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