Cruise TourismBantry Bay is a unique and beautiful Irish stop for cruise line visitors
Bantry has a growing cruise business welcoming predominantly smaller, expedition style cruise ships to West Cork along the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way. A stop in Bantry Bay offers two harbours – Bantry and Glengarriff, both with a long tradition of welcoming discerning cruise ship visitors. On average, Bantry welcomes 10 or more cruise liners annually, bringing over 5,000 cruise passengers to the town and surrounding area. Cruise passengers receive a traditional Irish welcome as they step ashore in Bantry to explore the town to enjoy the abundance of restaurants, Irish pubs, local crafts shops and attractions.
The harbour town of Bantry and the picturesque village of Glengarriff both epitomise the very best of West Cork and offer a truly Irish experience. Visitors enjoy a mix of traditional and modern life, culture and history, rugged mountain scenery amidst sparkling coastal landscapes, all nestled along the famous Wild Atlantic Way. People here value the good things in life, their welcome is warm-hearted and kind.
We have many onshore excursions to offer, you will find a sample below and can contact us for more detailed information.
Harbour information and berthing details are available from Bantry Bay Port Company.
Why Visit Bantry Bay?
Enjoy a taste of Irish culture with traditional Irish music and dance on arrival to the shore
Meet the Irish Locals
Experience the warmth and humour of the Bantry and West Cork people. Undoubtedly a memorable and authentic Irish experience
Last Port before the Atlantic
Bantry Bay is the last southwest port and the perfect Irish stop
Picturesque Irish Scenery
Breathtaking seascapes and landscapes abound as Bantry is part of the world-renowned Wild Atlantic Way touring route
Inner & Outer Harbours
Choose from Bantry and Glengarriff harbours in Bantry Bay
Choice of Shore Excursions
Experience this part of Ireland through historic stately homes, iconic gardens, boat trips, food experiences and culture
Bantry House & Gardens
Surrounded by formal gardens this stunning 18th century mansion, once the home of the Earl of Bantry, sits on the southern shores of Bantry Bay.
It contains an eclectic mix of furnishings, paintings, artefacts and antiques from around the world, gathered by the 2nd Earl and his wife as they travelled on a grand European and Russian tour in 1820’s. A pair of tapestries made to celebrate the marriage of Marie Antoinette to the Dauphin of France is one antique which adorns the stunning drawing room.
Visit Bantry House & Gardens
Bantry Golf Club
Bantry Bay Golf Club is 2km from Bantry on the N71 to Glengarriff. The 170 acre Bantry Bay Golf Club is a Christy O’Connor Junior and Eddie Hackett designed USGA standard course, located, a short drive outside Bantry town.
Bantry Bay Golf Club features an 18 hole Championship golf course, which is open year round. It is situated in a very scenic setting with 14 holes overlooking Bantry Bay. There are lovely sea views to the Islands and the Beara mountains.
Visit Bantry Bay Golf Club
Resting between the peninsulas in Bantry Bay and a short ferry ride from Bantry harbour, lies a beautiful gem, Whiddy Island.
The island is the perfect place to enjoy a guided walk to immerse in stunning Irish tranquility, explore it’s rich naval history and historical ruins which date as far back as the 1500’s. Plenty of options to enjoy fresh local seafood, learn how to make Irish soda bread or have an Irish Whiskey tasting experience.
Visit Whiddy Island
Boat Tour in Bantry Bay
Experience the Wild Atlantic Way from a different perspective as you self-drive your own powerboat and taste fresh local seafood.
Explore points of interest in Bantry Bay, visit lobster pots, learn about Bantry Bay mussel farms, scallop fishing and enjoy a brief history of the area. Visit the historic Whiddy Island for a sharing bowl of freshly cooked Bantry Bay Mussels or a Seafood Platter, served with homemade Irish brown bread and a glass of Irish stout or a West Cork craft beer.
Visit Bantry Bay Seafood Tour
Situated in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff, this garden paradise has a history dating back 100 years. Its renowned gardens are laid out in beautiful walks and feature a Martello Tower, a Grecian Temple and Italian Gardens and specimen plants which are rare in this climate.
You will pass Seal Island on the short ferry ride so will possibly ecounter seals taking a break in the sunshine or maybe see the resident nesting White Tailed Sea Eagles en route.
Visit Garinish Island
The Sheep’s Head Way
The Sheep’s Head Way is a stunning walking, hiking or scenic driving route on the Sheep’s Head Penninsula.
Offering breathtaking scenery out over Bantry Bay, it also features the remains of an old copper mine, a blow hole, stone circles, standing stones, high cliffs, a Napoleonic signal tower, old churches and The Sheep’s Head lighthouse.
Visit The Sheep’s Head Way
In the 6th century, in this very beautiful location in the heart of a peaceful valley, legend has it that St. Finbarr, patron saint of Cork, was led by an angel to the source of the River Lee. Here, he founded a monastery, the remains of which and its ancient prayer cells can still be seen today.
Today, a tiny oratory built on an island, surely one of Ireland’s most photographed, greets the visitor as they arrive to this breath-taking and magical place.
Visit Gougane Barra
The Beara Way
The Beara Way is perhaps one of the most untouched and unspoilt parts of the southern region of Ireland. Guided walking routes along this historic trail offer panoramic views across the Beara Peninsula.
Experience Irish culture in the picturesque towns and villages you encounter, traditional music, great food, stone circles and historic standing stones.
Visit The Beara Way
At the tip of The Beara Peninsula lies Dursey Island, one of the few inhabited islands of the southwest coast. Travel to the island is via Ireland’s only cable car which takes you across the scenic waters of the Dursey Sound.
Dolphins and whales are regular visitors to the rich waters that surround Dursey, in addition to a wide range of different types of seabirds and butterflies found on the island.
Visit Dursey Island
The Beara Peninsula
The Beara Peninsula’s spectacular scenery is framed by the Caha Mountains that form a spine along the peninsula and its remote beaches and rugged coastline on either side.
This less well known of Ireland’s “Rings” rewards visitors with a mixture of market towns and working fishing ports, colourful villages and the spectacular winding Healy Pass connecting Cork and Kerry. It boasts more ancient monuments than anywhere else in Ireland.
Visit The Beara Peninsula
The Mizen Head
At the end of the Mizen Peninsula, the cliffs of Mizen Head rise high above the Atlantic Ocean, where the currents meet from the west and south coasts and waves from the mid-Atlantic crash into the land.
Visit the award-winning Signal Station at Ireland’s most Southwesterly Point, walk the iconic bridge across the gorge, enjoy spectacular seascape views and watch out for seals, dolphins and even whales out in the ocean.
Visit Mizen Head
The Ewe Experience
The Ewe Experience is a sculpture garden and gallery – a unique combination of nature and art. It is Ireland’s only interactive & interpretive sculpture garden amid a waterfall oasis.
Explore the meandering pathways where curious creatures gaze back as you pass. Take the Evolution Walk through the Valley of Eden, weave your way over bridges, past humorous sculptures and discover a surprise at every turn. The creative haven of about six acres has been designed in four very different tiers up a mountainside – each with a theme: Water, Time, The Environment and Ancient Earth.
Visit The Ewe Experience
Skibbereen Heritage Centre
Skibbereen Heritage Centre is not far from Bantry and is visited by many tracing their geneology. The centre tells in detail the story of the impact of the Irish Famine of 1841, recognised now as the worst humanitarian disaster of 19th century Europe.
The story is told through engaging audio visual and pictorial illustration, complemented by the wonderful local historians and guides who take much pride in sharing with visitors. It is an interesting, award winning experience for young and old alike and vividly brings to life this defining time in Irish history when 1 million people perished and another million emigrated.