As a Déise woman, I would probably be hung drawn and quartered for telling people to visit West Cork, but I do. All the time.
West Cork is one of the most beautiful places on earth and we should count our lucky stars that it's only down the road.
Here are just a couple of reasons why everyone should check out West Cork, at least once.
1. The sheer choice of places to visit
One of the best things about West Cork is the size of the area. It has a number of towns, villages and islands.
From Kinsale in the east to Allihies in the west and islands like Cape Clear, Heir, Bere, Sherkin, Cape Clear, Whiddy, Dursey, Long and Garnish dotted along the coast, you have endless options.
2. Dolphin and Whale watching
— Anthony O'Donovan (@anthonyodonovan) March 4, 2018
Surfing, golf, fishing, sailing, kayaking, whale and dolphin watching, cycling, horse and pony riding, walking trails, or a photography holiday, the list goes on.
Most of these can be done with a guide or on your own, depending on how experienced / brave you are.
It's really up to you how much or how little you do but of course we'd recommend trying it all because, why the hell not?
3. The Baltimore beacon
Even when you're finished doing everything you can do, there is still plenty to see and visit.
If you're into history, check out the heritage walk around Baltimore including visit the lifeboat station and view Dún na Séad Castle.
Anybody interested in marine biology must visit Lough Hyne, Ireland’s only Marine Nature Reserve.
Other ideas include: Mizen head, the Baltimore beacon, the famine exhibition at the Skibbereen heritage centre, and Kinsale Sevens.
4. Taste of West Cork
How could I get this far and not mention food? Shameful.
Seafood, fresh local farm produce, and a daycent food festival are all things you have to look forward to when you visit West Cork.
Each of the towns and villages have their own distinct character when it comes to food but the one thing you'll find everywhere is quality.
5. The Sesh
West Cork has a serious offering of good pubs and wine bars with live music.
There are a couple of nightclubs too in the bigger towns but you should seek out places like DeBarras Folk Club in Clonakilty for the sesh.
6. The people and their love for the area
Have you ever gone somewhere and thought the people just suit the place?
That's what I thought when I visited, they seem to be part of West Cork and West Cork seems to be part of them. This sense of belonging to a place amongst people adds to the experience for me.
And of course, they're friendly, hospitable and welcoming too.
It might sound like nonsense but I'm telling ya, it's definitely there.
You could spend your whole life visiting West Cork and still find things to delight in.
I'll give back my county colours now.