The Mizen Peninsula, at Ireland's most southwesterly point, is worldwide renown for the beauty of its rugged landscape and ancient heritage. A tour of the Mizen Ring gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the various strands that make the Mizen unique. From geology, flora, birds and fauna to the influence of man and his history on the landscape.
Travelling west from Schull you drive along the bog road built originally in the eighteenth
century to carry butter to Cork for export to the new colonies.
Travelling on through the town lands of Kealfadda, Ballyrisode and Ballydevlin you
arrive in Goleen. This village was built during the nineteenth century at a crossroads where a cattle fair
was regularly held. You will notice the extremely wide road winding through the village and all the
houses were originally built as shops. Falling away left of the village is the hidden harbour from which
the village takes its name. 'Goilin' (little inlet) is easily recognisable once you venture down the lane.
Although the harbour dries at low tide, giving great feeding for a variety of wildlife including fox and a
pheasant, there is a deepwater quay at the entrance to accommodate fishing boats and yachts.
Crookhaven Harbour is as picturesque today as it was useful in its heyday, being a large and sheltered harbour. You pass the old Roadstone Quarry on the side of the mountain, which provided metalling for the roads of Wales unti 1945. There are numerous Bronze Age field monulents scattering the hills surrounding Crookhaven. The Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map 88 will
indicate the whereabouts for you. The village of Crookhaven has a distinguished history as the last
port of call for ships journeying to and from America. Over the centuries ships stocked up with
provisions here before tackling the Atlantic Ocean. All the shipping lines had agents located here to
tell the ships in which port their cargo had been sold. At the beginning of the 20th century it was said
that you could cross the harbour on the decks of boats. 700 people lived and worked in the village
against the 29 permanent inhabitants who reside here today ( Marconi came here to try to send his first
radio message across the Atlantic and he fitted the first telegraphic equipment to the Fastnet Rock
Lighthouse to communicate with the passing ships).
Barleycove is a large sand beach backed by sand dunes. the sand dunes were thrown up in the tidal wave which swept Europe after the earthquake in Lisbon 1n 1755. Today the dunes have been partially eroded but are protected like much of the coastal area round this area as European designated Special Areas of Conservation. The road goes to the east of the beach across a causeway bisecting Lissagriffin Lakes and at the t -junction you turn left to Mizen Head.
Mizen Vision, the Irish Lights Signal Station Visitor Centre, had been developed by
a local tourism co-operative. The Signal Stationwas built in 1905 to protect shipping from the cliffs
during fogbound journeys. It is a spectacular location with its folded rocks and high cliffs. The Signal
Station is on an Island joined to the mainland with a fine example of an Arched bridge. If you have
plenty of puff you can return up the 99 steps but there is an easier path for the less energetic. Well
worth a visit!
Another gem of the Mizen Peninsula is Three Castle Head, where the three castles, which are
three Tower Houses with curtain walling. Built in the 15th century on the site of a Bronze Age
Promontory Fort, the Castles stand sentinel beside a cliff top lake. Access is restricted at the moment
due to the unstable state of the castles, but it is worth asking if it is possible to visit.
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