Skibbereen is the capital of the Carberies. The town developed on the banks of the River Ilen just where the river turns to flow in a westerly direction towards the sea. There are many bars & restaurants with the regular beat of Irish music to be heard in the evenings.
This town suffered very badly during the period of the Irish Famine in the 1840’s. The Famine plot survives today in the Abbey Cemetery west of the town. There is also the excellent Skibbereen Heritage Centre which offers glimpses to that sad chapter of Irish history.
O’Donovan Rossa who was prominent in the Irish independence movement lived here most of his life and is commemorated in a small attractive park on the outskirts of the town. Canon James Goodman, a collector of Irish music, professor of the Irish language and rector of Abbeystrewery Parish, is also commemorated with a statue in the town.
Lough Hyne is Ireland’s first marine reserve, and the only inland salt water lake in Europe. It is located off the road to Baltimore from Skibbereen. The waters contain an extremely interesting selection of marine life, and this is an area of major scientific importance. There are forest walks in the Lough Hyne area, with the highest viewing point at 200m above sea level.
Skibbereen is an important centre for Angling and is also a designated Cycling hub for cycling holidays in Ireland with many clearly marked routes.