets and choughs, not to mention minke, fin and humpback whales. CHARLES FORT KINSALE This star-shaped military fortress was constructed between 1677 and 1682, during the reign of King Charles II, to protect the town and harbour of Kinsale in County Cork. William Robinson, architect of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham Dublin and Superintendent of Fortifications, is credited with designing the fort. As one of the largest military forts in the country, Charles Fort has been associated with some of the most momentous events in Irish history. These include the Williamite War in 1690 and the Irish Civil War of 1922 - 23. Charles Fort remained garrisoned by the British army until 1922. Visitors are advised to wear suitable footwear due to the uneven terrain. DUNLOUGH CASTLE You would be missing a real treat if you didn’t take the time to visit the magical site of Dunlough Castle while in West Cork. Often referred to as the Three Castle Head, the ruin sits sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and an apparent man-made lake. Home to the O `Mahoney clan, the only route of access is from the south across private farm land. A comfortable 20 minute walk over a series of small hills eventually opens up to the spectacular view of the three castles and lough. SPIKE ISLAND Set sail from Cobh harbour on a short trip to Spike Island, Winner of Europe's Leading Tourist Attraction 2017 at the World Travel Awards. This destination is now regarded as an unmissable stop for any visitor to Cork. The island was originally a site of monastic settlement and then later developed into a military defence point. The turn of the 20th Century saw Spike Island used as a prison, with IRA prisoner Richard Barrett among the prisoners. The facility witnessed riots in the 1980s and eventually closed in 2004. Visitors today can explore the fortress, view Ireland’s largest military gun park, walk the tunnels to the harbour and step inside the infamous Punishment block. The Island also offers memorable views of Cork and Cobh Harbour. Cork`s Beautiful Past