Glengarriff is located on the breathtaking Bantry Bay, where the mountains meet the sea. It links the towns of Bantry and Kenmare and known for its scenic areas.
Since the 1700s, Glengarriff has been known as a holiday destination, attracting royalty and literary figures. It remains to be a must-visit in Ireland to make your visit memorable, here are some of the things to do in Glengarriff, Ireland.
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11 Things To Do In Glengarriff, Ireland
1. Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve
The Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve is the quintessential must visit that truly defines what this area is all about. The woods are nestled in the sheltered glen that spreads out into Glengarriff Harbour.
Above the woods, you’ll find the rocky Caha Mountains. The massive Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve has trails suited for different fitness levels.
You can tackle the easier trail along the river walk or conquer the steep, but worthwhile climb up to Lady Bantry’s Lookout.
2. The Ewe
The Ewe is the only ‘Interactive Natural History Museum-on-a-Mountain’ in Ireland. It is quirky and fascinating, definitely one of the best places to see in Glengarriff.
It is a must-visit for nature lovers and a great place for relaxation. It is set along a stunning waterfall and can be reached by an hour-long scenic hike.
3. The Beara Way
If you’re up for some hiking, cycling and stunning views, one of the best things to do in Glengarriff us to conquer the Beara Way.
The Beara Way follows the two-week march taken by Donal O’Sullivan Beare and a thousand supporters in 1603. It is the longest in Ireland and spans almost the length of the country.
The hike or cycle will take you to some of the most stunning and least explored areas.
You’ll also encounter some heritage sites such as castle ruins and monastic settlements. It’s quite an experience and a must when in Glengarriff.
4. Molly Gallivan’s cottage and traditional farm
Want a taste of the old Ireland? By old, we mean traditional, a glimpse at life before there were electricity and modern conveniences.
A visit to Molly Gallivan’s cottage and the traditional farm is one of the best activities to do in Glengarriff.
A visit takes you back in time to experience a simple country lifestyle. The cottage is over 200 years old.
The farm is complete with animals and traditional farm machinery. The old Tea Shop here serves food that’s cooked and baked in the traditional fashion, using fresh ingredients.
The cottage also holds Traditional Irish Nights with food, music, and storytelling.
5. Bantry House and Garden
Although not exactly part of Glengarriff, the historic Bantry House, and Garden is just less than 20 minutes away from the town center.
Located by the Bantry Bay, the estate has been around for several centuries. It is still inhabited but the house, garden, and tearoom are open to the public daily.
It is one of the top attractions near Glengarriff, where you can see some period furniture and objects d’art.
The garden is a must-visit as well, laid in several terraces. There’s also a fountain, a huge wisteria circle and a hundred steps that lead to the woodlands.
6. Glengarriff Bamboo Park
One of the most enchanting places to visit in Glengarriff is Bamboo Park. This is a huge exotic garden that’s filled not just with bamboo but with a variety of plants as well.
There are palm trees, ferns, and flowers along with little pathways and seating areas. The place also offers fantastic sea views.
The park has a coffee shop that serves delicious homemade cakes that every visitor must try.
7. Garnish Island
Situated in the sheltered harbor in Bantry Bay, Garnish Island is one of the most popular places to visit in Glengarriff.
This place is known all over the world for its stunning gardens that are spread in picturesque walks. It has a pretty diverse plant species, including rare ones.
A lot of the plants in the gardens of Garnish Island can’t be found anywhere in Ireland.
On the way to the island, lookout for a variety of marine life including dolphins, seals, and whales. Most of them inhabit the waters close to Garnish Island.
8. Blue Pool
The Blue Pool has to be one of the most popular places to see in Glengarriff. One word best describes this area: magical.
This picture-perfect tidal harbor is located in a rock basin in the woods. It is basically where the river meets the sea.
The Blue Pool is also surrounded by lush vegetation, and it looks like pixies would appear anytime. The area also has a number of scenic walking trails through the woods that are worth exploring.
If you’re going to Garnish Island, the ferry runs from the Blue Pool so you get to enjoy this stunning sight on the way.
9. Glengarriff Golf Club
If you’re up for a bit of golf, then this is one of the best places to visit in Glengarriff.
The nine holes in Glengarriff Golf Club has to be one of the prettiest places in Ireland. It has a lovely clubhouse that offers great views over the golf course, and also perfect for relaxing.
This area is one of those places in Glengarriff where one can enjoy nature and have fun at the same time.
10. Glengarriff Harbour
Glengarriff Harbour has to be one of the most beautiful places in the area. Located on the sheltered Bantry Bay, it is surrounded by rugged mountains and oak forests.
This is regarded as one of the oldest tourist destinations in Ireland, and among the top Glengarriff attractions. It has a number of facilities aimed at making each visit comfortable for the tourists.
This is an ideal place to simply enjoy the views and take in the sights of the surrounding areas.
11. MacCarthy’s Bar
A great way to end any day in Glengarriff has to be a visit to a traditional Irish pub.
Head towards MacCarthy’s, at the Glengarriff Park Hotel, right in the heart of Glengarriff Village. It has a great selection of drinks and a variety of hearty pub grub that’s served all day.
This is one of the best places to visit in Glengarriff if you simply want to hang out and relax with a pint or a platter of good food.
On weekends, MacCarthy’s has some live music performances that are a hit among locals and visitors alike.
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