Dooneen Pier
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"The Sheep's Heads peninsula is a peaceful and unchanged corner of Ireland It is one of the best kept secrets in the whole country....the most beautiful landscape in Ireland." Mike Harding, Footloose in the West of Ireland
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What is there to do? The distinctive attraction is the scenic beauty, the tranquillity, the privacy, the freedom of the seven acres, the pier down below with its mooring, and, the invigorating fresh air. Then take a trip up to Killarney and around The Ring of Kerry taking in Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Waterville, Sneem and Parknasilla, Kenmare and Glengariff spending a night or two in the hotels and guesthouses en route. On the way back Glengariff leads into the beautiful Beara Peninsula.

Nearer home is Skibbereen and the sailing resort of Baltimore from which trips are made out to Cape Clear Gaeltacht and Sherkin Island. Closer still are the moorings at Crookhaven, a little further on the sandy beaches of Barley Cove, and ultimately, the landmark Mizen Head. On the way home, the lighthouse at Fastnet Rock is a maritime sentinel, and skirting Schull (of sailing renown), it is up over the hills to Durrus, Ahakista and Kilcrohane.

      Music: Bantry House hosts an International Chamber Music Festival in June, followed by an international literary festival, and an Irish traditional music festival in August. For other events in the locality visit here and here.

      Art: Events, exhibits and coffee shop White House Gallery just around the corner from the house at Dooneen.

      Sailing: For sailing, boating, windsurfing, canoeing, and kayaking there is anchorage below at Dooneen pier. Coves, inlets and cliffs beside the pier are great to explore. The water is home to seals and a wide variety of sea-birds all year round. Small equipment can easily fit in the versatile storage room at the house. More sheltered anchorages are available nearby in Ahakista and Kilcrohane, where boats can also be hired. On the north part of the property there is wind-protected shallow ravine for wintering boats.

      Boat Hire offers sailing lessons; boats are for hire at Schull Pier (26 miles from Kilcrohane).

      Scuba, snorkelling: The area around Dooneen pier is suitable for shore and night diving with good visibility and interesting sea life, offering depths up to 15m. Outcrops, high and low water caves, and inlets offer hours of safe adventures. More information available here.

      Whale & Dolphin watching: South West Ireland is earning a strong reputation for the best whale and dolphin watching in the world. Peak season is September-November. More information on boat trips available here and here.

      Fishing: There is good year-round fishing from the pier in Dooneen with mackerel in abundance in late summer. Fishing trips are organized from Ahakista. For more info on shore fishing in the area visit this page

      Golf: Eighteen hole golf course in Bantry, on the bay.

      Walking: Walking the length of Sheep's Head Peninsula along the Caha ridge is popular, well documented and well sign-posted. The St. Stephen's Day (26th December) organised walk is popular for the great fresh air and for its sociability. Closer to the house the Dooneen headland is a great place to walk with spectacular blow holes, shore walks, rock pools and cliffs. Its a quiet and special place; your only company will be sheep.

      Swimming: The headland at Dooneen has a stony beach that is very nice for a private swim. If you're lucky you might be accompanied by seals, seabirds, and by dolphins if you're really lucky. Water temperatures vary throughout the year so come prepared with wetsuits etc. for water sports outside of summer time.


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       Fresh fish is available locally; inquire at Kilcrohane post office, and/or (at around 4pm at Ahakista Pier).
       Scallops: November - end March. Lobster, Prawns: May - July. Wild Salmon: June - July. Mackerel: June - September. Shrimp: September

      Gardens: South west Ireland enjoys a relatively warm micro climate thanks to the gulf stream, this results in great gardens to visit. A good guide to the gardens in the area can be found here. From Kilcrohane it would be about an hour's drive up to Glengariff to visit the renowned Garnish Island.

      Books: A number of books have been written about the locality, but what must stand out is 'White Goats and Black Bees' from (read the reviews) written by the American couple who made their home in Dooneen in the early 1970s.