If you find yourself at a loose end in West Cork on a rainy day, here are ten tried and trusted suggestions to keep cabin fever at bay while you wait for the sunshine to re-appear.
1. The Toy Soldier Factory Visitor Centre, Macroom.
The Toy Soldier Factory Visitor Centre
Address: Kilnamartyra village, Macroom
Eircode: P12 FN79
Phone Number: 026-40342
The Toy Soldier Factory has become popular with all ages as everyone is a big kid at heart when it comes to making toy soldiers, fairies, chess sets and Christmas decorations. The Toy Soldier Factory has a huge range to choose from.
For the painting miniatures workshops, simply pick the miniature of your choice and it will be cast for you as you watch and then you get to paint it and bring it home. Booking for tables of up to eight is available but online pre-booking is required.
The Toy Soldier Factory also produces a variety of starter kits that contain moulds that can be used at home.
2. Cré Pottery Studio, Skibbereen.
Cré Pottery Studio
Address: 8 Market Street, Skibbereen
Eircode: P81 W867
Phone Number: 028-22913
Paint your own pottery. Choose from hundreds of pieces, mugs, plates, unicorns and robots to name just a few.
Cré Pottery has been open for indoor seating again since the 27th July (2021). Tables can be booked for groups of up to six people at the moment. For booking requirements and guidelines visit the website for further details.
Opening hours for summer are from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sundays from 12pm to 4pm. Take-home kits are also available which can make a rainy day at home – or a party – so much more enjoyable and creative.
3. The Treehouse, Skibbereen.
NB. Please note that The Treehouse is temporarily closed due to Covid-19 restrictions and is hoping to be able to be open shortly. Keep an eye on their social media pages for updated info. They are still included on the list as when they open, they are a perfect venue for smallies on a rainy day!
Address: Curragh Commerical Park, Marsh Road, Skibbereen
Eircode: P81 XA40
Phone Number: 028-51699
Website: The Treehouse
The Treehouse Indoor Play & Cafe is a safe, exciting, adventure-filled indoor play area for children and a comfortable and relaxing space for parents and grown ups.
The Treehouse comes with three separate play structures to cater for all different age ranges which include a junior, toddler and crawl area.
To add even more fun, the play centre is also home to a cafe called the Treehouse Cafe.
4. Dunmanway Municipal Pool, Dunmanway.
Dunmanway Municipal Pool
Address: 16 Bantry Road, Tonafora, Dunmanway
Eircode: P47 VH56
Phone Number: 023-8845349
Website: Dunmanway Municipal Pool
Head for a swim at Dunmanway swimming pool which is a state of the art 25m pool and has facilities that include a steam room, sauna, hydrotherapy pool and a kiddies pool. There are spacious changing rooms as well as disability-friendly changing rooms. There is something to be said for getting into the water to get out of the rain!
5. Sam Maguire experience and Visitor Centre, Dunmanway.
Sam Maguire – Experience and Visitor Centre
Address: Main Street, Dunmanway
Phone Number: 087-2390849
The Sam Maguire Passport Trail is a wonderful way to explore Dunmanway and get to know about its most famous son, Sam Maguire.
One of the stops on the trail is at St Mary’s Church where Sam is buried. The visitor experience is open for July and August from 12noon to 4pm from Wednesday to Saturday and at this stop on the trail, one can watch some videos about Sam’s life and ring a few tunes on the Sam Maguire Community Bells.
6. Geocaching, West Cork
Geocaching Ireland was established in 2003 and has become a favourite pastime for many families in the area. It is an activity that combines a love of the outdoors with the use of modern technology – like a treasure hunt that uses a GPS system instead of an old treasure map with an X marked on it. Geocaching can be a great way to spend a rainy afternoon as it gives a family- drive in the car a goal and destination and is an opportunity to get involved in a nationwide game of finding cache and logging finds in the logbook.
To find out more about Geocaching Ireland, visit their website to get an introduction to what it is all about and the do’s and dont’s for placing your own cache.
7. The Park Hotel, Clonakilty.
Clonakilty Park Hotel
Address: Park Road, Clonakilty
Eircode: P85 RD23
Phone Number: 023-8836400
This is the place to be a resident when it rains as the Clonakilty Park Hotel covers all bases for families – especially when its lashing outside!
While the indoor Playzone, Kid’s Camps, Teen Zone and award winning leisure club with 20m swimming pool is available to residents only, the hotel also boasts its own onsite cinema, The Park Cinema, which is a three screen cinema showing all the latest releases and which available to everyone, including non-residents.
8. Bantry Cinemax
Address: The Quays, Bantry
Eircode: P75 YE09
Phone Number: 027-55777
When all else fails – head to the cinema! There are two great ones to choose from in West Cork at present and they are the Cinemax in Bantry and the Park Cinema in Clonakilty.
9. The Michael Collins Centre, Castleview.
Michael Collins Centre
Address: Castleview, Ballinoroher, Clonakilty
Eircode: P85 W865
Phone Number: 023-8846107
At the Michael Collins Centre, visitors can enjoy live illustrated presentations, audiovisuals and an impressive collection of Michael Collins artifacts, memorabilia and photographs. The presentation is told in an engaging way and is very informative and covers everything about Michael Collins from 1906 until his death. There is also a full scale replica of the Ambush site which is well worth seeing.
10. Skibbereen Heritage Centre, Skibbereen.
The Heritage Centre
Address: Old Gasworks Building, Upper Bridge Street, Skibbereen
Eircode: P81 WK06
Phone Number: 028-40900
The Skibbereen Heritage Centre houses two permanent exhibitions – one on the Great Famine and one on Lough Hyne (a saltwater lake situated 5km out of Skibbereen). The Heritage centre also offers a genealogy service for the greater West Cork area.
The Famine Exhibition portrays the Great Famine through the primary source accounts of the time, giving an overview of government policies and how they impacted on the ground. The story unfolds in an interactive way through the dramatisation by actors, including Jeremy Irons, of actual events and people of the time.
The Lough Hyne exhibition explains the uniqueness of the small marine lake which was designated as Europe’s first Marine Nature Reserve in 1981 and has now become one of the most studied marine site in the world.
For those with older children, Escape Rooms are fun and are a great family challenge. Unfortunately the Albatross Escape room in Bantry is closed as the Escape Clonakilty seems to be temporarily closed. If you are willing to travel a bit further, the No Escape in cork has a fantastic game. For information and booking details, visit their website here.