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Lough Hyne
  Countryside drive to Europe's only inland sea-lake, with a choice of walks and hikes...

    Route Details : 50Km

     Road Type : Normal

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  • We begin and end our tour at Rosscarbery.  Take N71 to Skibbereen.  After a few kilometers you will notice dark mounds on either side of the road. This is the debris of the Bendubh slate quarry which is no longer in operation.  Most of the old houses and public buildings in West Cork have roofs of slate was quarried here.

  • The first village - a crossroads, really - that we come to is Connonagh.  It was a staging post for the Bianconi horse-drawn carriages' here the teams of horses were changed.

  • The little village of Leap (pronounced Lep) gets its name from a legend that a local chieftain, named O'Donovan, leaped a gorge on horseback to avoid pursuit by British soldiers.  (The Irish name of the village is Leim Ui Dhonnabhain, which translates as O'Donovan's Leap).  What is left of the gorge is to your left as your exit the village.

  • Beyond Leap on your right is Sreelane Lske, Shepperton, noted for its trout-fishing.

  • At Skibbereen, 19k from Rosscarbery follow the town's one-way system to the roundabout, and at that take the exit directly across the roundabout from you, R595, the road to Baltimore.

  • After 3k take a left to Lough Hyne and after a further 3k you reach your destination. 

  • Lough Hyne is unique.  It was once a freshwater lake to which the sea gained access.  It is now tidal and provides a giant laboratory for research in marine biology.  It is Ireland's first Marine Nature Reserve.

  • A sign beside the little parking area gives information on the marine life of the Lake.  (If you wish to deepen your knowledge visit the Lough Hyne Visitor Centre located in Skibbereen Heritage Centre).

  • You may now wish to stroll leisurely by the lake-shore.  You have other possibilities - a hill-climb or a walk along the western and southern rims of the lake, or both!

  • We begin with the climb up Knockomagh Wood - the entry is to the right of the parking area as you face the hill.

  • t is a steady climb of 35 to 45 minutes through magnificent woodland.

  • The path is clearly marked and the steeper parts of the climb are stepped.  There are some seats strategically placed beside the path.

  • The views from various points in the climb and especially from the summit are spectacular and fully repay the effort involved in the climb.

  • You may opt to walk along the lake-rim.  (It does not over-tax one's energy to do both climb and walk).

  • As you leave the parking area, keep the lake on your left and go left again when you reach the junction.  You now travel along the shoreline on a little road lined with a variety of trees, shrubs and flowers, especially the Fuchsia.  This shrub was originally from South America but is now so much part of West Cork that is has been chosen as the logo for quality West cork products.

 
  •  After walking for 45 to 50 minutes, go left, around a residence along a narrower road leading to a pier and to open sea.  This is Barloge Creak.  To your left are the Rapids, the Atlantic Ocean's funnel to Lough Hyne.  Ahead of you, to your right is Bullock Island.  Relax for as long as you wish in this oasis of tranquility.

  • All that now remains is to trace our steps and return to Rosscarbery.  (The one-way system in Skibbereen means we go left at the roundabout, right at the next junction and then take the first left on the North Street).

  • Note:  Instead of walking the lakeside route, you can drive it but the road is narrow and the final bit to the pier is very narrow.

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