Visit the Skibbereen Heritage Centre in West Cork

Skibbereen (population c. 2,000) is a vibrant market town serving a large hinterland. The town as we now know it owes its origins to a raid of Algerian Pirates on nearby Baltimore in 1631, when 100 people were taken as ‘white slaves’. A small number of survivors rowed up the river Ilen to establish the town where it is today. However, there was a much earlier settlement just east of the town, based around the castle of the overlords, the MacCarthys. This wealthy Gaelic family forfeited its estates during the turbulent 17th century. English Planters William Prigg and Samuel Hall were given Market Rights by a 1675 Patent. There was also a Cistercian Abbey on the banks of the Ilen from the 13th century. The name Skibbereen is thought to have derived from ‘skiff’, a type of boat used for crossing the river. Prigg and Hall renamed it New Stapleton; however, it soon reverted to ‘Dear Old Skibbereen’.

What are the opening times?

From March to April, and October, the centre is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 to 18:00 but is closed on Sundays and Mondays. From May to September, it is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 10:00 to 18:00, but is closed on Sundays.

Skibbereen developed into a thriving market town, trading in linen, wool and agricultural products. However, it was devastated by the Great Famine of the 1840s. One million people died and at least another million and a half emigrated during this appalling period of Irish history. As one of the worst-affected areas in all of Ireland, Skibbereen is synonymous with this tragic time. Many of the buildings in the town have direct links to the Famine and there are numerous stories associated with each of these sites. Even today, the horror of this terrible time is palpable at these locations.

The infamous Famine Burial Pits at Abbeystrowry hold the remains of up to 10,000 unidentified victims.

  • Adult – €6.00
  • Senior Citizen – €4.50
  • Student – €4.50
  • Family – €14

Reviews

Be one of the first to add a review!

Please register or log in

Your email will never be passed on to anyone else and helps us validate reviews - many thanks!

Only administrators can add new users.

Things to do nearby

3 miles

Atlantic Sea Kayaking in West Cork

Are you looking to try some kayaking in the West of Cork? Then Atlantic sea diving is the place to be, no matter the time of day or level of ability they will have you covered ...
5 miles

Whale Watching Co. Cork

Have you ever dreamed of whale watching? Head on down to Cork Whale Watch for a once in a lifetime opportunity. When it comes to unique wildlife encounters there are few things as breathtaking and humbling ...
6 miles

Visit Baltimore Castle in Cork

Baltimore Castle, also known as Dún na Séad, is a privately owned 13th century Hall House on the Wild Atlantic Way. Built by the Normans in 1215, it is located in the heart of the historical ...
10 miles

Activity Centre in Co. Cork

Are you looking for the ultimate activity-packed day out with the family? At Smugglers Cove there is an endless supply of fun and exciting activity to enjoy for all. At Smugglers Cove you are spoilt for ...
17 miles

Visit Model Railway Village in West Cork

A fun day out in Clonakilty at West Cork Model Railway Village. A visit to the West Cork Model Railway Village is a treat for all ages. Ireland’s only Model Village in Clonakilty is a fully ...
18 miles

Surfing Lessons in Co. Cork

Ready to get out and active on the open waters? At Inchydoney Island they have a wide range of watersport activities for you to get into and enjoy. For whatever activity you choose to hit the ...
26 miles

Outdoor Activates in Co. Kerry

Want to enjoy some outdoor activities in Ireland? At Star Outdoors you are truly spoilt for choice on fun and exciting activities whether it be watersports, obstacle courses or even cruises they have you covered. Start ...
26 miles

Adventure Centre in Co. Kerry

Looking to have some fun in Co Kerry? How about you give the activities at star Outdoor a go? A purpose-built adventure centre for water sports as well as other adventurous pursuits that have grown immensely ...
26 miles

Visit the Independence Museum in Kilmurry

The village of Kilmurry was a hotbed of rebel activity through the Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War. Now that same determination, including over a decade of voluntary work and persistence, has resulted ...