Bantry Bay is a beautiful 35 km long bay located in County Cork, sinking deep into the county’s land. With Whiddy Island and Bere Island in the distance, Bantry is a beautiful bay where mountains, forests, rocks, stones and white sandy beaches blend perfectly.
The bay would have known a high point in history during the Irish Rebellions of 1798. A French fleet was ordered to support the Irish in 1796, who wanted to emancipate themselves from the British presence on their territory. On board was a solid army of 43 ships and 13,000 men, as well as the famous Theobald Wolfe Tone, an Irish activist who advocated Irish independence.
In order to be as unobtrusive as possible, the 13,000 men travelled in small numbers, in a crowd of ships, in order to reach Bantry Bay and join the rest of the fleet. Only a few ships were delayed by storms, and General Hoche, then in charge of the entire Fleet, was among the stragglers.
The ships that reached the bay had to turn back and cancel the operation for safety reasons due to the absence of their general. This episode in Irish history was experienced by many as a dismal failure.
Another milestone in the history of Bantry Bay is its oil platform in the 20th century. Very dynamic, Bantry Bay was the site of an oil platform, which in the 1970s suffered a terrible accident in which the French oil tanker “La Beltegeuse” killed 50 people in a poorly controlled fire that exploded the building…
Fortunately, Bantry Bay was only slightly polluted by this event. The fauna and flora was preserved without damage, thanks to the work of the teams in charge of recovering the waste from the oil platform.
Bantry Bay is a paradise for walkers who love the beautiful coastal scenery. It is possible to walk along the whole bay and to cross the few villages located on the seaside. Among them, Castletown Bearhaven and Curryglass have our preference, with their colourful little streets, picturesque pubs and the few boats rocking in their tiny harbours. The locals are very friendly, and it’s very pleasant to stop there for a cool pint!
If you feel more in the mood for a drive, then you should know that there’s a road that runs along the coast and around Bantry Bay. The view is magnificent and there are some really stunning panoramas.
If you like the open sea, then some shuttles will also allow you to visit Vere Island and Whiddy Island, the 2 islands of Bantry Bay, which are both still inhabited to this day.