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2020 Concerts


The Lir Quartet
Sunday 29 March, 3 pm, Myross Wood House, Leap
John O’Conor – piano
Friday 5 June, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
The West Cork Choral Singers
Saturday 20 June, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
Thursday 16 July, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
Jerry Creedon and Friends
Thursday 23 July, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
Emma Bunting – piano & Stephen Ashmore-Blakely – narrator
Thursday 30 July, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
The Famous Moynihan Family
Thursday 6 August, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
Arthur Greene – organ
Thursday 13 August, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
Sharon Carthy –  mezzo soprano, Jonathan Ware – piano
Thursday 27 August, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
Hannah Ely – soprano, Harry Buckoke – viola da gamba
Sunday 6 September, 8 pm, Christ Church, Glandore
The Vanbrugh with Michael McHale – piano
Sunday 27 September, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend
Musici Ireland Sextet
Saturday 28 November, 7 pm, Abbeystrewry Church, Skibbereen

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Cahal Masterson – piano

Friday 17 April, 8 pm, St. Barrahane’s Church, Castletownshend Cahal Masterson – piano. Competitor in the International Dublin Piano Competition and pupil of John O’Conor
Tickets €20, online, at the door, at Thornhill Electrical, Skibbereen or text/call 086 226 4797

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The thriving town of Skibbereen is the capital of West Cork, centre for all the agricultural, industrial and tourist activities of a wide region.

Skibbereen located on the bank of the River Ilen is the ‘hub’ of West Cork, it is the ideal base from which to discover the choice of beautiful fishing villages – all within 10-15 minutes’ drive. Mizen Head, Baltimore, Glandore, Union Hall, Ballydehob and Castletownshend – all quaint and remarkably unspoilt. There is also Carberys Hundred Isles, some of the islands such as Sherkin and Cape Clear just minutes by boat from Baltimore in West Cork.

Skibbereen is situated just 1hr 20 minutes from Cork or 2hrs from Kerry.
Skibbereen things to see and do:
Skibbereen Heritage Centre located in the restored Old Gasworks Building riverside in Skibbereen town is where you will find a number of interesting Exhibitions including, The Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition and The Lough Hyne Interpretative Centre.
Follow the Skibbereen Trail, a historical walking tour of old Skibbereen and visit sites which have direct links with the Great Famine. Include the West Cork Art Centre, a focus for many of the activities of local artists, craftspeople and writers who have come to live in this area.
In the immediate area, there is an 18-hole golf course, game and sea angling, coarse fishing, walking and cycling, scuba diving and sites of international archaeological interest. Experience on a boat trip some of West Cork’s now renowned sea life activity Dolphins, Whales and more, who seem to favour our Irish waters. Also nearby is Lough Hyne, Irelands first Marine Nature Reserve.

How to find Lough Hyne
Lough Hyne can be found just a 10 minute drive from Skibbereen town centre. Wonderful to explore in all weathers but particularly on a fine day. The area is popular for Kayaking, Snorkelling, exploring the Marine Life, swimming, forest, road walking and more. From Skibbereen town centre you will follow the N71, then 2nd exit at the roundabout following the R595 and at the next roundabout again take the 2nd exit and then the next left, slight right, left again at arrive at Lough Hyne West Cork.
Find out about the history, folklore and formation of this renowned natural phenomenon at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. But Skibbereen, the town, has more to offer. When the Irish Famine took its toll in the mid 1800’s, the town of Skibbereen was one of the worst affected in all of Ireland, a fact testified by the mass graves at Abbeystrewry, where almost 10,000 are buried. This era is remembered in The Great Famine Exhibition at Skibbereen Heritage Centre. There are also guided historical tours around Skibbereen so why not explore its history. Skibbereen Festivals include Skibbereen’s annual Carbery Agricultural Show in July. The West Cork Garden Trail is held annually throughout June and you can find local gardens to visit i.e. Pinetree Lodge Garden, Drishane House & Gardens Castletownshend and Glebe Gardens Baltimore.
Cycling in West Cork and the Skibbereen area
There are 3 main routes such as the 3 hour Atlantic Coastal Loop taking in many of West Corks beautiful headlands, the 3 house Baltimore Loop, and around the Lough Hyne area, and finally the Mount Kid Loop a 3 to 4 hour cycle taking in Roaringwater Bay, Mount Kid and back to Skibbereen. If you have not brought your own bicycle you can hire a bike in Skibbereen town and away you go. Cool off at the local Tragumna Beach for all those swimmers and paddlers. Drive up to Toe Head and take in some wonderful views.

Skibbereen’s Farmers Market held every Saturday morning in Skibbereen’s town centre is a delight, where you can purchase local produce such as fruit, vegetables and herbs, freshly baked breads and cakes, local West Cork Honey, cheeses (such as the well-known award winning Gubbeen Cheese) and organic meats, and locally caught fish, what could be better, and local crafts such as Bog Wood Sculptures, Hand Crafted Furniture from Irish Timber and Local Pottery.

With 26 pubs in the town and award winning restaurants scattered all around, there is also plenty to do in the evening. Skibbereen truly offers the visitor an a la carte menu, with something for everyone’s taste – great places to visit, superb shopping, boating, cycling, whale watching, rowing, not to mention the famous Olympian rowing local stars the O’Donovan brothers, excellent accommodation, a wide selection of Skibbereen pubs and restaurants and that relaxed atmosphere that has made West Cork famous throughout the world.
Local towns, villages and islands close to Skibbereen:
Union Hall
Sherkin Island accessed by boat from Baltimore
Cape Clear Island accessed by boat from Baltimore
Heir Island accessed by boat from Castletownbere
Long Island accessed by boat from Schull

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Union Hall

Nearly hidden in its own harbour, this small port of Union Hall has always had a strong seafaring tradition and now provides a safe shelter for its own active fishing fleet as well as anchorage to pleasure boats, and calm water for skiing, diving and canoeing.

The new causeway leading into the village creates a natural lagoon and the sweep of homes and shops surrounding it lend a vision of brightly coloured ribbons on the water’s surface.

A left turn off the causeway leads to Keelbeg Pier. Depending on the season, angling and deep-sea fishing are popular and many return year after year to enjoy the bounty of the sport.

Boat hire for visiting some of the off shore Islands is available locally, and the entire village and surrounds offer choice for a leisurely stroll or a serious hike. Union Hall is a remarkably Irish village with its roots steeped in history. Archaeological remains dot the area. Castle ruins and forts can be searched out, and a Holy Well dedicated to St. Brigid remains a yearly pilgrimage made by many devotees on the first day of February.

Drombeg Stone Circle is only a short distance from Glandore. In latter times the village had its share of admirers, and in the 1700’s was lauded by the great patriot dean of Ireland, Jonathan Swift. More recently it was chosen by the director / producer Lord David Puttnam as the venue for one of his latest films “War of The Buttons.”

There are two provision shops, a craft shop, a knitwear shop, a bureau de change / post office, numerous B&B’s and an excellent hostel built in the old stone schoolhouse which also plays host to Sunday evening Traditional music sessions featuring some of Ireland’s top talents, tapas and wine. Good craic and entertainment are the norm at the local pubs and the Union Hall Festival is held yearly in June, featuring games and water sports of all kinds.

Union Hall is just one hour’s drive from Cork taking the N71 you will be driving through Innishannon, Ballinascarty, Clonakilty and Rosscarbery . Union Hall is a very peaceful town in West Cork, a great place to enjoy some walks such as a stroll along Tra Lan Beach Walk and a one hour walk in Rineen Wood Walk. Enjoy the Beaches and Coves in Union Hall such as Keelbeg Strand and The Cusheen out by the Reen Pier, and the beach at Carrigillihy.

While you are staying in Union Hall why not enjoy a visit to Skibbereen and the beautiful area of Lough Hyne, travel on to Castletownshend of Somerville and Ross history, and on to the seaside town of Baltimore for some Whale and Dolphin watching and the lovely Ballydehob.

Likewise, a drive into Bantry town is just 40 minutes from Union Hall, where you can enjoy some shopping and a visit to Bantry House afterwards, or take in some of the wonderful walks in Bantry and its surrounding areas including the Sheep’s Head Peninsula walk, the Knocknaveagh and Vaughan’s Pass walk starting from Bantry town square and the Abbey and Rope Walk Loop. Union Hall offers lots of water based activities such as Kayaking, and Sailing.

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Friends of St Barrahane’s Music

Finola & Denis Quinlan
Anne Fleischmann
Adam Gadd
Thea & Hans Ekker
Brita & Thomas Drewes
4 anonymous donors


€100 entitles a Friend to reserve two seats (24 hour notification required and tickets also have to be purchased).
€150 per couple entitles Friends to reserve four seats (24 hour notification required and tickets also have to be purchased).
Friend’s names will be listed on our concert programmes and also on our website, unless otherwise instructed. Subscription is valid for one calendar year.

Please contact us by email or phone if you require more information.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks for your continued support and interest.

Yours sincerely,
Reverend John Ardis, Hon. Chairperson

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Castletownshend village sits on the north side of Castlehaven Harbour in the parish of Castlehaven, which owes its name to the castle that protects the haven. Anciently it was called Glanbarrahane, named from a deep rocky glen dedicated to St. Barrahane, a local 5th century hermit saint.

The attractive village of Castletownshend is situated on the coast about 8km from Skibbereen. The village developed around the castle, which was built in the mid 1600s by the Townshends and is the seat of the family. The steeply inclined main street runs down to the castle, the quayside and the harbour

A unique feature of Castletownshend is the two sycamore trees growing in the roundabout in the centre of the village. The present sycamores replace two trees planted in the 1800s. There are many buildings around the village of interest, a very pleasing village to explore not forgetting the Castle and local church.

Take time out after the village to make your way to the Knockdrum Stone Fort, a reminder of times past, a rewarding sight along with the views from here, just a half mile out of Castletownshend

Castletownbere has some great walks in West Cork to enjoy such as Dunboy Woods and Bullig Bay Coastal Loop Walks, Eyeries Coastal Loop Walks at Creha Quay and Coastguard Loop walks. The wonderful Sheeps Head Walk and Ahakista Trail take in the beautiful Sheeps Head Peninsula area with the Lighthouse Loop Walk and Poets Way Coastal Walk and nearby the Ardgroom Pulleen Coastal Walk. Walking on Bere Island, an island just off Castletownbere reached by a short ferry journey, is worthwhile to take in the beauty on the island, and walk the Arnakinna, Rerrin and Doonbeg Bere Walking Routes.

If you are looking to explore towns and villages close to Castletownshend you can visit, Skibbereen, Leap, Rosscarbery, Clonakilty or Drimoleague and Bere Island just a short boat trip from Castletownbere

Village Church Saint Barrahane’s Church Castletownshend (Church of Ireland) stands on a hill with wonderful views overlooking the village and it is located close to the castle. It contains beautiful stained glass windows by Harry Clarke and many historic relics and memorials to the families of the village. Of particular note are three large stone tablets, which tell the history of the founding families, many of whose members are buried in the peaceful graveyard attached to the church.

Somerville and Ross Somerville and Ross were the pseudonyms of cousins Dr. Edith Somerville (1858-1949) and Violet Florence Martin, pen name Martin Ross (1862-1915), who wrote a series of humorous novels and short stories. Most of their books were set in a background of West Cork at the turn of the century and told of the experiences of an Irish Resident Magistrate. Their best known writings were first published in 1928 under the title The Irish R.M. Complete and later Experiences of an Irish R.M.

The Irish R.M. and The Real Charlotte were serialised for television in the 1980’s. During their life together the cousins resided at Drishane House on the outskirts of Castletownshend village. Violet Martin died in 1915 from the effects of a riding accident some years earlier. Edith Somerville continued to live at Drishane between her travels abroad until her death in 1949 at an advanced age. Somerville and Ross are buried in the graveyard at the rear of St. Barrahane’s Church, marked by two simple headstones. In the church is the organ Dr. Somerville played for many decades.

Castletownshend has beautiful Pubs for a pre- or after concert drink where you have a good chance of meeting the artists too:

Lil McCarthy’s, intimate, with a beautiful garden

Mary Ann’s Pub & Restaurant, dinner reservation advisable, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36146

For accommodation there are various B&Bs:

The Castle Guesthouse, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36100

Seaview, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36129

Atlantic View, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36440

Sandycove house, Tel.: +353 (0)28-36223

For more information contact:

Skibbereen Tourist Office: Tel.: +353 (0)28-21766, Fax: +353 (0)28-21353

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Glandore or the Irish version, Cuan Dor – Harbour of the Oaks. Due to its location, Glandore was one of the earlier settlements in West Cork. The Norman’s built two castles there in 1215. They were later taken over by the O’Donovan Clan and have been inhabited continuously up to the present day. 

Glandore Harbour is a haven for sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing and fishing. It is home to a very active sailing club, you can watch the local dinghy fleet race in and around Glandore Harbour. A wide choice of angling activities can be enjoyed in the area. Sea angling can be arranged locally with boat owners who are certified by the Department of the Marine.

Glandore is a very pretty village, its great water side setting makes it a very popular port of call for the yachting and boating enthusiasts with some excellent restaurants and hostelries. Offering beautiful views across to Union Hall. Locally you can visit the lovely villages of Union Hall, Leap and Castletownshend.

There are many very attractive local walks available allowing you to experience the beautiful West Cork countryside. Canoeing, cycling and golfing are all available in the area.

Glandore is the ideal place to be on a Summers Day just to stop and take some time to enjoy the view and have a glass of something refreshing or a bit to eat. 

The position of this West Cork village, in the path of the Gulf Stream ensures a mild climate all year round, consequently its flora is diverse and of great interest, as plants are found in bloom here, out of season. The very attractive Church of Ireland (built 1860) with its quaint entrance gate, through the rock is a much photographed feature.

An important event in the development of Glandore began in 1824, with the arrival of James Redmond Barry. He was a very philanthropic landlord, who developed the fishing, got the pier built as well as a boatyard in Union Hall. He established schools to teach fishing and domestic economy. He built a hotel (The Glandore Inn) in 1828 and organised the first Regatta in 1830.

A school was built in 1835 as well as an Agricultural school at the model farm in Ards. Despite his efforts, Glandore was one of the worst hit areas in West Cork, during the Great Famine, losing 45% of its population. William Thompson, the philosopher and one of the first Socialists, is another famous name associated with Glandore.

Glandore village in West Cork is located just over one hours drive from Cork City, so if you are picking up your Car Hire at Cork Airport and planning on touring West Cork, do include Glandore village and then proceed on to the surrounding towns and villages such as Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Baltimore and Ballydehob, Bantry. Durrus and Kilcrohane out on the Sheeps Head Peninsula.

Glandore Harbour Yacht Club is where to go if you are looking for sailing and training in the use of dingies, Keel boats or cruisers, during the Summer months.

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