Chamber of Commerce News Festivals and Events News

Get Your Digital Ducks in a Row

Skibbereen Chamber in association with Ludgate invites you to a breakfast briefing:

Getting your digital ducks in a row

Using digital & social media tools to grow your business

Tuesday February 11th • 8-9am •

Ludgate, Townshend Street Tea/Coffee at 8am. 8.10 start


Greg Canty -Social Media Consultant/Managing Partner of Fuzion Communications

Greg is considered one of the leading business bloggers in Ireland. He is a highly sought after Social Media Trainer and Consultant and for podcast listeners you can hear him each
week on his Win Happy podcast. Greg is a Chartered Certified Accountant who joined Fuzion in 2002.

Please RSVP to Kate Callanan / 086 2388300
Free event. All welcome (members and non-members)


About Skibbereen Things To Do

Walks Around Skibbereen Town

Moderate Loop Walk • Distance: 4.3bm
Total Climb: 60m • Time: 1 to Ihr 15min
Terrain: roadside footpaths, public part?, quiet roads & riverside walh.
Description: from trailhead at Shibbereen Heritage Centre towards West Cort? Hotel on lien Street, crossing Kennedy Bridge through O’Donovan Rossa Memorial Park to Marsh Road. Through Glencurragh and Curragh Road with gradual rise to high point with panoramic view of Shibbereen and lien Estuary before descending along a quiet country road to Abbeystrowry Burial Ground, site of an old Cistercian abbey and famine burial pits. Crossing the N71 and Newbridge to riverside wall? bach towards the Heritage Centre.

Easy Loop Walk • Distance: 4.5hm
Total Climb: 30m • Time: 1 to Ihr 15min
Terrain: roadside footpaths, public roads, off road path and town streets.
Description: from trailhead at Shibbereen Heritage Centre towards Bridge Street and through the old Railway Cutting to Mardyhe. Onto the Baltimore Road and bach towards Marhet Street before rising up the Gortnaclohy Road onto Chapel Lane. Passing two old burial grounds to High Street and then off road to Windmill Roch, site of the famine memorial with view over town. Continue down to North Street past the cathedral and the courthouse to the Relief Road and bach to the Heritage Centre via Hen Street.

Moderate Loop Walk • Distance: 5.1bm
Total Climb: 50m • Time: Ihr 15min to Ihr 30min
Terrain: roadside footpaths, quiet public roads & town streets.
Description: from trailhead at Skibbereen Heritage Centre onto Upper Bridge Street and continuing as far as St. Patrich’s Cemetery. Turning up the country road towards Compass Hill with panoramic views towards Baltimore and Lough Hyne before descending onto Baltimore Road and going bach towards the town centre along Marhet Street. Passing the Town Hall and Maid of Erin Statue through Main Street to Bridge Street past the Canon Goodman Memorial and Abbeystrewry Parish Church and bach to the Heritage Centre.
See SU na Slâinte brochure

Easy Loop Walk • Distance: 4.7hm
Total Climb: 20m
Time: 1 to Ihr 15min
Terrain: roadside footpaths, riverside c^rr–. walh & town streets.
Caution: All walhs are on public roads or paths. All walkers are responsible for their own safety.
Please be mindful of traffic and obey the rules of the road.
COMHAIHUCOKTAKCHOÊtCAl @ skibbereentidy to Skhibbereen Walks are developed by Skibbereen Tidy Towns with grant aid from Cork County Council and West Cork Development Partnership

Three interlinked loop walks around the historic market town of Skibbereen. Beginning at the Skibbereen Heritage Centre you visit the town’s
historic sites, climb the surrounding hills and are rewarded with panoramic views of the town and lien River estuary


Shop Local and discover all there is to see and do in Skibbereen this Christmas

There will lots for shoppers and their little helpers, to enjoy in Skibbereen in the run up to Christmas this year.

New this year on Saturday December 15 the Animal Roadshow and Mobile Zoo will take up residence in Skibbereen Tourist Office from 1-4pm!

The Animal Roadshow is an educational service dedicated to introducing the natural world and its creatures to people in a fun and respectful way. This is an interactive experience with snakes, lizards. cuddly mammals, an owl, tortoises, creepy crawlies and more to see and touch. The people behind the Roadshow have 14 years experience dealing with animals – and people – and were shortlisted for the Corkman/ Duhallow business awards in 2018. Roadshow staff will be on hand to assist with handling and answer any questions so go along to meet them and their creatures and to learn about nature in all its glory.

A Skibbereen tradition that returns this year is the Christmas Concert in Abbeystrewery Church on Sunday December 16. Audiences will enjoy carols and Christmas music with Camilla Griehsel, Ilen Vibe Choir, Skibbereen Youth Choir and other special guests. Proceeds to Skibbereen Christmas Lights.

Shopping locally this Christmas will keep Skibbereen the lively, bustling, community-led town that we all know and love. There is fantastic choice and value available locally and shops will offer further special festive discounts on December 8. Remember there is free parking and when you shop in Skibbereen this Christmas you could be in with a chance of winning one of several Christmas Hampers stuffed with fabulous prizes in the Skibbereen Hamper Draw.

You can solve all your Christmas shopping dilemmas by keeping an eye out for Skibbereen’s Facebook Competition – with lots of vouchers to be won over the festive period there is something for everyone.

Don’t forget too to keep a look out for Santa’s elves in Skibbereen’s shop windows; they were helping Santa shop for Christmas but with so many bargains to be had in Skibbereen 10 of them have gone missing! Find all the elves, submit your entry and you could win a prize.

Finally, the Skibbereen Remembrance Tree returns to the Square where from mid December you can purchase a ribbon to be tied on the tree in memory of your loved ones.


Please follow facebook @Skibbereen for all the latest updates and news.


Don’t forget to wear your Christmas Jumper for the Skibbereen Christmas Parade Friday 30th November

Don’t forget to dust off the Christmas geansai and get down to Skibbereen on Friday 30th November for Skibbereen’s annual Christmas Parade – prizes for best jumper for Adults and Kids.


Don’t miss Christmas Lights in Skibbereen

Festive fun launches in Skibbereen on Friday 30th November when the annual Christmas Parade welcomes Santa and Mrs. Claus into town where they will be joined by Skibbereen Fire Service, West Cork Civil Defence and a few other familiar faces who will be there to join in the fun too!

This year Santa will switch on Skibbereen’s Christmas lights along with 2 lucky winners from local national schools so make sure you complete your entry which can be downloaded from Kids Comp Entry 2018 and drop off to Apple Betty’s in the Square or O’Sullivan Toymaster at the Bridge before the 26th November to be in with a chance of winning.

As well as the parade, street entertainment will be adding to the Christmas Carnival atmosphere in town on the evening along with festive stalls serving hot drinks and Christmas treats.

Festivals and Events News

It’s back! Don’t miss this “brilliant” competition to switch on Skibbereen’s Christmas Lights

 To enter simply print out an entry form (DOWNLOAD FORM HERE)

About Skibbereen Things To Do

The Islands

There are many islands to explore near to Skibbereen.  Across the harbour from Baltimore the West Cork coastline merges into the myriad islands and rocky islets known collectively as Carbery’s Hundred Isles. Each of the main inhabited islands — Cape Clear, Sherkin and Heir — has developed a unique personality through being separated from the mainland and its neighbours, if only by a few hundred yards in some cases.

The islands themselves are fascinating places to visit and the waters around them offer possibilities for kayakers, sailors, divers, wildlife-watchers and anglers. The best way to find out about them is to come here and explore for yourself!  Ferries available from Baltimore and Schull.

About Skibbereen History

Origins of Skibbereen

The Origins of Skibbereen

Skibbereen (population c. 2,000) is a vibrant market town serving a large hinterland. The town as we now know it owes its origins to a raid of Algerian Pirates on nearby Baltimore in 1631, when 100 people were taken as ‘white slaves’. A small number of survivors moved up the river Ilen to establish the town where it is today.

However, there was a much earlier settlement just east of the town, based around the castle of the overlords, the MacCarthys. This wealthy Gaelic family forfeited its estates during the turbulent 17th century. English Planters William Prigg and Samuel Hall were given Market Rights by a 1675 Patent. There was also a Cistercian Abbey on the banks of the Ilen from the 13th century.

The name Skibbereen is thought to have derived from ‘skiff’, a type of boat used for crossing the river. Prigg and Hall renamed it New Stapleton; however, it soon reverted to ‘Dear Old Skibbereen’.


Skibbereen is also said to be the ‘Cradle of Fenianism’. The famous Irish revolutionary Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa became politically active in Skibbereen just after the Famine. He went on to become one of the leading members of the Fenian movement. Rossa is commemorated in Skibbereen at O’Donovan Rossa Park, just outside the town. The Maid of Erin statue at the town square was unveiled by Rossa in 1904.

Another well-known Irish revolutionary, Gearóid O’Sullivan, took part in the Easter 1916 Rising. He raised the Irish flag over the GPO during that infamous rebellion.

O’Sullivan was a good friend of Michael Collins, another renowned West Cork revolutionary. Collins stopped at the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen on August 22nd 1922. Later that day, he was shot dead at Béal na Bláth.

Capital of the Carberies

By the early 1800’s Skibbereen was an important regional town. In June 1843, Daniel O’Connell held one of his monster Repeal meetings in Skibbereen. Newspaper accounts of the time claimed up to 500,000 attended.

The decades after the Famine saw major improvements in the town. The building that now houses Skibbereen Heritage Centre opened as a Gasworks in 1867 and the arrival of the railway a few years later heralded a new era for Skibbereen.

Two newspapers were established in Skibbereen in the 19th century. One of them, the Southern Star, still has its offices in the town. The second newspaper, the now-defunct Skibbereen Eagle, is remembered for ‘keeping its eye on the Czar of Russia’.

Science was also to the fore in 19th century Skibbereen. The celebrated astronomer, Agnes Mary Clarke, was born in Skibbereen in 1842. The ‘Clarke Crater’ on the moon is named in her honour. Another Skibbereen native, Percy Ludgate, designed the ‘analytical engine’, which is regarded as the first portable computer.

Skibbereen was the Seat of the Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Ross between 1851 and 1950. The Cathedral in North Street is still the most imposing building in the town. The town evolved to become a hub of industry and was a thriving market town throughout the 20th century, as it still is today.

Skibbereen is the most significant town in Ireland in terms of its Famine heritage and it has an important role in commemorating this pivotal period. Every street in the town has its own story and the people of Skibbereen are extremely proud of its unique heritage. Learn about this important period of Irish history at the Skibbereen Famine Story exhibition  Skibbereen Heritage Centre.

For further information and details on important buildings in the town please check


Blueprint Financial Planning launches in Skibbereen

Congratulations to John O’Driscoll who recently launched Blueprint Financial Planning at the West Cork Hotel.

Based in Skibbereen, West Cork, Blueprint Financial Planning serves its clients nationwide and is a client-focused, impartial and informed financial advisory firm.

The event launch was hosted by Jonathan Healy, MC on the evening and included an Entrepreneur Roundtable as well as a presentation from Guest Speaker, Pat Divilly, one of Ireland’s best known motivational speakers.



West Cork History Festival

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The 2018 West Cork History Festival offers a diverse, engaging and erudite programme, with a number of sub-themes including the events of 1918, history as mediated through art and the First World War.

As is obvious from the talks, discussions and film screenings we covered a wide range of other periods and subjects, leading to some intriguing juxtapositions. And this year we also offered field trips to places of historical and archaeological interest in this very special part of West Cork.

West Cork, in particular the stretch of coast from Rosscarbery to Mizen Head, is popular with visitors from the rest of Ireland, Britain and Europe. The physical landscape of the area, once seen as austere and inaccessible, is a major part of the attraction. It is now well known for its art, its music, its food, and its maritime life. The area has always been remarkably heterogeneous: politically, religiously, and socially. It has produced writers and thinkers of many traditions and this depth and diversity is something on which the West Cork History Festival draws.

We look forward to creating an even better programme in 2019.

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Castletownshend Road
Skibbereen P81 HF61
Contact: Helen Dempsey
Phone: +353 (0)87 356 1871
Email: Click Here
Website: West Cork History Festival

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About Skibbereen History

Top Ten Facts

Top 10 Facts about Skibbereen

1. The name “Skibbereen” is thought to have derived from ‘skiff’, a type of boat used for crossing the river.

2. Prior to 1600 most of the land belonged to the native McCarthy tribe who were the overlords but the O’Driscolls also reigned there – today McCarthy remains the town’s most common surname.

3.  At the height of the famine in 1848, the body of an unnamed boy, taken for lifeless was placed in a coffin in the Town Square and conveyed for burial to the Abbey Cemetery. As he was lowered into the pit, the youth regained consciousness and walked unaided from the grave.

4. Skibbereen was one of the worst-affected areas in Ireland during the Great Famine and up to 10,000 Famine victims are buried in the Famine Burial Pits of Abbeystrowry Cemetery.

5. The Temperance Hall was the site of the foundation of the first Temperance Society (abstaining from alcohol) in Europe. Built in 1833 it has been succeeded by Skibbereen’s 26 well patronised pubs.

6. General Michael Collins had his last meal in the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen before he was shot in an ambush later that evening in 1922.

7. The Skibbereen Eagle, a newspaper founded in 1857, became famous by declaring it was “keeping an eye on the Tsar of Russia” over his expansionist designs on China. This newspaper was superseded by the Southern Star, founded in 1889 which included amongst its shareholders one General Michael Collins.

8. Skibbereen and the nearby villages were chosen as location for the making of the film “War of the Buttons”.

9. Skibbereen and the nearby villages are the home to many international celebrities and World Champion Rowers as well as Ireland’s first Rowing Olympians, Gary and Paul O’Donovan.

10. The man who raised the Tricolour over the General Post Office in Dublin on Easter Monday in 1916 was a teacher from a west Cork farm.  Gearóid O’Sullivan, from Coolnagurrane, Skibbereen, a second cousin of Michael Collins, was a member of the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and the Gaelic League.

History Things To Do

Genealogy Service

Genealogy Service at Skibbereen Heritage Centre

Genealogy service for the greater West Cork area by appointment with our genealogy team. Trace your West Cork ancestry and research your family tree.

Our genealogists, Margaret and Deirdre, can help you trace your West Cork ancestry and are happy to help you by appointment or online.

Catholic Church records for most local parishes up to 1911.
Tithe Applotments, Griffith’s Valuation, local estate records, census & burial records.
Local knowledge of place names, family histories etc.
Personal service by appointment


The Great Famine – an Gorta Mór

The Great Famine – an Gorta Mór

Skibbereen was devastated by the Great Famine of the 1840s. As one of the worst affected areas in all of Ireland, Skibbereen is synonymous with this tragic period in Irish history when over one million people died .

Many of the buildings in the town have direct links to the Famine and there are numerous stories associated with each of these sites. Even today, the horror of this terrible time is palpable at these locations, including the infamous Famine Burial Pits at Abbeystrowry which hold the remains of up to 10,000 unidentified victims.

The Skibbereen Famine Story exhibitionwalking trail app and book offer an insight into this pivotal period of Irish history.

Rediscover this era through exhibits and listen to the personal accounts of those who experienced the Famine in Skibbereen. Take a ‘virtual tour’ of Famine sites in the town and hear the stories associated with them at the Skibbereen Famine Story exhibition.

About Skibbereen

Skibbereen on Video

Skibbereen A Place Apart

Skibbereen is located in the heart of West Cork. Rich with culture and community as well being a bustling market town, Skibbereen is a wonderful place for visitors and residents alike.

West Cork from the Air

West Cork Coastline from the Air

About Skibbereen Things To Do

Places to Go

Lough Hyne is a beautiful salt-water lake situated just 5km from Skibbereen town. There is a long history of marine research at Lough Hyne which makes it one of the most-studied sites in the world.  It has a wide variety of marine habitats and species and was designated as Europe’s first Marine Nature Reserve in 1981. This spectacular lake is best appreciated from the top of Knockomagh Hill which overlooks the lough. Follow the nature trail to the top of Knockomagh for one of the best views in all of West Cork. Learn all about Lough Hyne at Skibbereen Heritage Centre (  before you go there to truly appreciate its unique nature.

Take your pick from the delightful choice of fishing villages. Fashionable Baltimore is the gateway to Sherkin Island and Cape Clear.

Don’t miss the castle home of the Townshend family, surprisingly at Castletownshend, the village which provided inspiration for writers Somerville and Ross (and favourite spot of BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman).

Glandore and Union Hall sit opposite each other across the estuary and both are equally quaint with great pubs and restaurants usually with sea views (all between 5km and 15km from Skibbereen).

Skibbereen is synonymous with the Great Famine of the 1840s as it was one of the worst affected areas in all of Ireland. Over one million people died and another 1.5 million emigrated during this catastrophe and Skibbereen became infamous for the suffering endured by its people. Skibbereen is the most important town in Ireland in terms of Famine heritage and this is The town’s important Famine heritage is commemorated at Skibbereen Heritage Centre with an exhibition on the Great Hunger. ‘Skibbereen – The Famine Story’ is an app that uses the voices of the era to guide the walker around Famine sites in the town, including the mass graves at Abbeystrewry where up to 10,000 Famine victims are buried. 

Ireland’s most beautiful scenery. Sandy beaches, secluded coves, fast-flowing rivers, lakes, hills and forests – all easily accessible for walkers, cyclists and drivers. All within 5km of Skibbereen.

If West Cork is the garden of Ireland then don’t miss the most enchanting gardens of West Cork. Lissard is 40 acres of woodlands, wildflower meadows and lakes devoted to creating a better understanding and appreciation of the beauty, philosophy and interacacies of Irish nature (within 1km of Skibbereen).  The West Cork Garden Trail takes place annually in June and while many of the gardens are open to visitors throughout the summer, some are open to the public only during the Garden Trail.

For the more energetic, Skibbereen offers great leisure facilities. There is a fine 18-hole golf course which is both forgiving, yet challenging (within 2km of Skibbereen).

The River Ilen offers salmon and sea trout game angling, from the town centre north for 5km, while the lakes of Shepperton (5km from Skibbereen) offer peaceful coarse fishing in gorgeous surroundings. Sea Angling is available from Glandore, Union Hall and Baltimore.

Skibbereen Sports Centre offers tennis, badminton, indoor bowls, soccer, table-tennis, a fully equipped gymnasium plus a sauna.

Scuba diving, sailing and watersports are available in Baltimore.

Above all else, West Cork – and its capital Skibbereen – is famous for its food, its friendliness and its traditional flavour. Having now been bestowed the the title ‘Gourmet Capital of Ireland’, West Cork has many first class restaurants that frequently grace the pages of the national press. Almost every village has an award winning eatery… and last, but not least, there’s the people.

One thing you can depend upon is the warmth of the welcome you’ll receive from the people of Skibbereen. It’s a friendly town where people have time to stop and have a chat in the shops. The impromptu sessions of live music as well as top flight performers are always in evidence as part of the lively nightlife that Skibbereen has to offer.


New Look Afternoon Tea at the West Cork Hotel

If you enjoy a  taste for our culinary creations, why not join us for Afternoon Tea at only €12.50 per person?

Our dedicated team will serve an elegant and sumptuous afternoon tea complete with something sweet, something savoury, why not add some Sparkle to your afternoon with a choice of Prosecco or Champagne!

Pre Booking Essential +35 (28) 21277

Served Daily from 1pm to 4pm


Skibb is getting ready for GDPR….

GDPR is new EU legislation coming into effect on 25th May and significantly increases the obligations and responsibilities for organisations and businesses in how they collect, use and protect personal data. At the centre of the new law is the requirement for organisations and businesses to be fully transparent about how they are using and safeguarding personal data, and to be able to demonstrate accountability for their data processing activities.

Spearline Risk & Compliance in conjunction with Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce are running a free GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) Workshop at the West Cork Hotel on Tuesday 17th April at 6.30pm

Find out more about what GDPR means for you and your business. Don’t delay, let’s get Skibb ready for GDPR and book your free place by contacting Tina Darb on

GDPR Workshop Invite


Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Skibbereen… courtesy of Anne Minihane


St Patrick’s Day Parade in Skibbereen – Saturday 17th March at 4.30pm

Plans are underway for this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in Skibbereen, which takes place on Saturday 17th March at 4.30 pm.  

The route starts at the Children’s Playground on the Cork Road, along North Street, then turning right into Main St, past the viewing platform on the Bridge and finishing in the Fairfield / Old Mart Car Park.

The parade continues to be a popular family event every year and this year’s theme is  “Celebrating Skibbereen as a Multi-Cultural Town and District” and we look forward to celebrating the wide diversity of cultures we have among our  participating groups, organisations, schools etc.  with a rich, colourful parade of national flags, costumes etc.   Please spread the word!

It is always fantastic to see so many people getting involved every year in their local Parade which guarantees fun for all the family and as in  previous years one overall entrant on the day will receive the Julia Hickey Memorial Trophy with cash prizes for best community group, best fun group and best theme with spot prizes on the day too!

Don’t forget you can finish off your evening in Skibbereen with traditional music in local bars to enjoy or a tasty snack in any of the local cafés too!

Word Cloud Skibb

Festivals and Events News

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival 2019

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival is an annual, ten day September event that celebrates not only West Cork’s unique food culture, but also the people and land that produce that food.  A pure joy to the senses, the festival is a culinary adventure through the dramatic backdrop of 41 local towns, villages and 8 islands; stretching from the sandy beaches of Inchydoney, to the splintered landscape of the Beara peninsula and reaching out into the Wild Atlantic Ocean through the scattered islands off Roaringwater Bay.

While West Cork’s rich bounty is available to enjoy all year round, the festival itself – created by local people – treats visitors to more than 250 events; bringing them right into the heart of what West Cork and its culture is all about, through face to face encounters with pioneering food producers and organic farmhouses, enjoying food in many different ways from foraging to market stalls and a rare opportunity to experience food, crafted by world renowned guest chefs, in unique venues from stately homes and castles to distilleries that open exclusively for the festival.