The South West of Ireland - things to see and do on a self catering holiday

Picturesque landscapes abound in the south west of Ireland, making this part of Ireland popular for self catering cottage holidays. During a country cottage getaway, it is possible to explore this region with its rich historical past and attractive panoramas.

self-catering holidays ireland

The south west region of Ireland comprises the vast and dazzling counties of Cork and Kerry and famous tranquil lakes, which are overlooked by the majestic mountain ranges, such as the Beara Peninsula and Dingle Peninsula. The third largest district in Ireland, Cork serves as a good base from which to explore the huge south-western region.

There is lots to discover and explore in Cork itself during a country cottage holiday including enthralling scenery.  From the bustling streets of the city of Cork to the picturesque landscapes of west Cork, you are bound to have a memorable time in this part of Ireland. This thriving south-western metropolis is home to a superb collection of restaurants, cafes and bars.  Moreover, the tranquillity of the northern area and the fun and adventure opportunities available in the east of Cork attracts people from all over the world to take self catering holidays here.

  • Find country cottages in Cork or Kerry in Ireland's South West.

This south western corner of Ireland is a popular holiday destination encompassing the best of everything. The international airport and sea port offer easy transport links for travellers coming from all over.   
Ireland's south west also boasts stunning landscapes including mountains, beautiful gardens and lakes, where families and kids can enjoy a fun family self catering holiday. Family attractions include the West Cork Model Railway Village, Dursey Island cable car and Mizen Head Visitor Centre.

The breathtaking vistas to enjoy include the mesmerising charm of nature along the long stretches of golden sandy beaches, such as Barleycove and Inchydoney. These highlights provide innumerable opportunities to experience old fashioned fun along the tranquil water lakes.

In addition, there are several outstanding recreational attractions to visit whilst you are enjoying a country cottages holiday. These recreational landmarks include the famous Garinish Island, which is an island with incredibly beautiful gardens positioned along the warming Gulf Stream. Positioned close to the site is Bantry House, a large country house, which depicts the rare beauty of the superb gardens. Another prominent site in the south west of Ireland is Gougane Barra, which is a widely acknowledged beauty spot that should leave you awe-struck with its picturesque beauty.

This region of Ireland is brimful of historical sites, including Ballynacarriga Castle, Fota House, Kilbolane Castle and Mallow Castle, to name a few. Cork houses several magnificent museums, which are a testimony to the rich cultural heritage of Ireland. The Cobh Museum, Cork Public Museum and Cork City Gaol & Radio Museum are some of the popular sites amongst tourists visiting south west Ireland on a self catering holiday.

With strolls, cycling, scuba diving, sailing, sea angling and game fishing and plenty of sporting opportunities, there is much to keep you entertained during a holiday in this part of Ireland.  Festivals are a prominent part of West Cork, which are popular amongst both locals and visitors. The Kinsale Arts Festival and the West Cork Music Festival draw huge crowds from across the world.

South West Ireland is also home to Kerry, which is most often acknowledged as ‘The Kingdom’ or ‘Heaven on Earth’. This area of Ireland is bestowed with several sightseeing attractions including lakes, mountains, sandy coves and verdant woodland.  One of the most popular summer holiday destinations for a self-catering cottage break in Kerry. You can also enjoy long scenic drives along the Ring of Kerry, which ends in Killarney.

During a self catering cottage getaway you can also visit Muckross House, a beautiful country house, which is set amidst 25,000 acre of picturesque landscape. This beautiful attraction is nestled in the Killarney National Park, which is home to the magnificent Ross Castle and the Torc Waterfall. The Yew forests are also home to a herd of native red deer which you may be lucky enough to see.

Kerry is bestowed with innumerable archaeological treasures. Moreover, this destination is home to the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Skellig Islands, where hermit monks once lived. During a country cottages trip, tourists can explore several other enthralling highlights, such as the Staigue Forts, Gallarus Oratory, beehive huts and the majestic round tower at Rattoo.

The Ardfert Cathedral along with Valentia Island and the Kerry County Museum are widely acclaimed historical gems of the region, which leave tourists spell bound. The Great Blasket Island Interpretative Centre is another prominent attraction.

In addition to visiting the innumerable highlights of the south west of Ireland, there are several leisure and sports activities to enjoy along the long stretches of the beautiful beaches. These glorious beaches attract numerous sport lovers and walkers. The Glanleam Gardens, Derrynane House & Gardens and Dereen Gardens are some of the renowned sites.

There is always something happening in Ireland's south west region, which aid in making a holiday enjoyable. Hence, irrespective of the time tourists visit South West Ireland, they should have a fun-filled self catering holiday.


More information on country cottage holidays in Ireland:

  • South East including Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford
  • Mid West: Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary
  • Midlands, also known as the Irish lakelands

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