A nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Cork City, ebullient Clonakilty offers visitors a distinct western Cork experience. Set up first as a military camp in the latter 1500s, Clonakilty became famous for its fine linen in the 1800s. This market town still flourishes and offers visitors a nice base from which to explore the area. Here, you can visit the West Cork Regional Museum and the Liosna-gCon Ringfort (
A visit to Clonakilty would not be complete without knowing a little about “the Big Fella,” Michael Collins, who was born near the area. In short, Collins was the head of the military group representing the Irish Free State. In 1921, his forces beat the British, eventually leading to Ireland's freedom. Visitors can find many books about the rogue, who was able to outsmart and eliminate the British secret service in the Republic.