This post has more photos than usual as it combines a few things we did in one go in the lovely little town of Kilbrittain. Kilbrittain is only about 5 miles out of Bandon and has some beautiful walks and amenities to its credit. There are 4 official walks around Kilbrittain known as the Kilbrittain Trails – the walks range from the Castle Walk (which is 3.7km to the longer Kiln Walk which is 14.5km). At the time, we did not have a brochure, and didn’t want to accidentally start a marathon walk, so we just explored around the amenity area and immediate woodlands.
The most unique thing is the entire skeleton of a Fin whale which is on public display near the playground. The whale was beached nearby in 2009 and its jaw alone is 18ft long. The entire whale is over 65 ft long and its a fascinating opportunity to see how large they are close up and personal.
Behind where the whale is on display, is a lovely picnic area and playground. From there we did the Castle Walk which winds along a lovely little wooded path until you come to the gates of Kilbrittain Castle
I didn’t get a great photo of the castle (although you have a good view of it from the gate) but instead included the above photo with the interesting History and facts about Kilbrittain Castle. For instance, it is the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland said to date back from 1035.
With small kiddies, you could turn at the gates and go back the way you came towards the playground. We decided to cross the road and follow a trail we found in the forest recreation area.
We were very aware that we didn’t have a map with us and weren’t prepared to end up on an accidentally longer walk than intended, so we just decided to follow the main path through the woods.
Eventually, we seemed to have formed a good loop and came out near the road/main entrance but not before we found a gorgeous little waterfall and paddling area in the woods.
We re-traced our steps and crossed the road back to the castle and went through the gap in the wall – which led us back along the way we had come through the little woodland and back towards the playground.
We played for hours on the zip lines at the playground and when all our energy was completely exhausted, we started to make our way back past the whale and to where we parked our car.
A little shop across the road from the whale sells the most generous ice-creams in summer. Not only the kids loved them – but by the time we got the car, we were competing with sugar crazed wasps as well!
All in all, we feel as if we only sampled a small bit of what the Kilbrittain Trails have to offer and would love to go back and do the rest of the walks. Here is a quick overview of them according to their website http://www.kilbrittaintrails.ie
THE CASTLE WALK -RED 3.7km
This route heads north – around quiet country roads in a loop returning down to the village and through the Village Park to the Castle gate, returning to the village either along the main road or via the Village Park.
THE ESTUARY LOOP- BLUE-7km
Starting at the Village Park walk west through the village, turn left at the church & follow the blue arrows along quiet country roads, past rolling hills and lovely views of Coolmain Bay, returning to the village to the Castle gate via the woodland trail back to the Village Park.
THE RATHCLAREN LOOP -YELLOW -9km
Starting at the Village Park walk west through the village turning left at the church & follow the Yellow arrows along lovely quiet country roads, past the Trinity Well and beautiful Rathclarin Church, this route has stunning views over the estuary, returning to the village to the Castle gate via the woodland trail back to the Amenity Park..
THE KILN WALK- GREEN -14.5 km
Starting at the amenity park walk west through the village turning left at St. Patrick’s church, follow the Green arrows west towards Timoleague, past the ruins of Cloundereen Church After 6 km head south to Courtmacsherry Bay – the return to Kilbrittain along quiet roads with spectacular views over the bays and strands.