Clonakilty is a wonderful, small town. The sense of community is very strong and apparent. After a few days, the town and its locals will find a way into your heart. It won’t be long before you feel like a local yourself!
Here is my top 10 list of things to do while in Clonakilty:
1. Take in some live music –Basically every night you can find a music session going on in at least one of the pubs. Music worth mentioning is the traditional Irish session at De Barra’s every Monday night at 10pm. De Barra’s also hosts livelier music later in the week in the back section, which can be a bit hidden but can house hundreds of people. Thanks to Noel Redding, bass player for the Jimi Hendrix experience who frequented De Barra’s for 20 years some of the greats have performed here. As a result, Noel and the pub owners has put this pub on the map!
2. Do a Pub Crawl – There are lots of pubs to choose from so have fun with it! Some of the best are: De Barra’s, Scanells, Shanleys, Con&Maura’s and Fiddler’s Green. If you don’t dare trying pints at all the pubs, opt for a glass, which is half a pint. Local beer in Cork County is Beamish or Murphy’s.
3. Drive or get a ride to Drombeg Stone circle – One of Ireland’s most famous stone circles and most visited megalithic sites. Drombeg is about a 15-20 minute drive outside of Clonakilty.
4. Go to the weekly Market– Every Friday in the O’Donovans hotel plaza, vendors sell an array of fresh foods ranging from a variety of olives, organic produce, fresh caught fish from Union Hall, fresh baked goods and breads, prepared meals and lots more all at fairly reasonable prices.
Ron’s oven makes great thin crust pizzas, which are cooked in a wood burning portable oven…a must try!
5. Inchydoney Beach- Walk, bike or drive to Inchydoney beach, which is about five kilometres from the city centre. After you’ve seen some of the beautiful coast head to the Inchydoney lodge and finish off with a beverage. All drinks can be delivered upstairs to the residents lounge, which is full of the coziest chairs and couches, books, a piano, a small bar and a few board games. Sit and enjoy!
6. Browse the shops – Walk along the main street and check out the many boutiques and shops. The street houses a variety of shops which sell sweets, clothing, flowers and meat. There are also lots of cafes and restaurants along this street.
Take a turn down Rossa Street, which turns in to Connolly Street and check out The Lettercollum Kitchen Project located at 22 Connolly Street, for great coffee, home cooked meals, baked goods, gourmet ingredients, specialty wines and cooking classes. Don’t leave the Lettercollum without a bar of Clonakilty Chocolate made from 100% fair trade ingredients. This delicious, not too sweet bar will surely keep you coming back for more.
7. Take in a yoga class – Jessica Hatchett teaches yoga classes at the Emmet Hotel several times a week. Check her website for drop in classes. Thursday mornings are pay by donation classes, which tend to fill up, so get there early!
8.Try some of the take-out eateries – Eating out can be pricey for the budget traveler, however, there are some delicious take-away options for less that are definitely worth mentioning.
Fastnet Catch – 1 Western Road. For local, lightly battered fish served alongside a generous portion of airy thick cut chips (french fries) this place is not to be missed if fish and chips are your thing! Daily specials for 7.50E which can be shared by two people. Open in the evenings, closed Monday and Tuesday.
Sadaf Pizza Bar– 53 Pearse Street. Right next to De Barra’s. Don’t be fooled by their name, Sadaf, isn’t only a pizza bar, it also makes succulent kebabs, wraped in their own ‘made to order’ naan bread. Watch as they roll out the dough and cook it fresh in their pizza oven, the same in which they do for their pizzas. Both options are sure to please your palette, the tricky part is making a final decision.
Rossa Grill – 8 Rossa Street. For late night eats this is the only place that will be open until at least 1am. Nothing to write home about but does a decent ‘fast food’ burger and chips.
SuperValu– Wolfe Tone Street, at the end near the roundabout. If you want a cheap hot meal, SuperValu has great hot food selections in the back. Try the pot pies, chicken wings or other hot dinners.
9. Take a day trip or stay overnight in Kinsale – Kinsale is a fishing village, which is apparent when heading to the pier. Several boats of all kinds bob up and down with the sea and are quite the sight. The pier itself is worth a walk around and so is the town which hosts colourful shops, restaurants and cafes to suit every budget. Only a 45 minute drive from Clonakilty.
10. Pop in to see the Church of the Immaculate Conception – As the biggest church in Clonakilty this is worth a quick visit to see the grand interior. The exterior is nothing to scoff at either.