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Today we are off to the busy town of Bantry, located on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way in County Cork.

We have arrived on a Friday, which is market day, so the town is packed and finding a parking space is almost impossible. Luckily, we have now got a spot near the harbour so let’s take a look around. As I mentioned the market is held Every Friday morning in Wolfe Tone Square and it’s a treasure trove of stalls offering everything from organic fruit and vegetables, food, home baking, cheese, fish, meats, olives, eggs, honey, preserves, plants, local crafts, pet supplies, antiques and clothing.

Bantry Market is the largest market in Cork county and apart from occupying the square, it is spilling out into the adjoining roads and car parks. In fact, the largest Bantry Market is held on the first Friday of every month, what was traditionally known as ‘Fair Day’. Very often, you will still see small animals and poultry for sale at this market or even donkeys tethered to lampposts.

As we take in the sights and sounds of the market, let me tell you a bit about Bantry . The name Bantry in Irish : Beanntraí, meaning ‘place of Beann’s people’ is nestled on the edge of Bantry bay and has been settled for thousands of years. In Ancient times Bantry also claims a connection to the sixth-century saint Brendan the Navigator , who in Irish and Norse lore was the first person to discover America. In fact, we can see a huge statue dedicated to the saint at the ends of the square, looking outwards towards the bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. To the west of the town is the graveyard marking the site of a 15th-century Franciscan friary, of which nothing remains. Another saint, Cannera who lived as a hermitess in the area during the sixth century, is also associated with Bantry.

Let’s take a stroll through the busy streets and take a look into some of the interesting shops, churches and pubs. There are several larger buildings too, as evidence of the Commercial importance of Bantry and a busy trading port.

Overlooking the town is the impressive Bantry House, which is one of the nation’s great heritage treasures and a must visit in Bantry.

It has been in the White family since the mid 1700′s and the family are still in residence. The gardens were developed by the second Earl of Bantry, Richard White and his wife Mary. Inspiration was taken from their travels across Europe. The gardens contain seven terraces and the house is located on the third. The fountain within the parterre surrounded by Wisteria dominates the southern aspect of the house. There are a hundred steps from the fountain lead up to the woodland, surrounded by azaleas and rhododendron. Some of the statues are copies of sculptures by Antonio Canova, some copies of classical works. The Box hedge gardens are simply amazing to look at and I think that you will agree it must be a labour of love to keep everything so neat and trimmed .


As we stroll around to the front of the house, we can see the amazing view over the bay. I have to say this is one of the most spectacular settings and we could spend hours wander around the house and gardens – we are so lucky that the sun has just come out !!

Righto, enough walking and looking… its high time to rest our legs and enjoy refreshments from the garden café and we can continue to appreciate the amazing views out over Bantry Bay.

Thanks for coming with me today and take care until next time.



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