My Easter in West Cork

Dunworley Beach near Clonakilty Co. Cork

Last Easter weekend I went back to a beautiful part of Ireland known as West Cork. I had gone to attend a medical appointment in Cork city on Maundy Thursday morning. But I had also gone to see my 92 year old mother. Most of the weekend the weather was very sunny and spring-like, until the rain fell on Easter Sunday afternoon.


Later on Thursday I called to my father’s grave that is in the grounds of St. Mary’s church, Leap, the village where my mother lives. After that my husband and I called to his parents’ grave in the Abbey Cemetery in Bantry. This graveyard looks over Bantry Bay and it has a very scenic view.

Later that evening we enjoyed some good conversation with my brother-in-law over a few drinks in The Leap Inn in Leap. Great to catch up with family members.

On Good Friday after attending some of the traditional religious ceremonies with my mother, myself and my husband and our daughter went looking for ancestors graves in the old graveyards in Schull and Dunbeacon. It was sunny but cool and breezy. The scenery was enchanting and the graveyards interesting and peaceful. You could sense the history of those historic graveyards especially when you looked at the many old rocks with no names. Many people were probably buried in these places during the Irish Famine times.

Old Graveyard in Schull with ruins of St Mary’s
Dunbeacon graveyard

We spent the rest of the day with my mother and later on that evening my husband met up with an old friend.

Holy Saturday

On Saturday we headed to Courtmacsherry. Courtmacsherry is a pretty village that lies along an inlet that meets the sea and it is quite historic.

‘What was formerly Timoleague Bay is now known as Courtmacsherry Bay. Timoleague was the head of the navigation and thrived from wharfs built in front of the medieval Priory there until a catastrophic earthquake occurred in Portugal in 1755, causing a tsunami which hit the coasts of Britain and Ireland and dramatically changed the topology. This bay is one example: the inlet was no longer navigable for sea-going vessels up to Timoleague, and new piers and quays were built further to the east, closer to the mouth of the estuary, on the north facing shoreline. The place we now call Courtmacsherry didn’t exist until after this maritime event. However, there was an Abbey in Abbeymahon in the 1200s so people recognised early on how desirable the area was!

The visiting nobility left their mark on Courtmacsherry, not least because their summer residence would become the hotel and the Octagon and the Church of Ireland Church were part of the Estate. The trees that make it so unusual in the area were planted by the Earl of Shannon. The Earl himself and the remarkable Boyle family resided in Courtmacsherry and are linked to many of the buildings that remain.’

‘The first lifeboat was established in Courtmacsherry in 1825 – one of the first to be founded in Ireland. The lifeboat is very central to the life of Courtmacsherry and is very much part of the proud history and tradition of this beautiful seaside village.’

Courtmacsherry Co.Cork

Courtmacsherry Co.Cork

On the way back we took the coastal route back to Clonakilty. We stopped off at Dunworley bay.

‘Dunworly Bay, often spelt Dunworley, takes its name from the ancient Irish name dúna úrluing, which was first recorded in 1260. The name means dúna ‘fort’, and úrluing ‘its open space’, and so ‘the open space of the fort’. This refers to Dunworley Castle which overlooks the bay and the preceding structures that existed there from the stone age.’

‘Chief amongst the sites of interest is the ruin of Dunworley Castle. It was an O’Cowig castle, built on the site of an earlier fort. Later it was appropriated by the Barry Roe clan. The actual castle with its bawn has disappeared and all that remains is a guard tower with traces of a 4-metre long section of the curtain wall that closed off the neck of the promontory. The scant remains are limited and of little interest but what is remarkable is the situation of the fort on the narrow promontory that connects it to the mainland.’

Dunworley Bay

When we got back to Clonakilty we enjoyed a lovely lunch at the Fig and Olive café

Later on that night we all enjoyed a takeaway fish and chips supper at my mother’s house. We got our tasty meal from Ger’s Wild Atlantic Diner in Leap.

Easter Sunday

After attending Easter Sunday Mass, my mother, our daughter and me and my husband went for dinner in The Leap Inn The food was delicious and the service good. We didn’t even touch our Easter eggs for a good while after the meal. The rest of the day was rainy so we just relaxed.

Enjoying dinner at The Leap Inn

On Easter Monday my husband and I headed back home with many lovely memories.

2 thoughts on “My Easter in West Cork”

  1. I love the pictures of your visits to your home area. So glad you could be with your mother and other family members. The last picture, the one of you, was beautiful.

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