LAY OF THE LAND - TOMBOLO will take place at various sites of the tombolo headland at Brow Head, Mizen Peninnsula, West Cork.
Co-ordinates: 51°27'24.1"N 9°45'23.6"W
Ballydehob Petrol Station.
Drinagh Co-op, Lowertown.
Goleen Petrol Pump. (pay in the pub)
VERY DETAILED DIRECTIONS TO BROW HEAD.
(+ a couple of stops along the way)
There are a few routes to Brow Head, and Google Maps will definitely bring you the shortest (albeit slower) road. We recommend you follow the N71
CORK - INISHANNON - BANDON - CLONAKILTY - ROSCARBERY - LEAP - SKIBBEREEN - BALLYDEHOB - SCHULL - GOLEEN - BROW HEAD. (and a few other wee places in between)
The road can be long if you're coming from further afield than Cork City, and this leg out onto the Mizen Peninsula sees plenty of tractors ambling along the road. Hopefully a few little stops along the way will turn the drive into more of a journey. Instead of the trip being a means to an end, we want it to be part of the whole LOTL experience. For those of you who aren't familiar with West Cork, you're in for a treat. And for those who are, you'll have all your own favourite spots I'm sure. Spread the word about the project to anyone you happen across on the way down, everyone is welcome!
Our suggestion is that you bypass Cork and head west as soon as you can, it's not too long a drive, the city can suck time away. But if you need to stop in Cork -
There is a whopper Veggie Falafel Place on Oliver Plunkett Street, In Winthrops Street Arcade called East. Say hi to Jack or Eamonn, and tell them you'll see them at Lay of the Land.
If you're in the mood for something more oriental definitely check out Miyazaki on the bottom of Barracks Street. The Chef behind the place, Takashi, is brilliant and his food is absolutely delicious. There's not much seating, so it's recommended to get take away and eat it along the drive.
Iyer’s is a gorgeous small authentic Indian place on Pope’s Quay, has slightly weird opening times, so good to check ahead. The food is the closest I’ve had to real India. So So SO good.
ROHU's MARKET INISHANNON
Inishannon is only 10 minutes out the road from Cork. Theres a really cute small shed just as you round the corner into Inishannon. Rohu's does a great crab sandwich, and they make their own veggie crisps which are lovely. They have lots of local produce available too.
LONGSTRAND / OWENAHINCHA / ARDFIELD
Follow the signs for Owenahincha once you pass through Clonakilty. You’ll take a left off the main road and drive down to Owenahincha Beach. The beaches along this stretch are really gorgeous, and there’s something so lush about the very very green surrounding hinterland of Ardfield.
THE DOSWEL GALLERY ROSSCARBERY
Roisin runs a gorgeous gallery in Rosscarbery called the Doswell. It’s a quick stop, but the work she shows usually has strong ties to the ocean and land. Currently Showing a group exhibition called SIAR featuring paintings by Kari Cahill.
If you have time to stop for a big fancy lunch….do it! I ate here during the year and it knocked my socks off! Best food I’ve been lucky enough to taste for a long time! Really.
CONNOLLYS OF LEAP
On the right coming into town, as you reach the bottom of the hill.
Stop here. Have a pint. Say hi to Sam. There's a great story behind the place. Definitely stop if you can.
Colm runs a gorgeous cafe on Townsend Street. It’s an old grocers turns cool cafe and the old exposed parts of the wall is a gorgeous touch. The coffee is brilliant - West Cork Coffee Roasters who are my favourite at the moment.
Just past Skibereen there is a total lake. During the last summer months there is phosphorescence on the lake and you can go midnight kayaking. It’s magic. And there’s a feeling that the forest around is full of old celtic mystics and faeries.
THE SKY GARDEN
I wouldn’t bother too much about the Liss Ard Estate, maybe have a tea if you’re parched, but it’s definitely worth going in just for the Sky Garden. James Tyrell build a huge land art sculpture on the grounds. I won’t give anything else away. Often they’ll tell you it’s closed…but go around the back and find a way up through the trees. You’ll have to climb over a fence and barbed wire, but it is so worth it.
BALLYDEHOB - LEVIS' + BUDDS
Levis' is a GREAT pub. Check it out. Used to be run by two very old ladies, who I think lived past 100 and the queen wrote the a letter to say happy birthday and to thank them for the creamy pints of guinness when they passed through a few years before. Now their grandson runs it.
Budds does one of the best coffee down these parts…and brilliant food to boot. The food in Budds is really excellent and alot of veggie and gfree and vegan options too.
You’ll see the mountain with the two golfballs from before Ballyd. If the day is clear, and especially if it’s nearing sunset it’s always worth driving up for a gawk. On a clear day you can see all the way to the ring of Kerry, the coastline moving east and west, and all the wind turbines right up back through cork. The turn off is along the Ballyd Schull Road, just by the Dereenatra Bog. It’s not well sign posted so best to google it.
HACKETTS PUB SCHULL
Stop into Hacketts for one. It’s one of the nicest pubs in the country. The buzz is great, they play live music pretty regularly, and there are always a few interesting people sitting outside on the street enjoying the world passing by.
CONNIE’S HUT (THE BEEHIVE)
Connie loved storms, so much that he built a tiny lookout on a hill overlooking the sea sprinkled with islands. Up above the views of the bay are spectacular and well worth a trip up.
Drive through Schull, until the library, and instead of heading up and out through the village towards golden take a left and head out Barry’s road. Or the Colla road as it’s known locally. Drive past the school and take the next right turn after the graveyard. Then it’s a quick left turn. You’ll start to climb. Pass the Stanley house B&B and keep left. Then as the road diverges stay left again. You’ll pass through an amazing looking house with wooden carved trees and a massive whale bone, you’re going the right way, and then as the road swings up right there will be a smell left hand turn with a very old car with it’s window smashed. Park here and the Beehive is just past. The farmhouse past the gates is private so don’t park in their entrance. If you do see Wally though tell him hello!! He knew connie and knows everything about Schull.
ALTAR WEDGE TOMB
This is one of my favourite spots. It's simple, but special. A tiny lay-by just after Lowertown and right before Toormore. There's a Wedge Tomb, and if the tide is out you can walk out to the rocks and sit on the grass all day long. The water around here is where we harvested our Salt from. ALTAR SALTAR.
As you're driving towards Goleen you'll come to a wee bridge, with a Oska outlet on your right, and marshy land with swans swimming on your left. Then the trees will make a canopy over your head, and everyone will really like it. Halfway along the tree road theres a small turn to your left with a sign for BALLYRISODE Beach. This is the beach where I spent my childhood. The best spot was at the second beach, near the wall. One time a massive Portungese Man of War washed up, and we buried it. If the tide is out you can walk all the way to the boat. This is where we collected the Razor Wrack for the seaweed packs for TOMBOLO.)
BROW HEAD - TOMBOLO SITE
As you pass through Goleen you’ll come to a crossroad at the end of the town, take the left/straight on so you continue along the coast. You’ll watch more islands and ocean and headlands stretch out before you. You’ll round a corner and will be able to see Crookhaven across the Bay. As you come along this road you’ll pass a huge concrete structure stuck into the side of the hill. This is the quarry that built the roads all along the coast of England after the war. It was loaded through chutes down onto barges that travelled across the Irish Sea rather than trying to drive heavy machinery through the chalky landscape of the West Coast of England.
In the centre of the bay is Cockle Beach, when the tide is out you can see a press-like structure. This was a pilchard press, and extracted the oil from the abundantly available pilchard fish. The oil was sent to India to oil the British railroad as India was colonised.
You’ll come to a big caravan park at the end of the road and will begin to double back on the bay to reach Crookhaven. Follow the road around. Just after the turn off the Barley cove there is another turn to your right with a silver statue who looks remarkably like he is dabbing. This is Galley Cove. You can park at the bottom and walk up the hill to Brow Head, or you can drive up the hill via the road on your right.
Once you reach the top, park. Head up through a clearing in the grass up towards the Marconi Tower. This is the place Marconi successfully transmitted his first transatlantic telecommunication to St. John’s in Newfoundland. The concrete slab next to the demolished dwelling is where his electricity pole would have stood.
The Tower was originally built during the French Revolution to warn against invading troops, and to tax ships coming in and out of the Port of Cork. Marconi set up shop next to the Tower and the inside of the now crumbling structures would have been clad in velvet, with entirely mahogany fixtures to absorb sound.
Continue down through the headland and don’t stop until you literally cannot go any further. There is a natural amphitheatre past the old copper miners dwellings, and a long crevasse that brings you along to the cliff edge. The entire headland is a copper ore and you can see the old mines are covered in. It’s said there would have been 3,000 people living on the headland at one time. The rights to the mineral content is owned by a company in the UK who were based out of Crookhaven for some time.
Sit on the edge of the headland as watch as the power of the Atlantic Ocean crashes into the cliffs. The wind will wrap and whirl around you, and you’ll feel all the energy run through you. After that you’ll need a hot mackerel meal, and some blackberry poitin to ground you back down from the wind :)
To the North you will be able to see Barleycove Beach. Rumoured to have been created when an earthquake occurred in Lisbon in 1755 and the tsunami swallowed the south west coast of Ireland. (Jim claims this is complete nonsense) This beach is sandy and expansive, and until the pontoon bridge was built all the Dads had to wade into the river and ferry families and their picnics across overhead. The dunes are gorgeous and there are usually a load of rabbits hopping around. The current can be wild so be careful while swimming.
O’SULLLIVANS PUB CROOKHAVEN
One of the best. Get the Chowder and a Murphy’s. Trad sessions friday and sunday of both weekends. Bring your instrument.
THREE CASTLE HEAD
This one is magic. Don’t leave Barleycove the way you came. Keep going past the carpark and when you get to the junction take a left. DOn’t follow the signs for Mizen Head, keep left. Follow this road along the next peninsula and eventually you’ll come to a little carpark. Walk up the hill and around to Dunlough Castle. The views are breathtaking!