Most Beautiful Bays in West Cork

The coastal region of southwest Ireland that encompasses the area west of the city of Cork is known as West Cork. The area is feted for some of the most beautiful and rugged coastlines in the world. Stretching along the Atlantic coastline or Ireland, its coastal waters form a land connection with part of the Celtic Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

The coastline is dotted with over a dozen large and small bays, inlets, islands, and peninsulas. The topography includes rolling green hills, sea cliffs, sandy beaches and rocky shores, and with the rich Irish culture behind it they are landmarks to plenty of myths and stories.

If you like the idea of wandering the beautiful coast of Cork, maybe as a staycation or a romantic weekend, you’ll find lots of gorgeous spots to see, but these are our three favourites. Read on to find out where the best bays in West Cork are.

Bantry Bay

One of the largest bays in the region, spanning 30 miles across, Bantry Bay is famed for being the biggest in West Cork. It’s located in a strategic spot between the Sheep’s Head and Beara peninsulas and dotted with islands like Bere, Whiddy, and Dursey Island. It’s known for its deep harbour and has served as an important port for fishing and trade for centuries. It’s said that the bay was created when a magical harpist called O’Driscoll flooded the valley to create the bay. He wanted to make a beautiful home for his beloved, a mermaid.

If you’re looking for adventure, the town of Bantry located on the bay is a popular tourist destination and a great place to find a holiday home in West Cork for the duration of your stay. You can enjoy a range of fun activities including whale watching, dolphin spotting and boat trips to the islands. If you are into fishing, you will be spoilt for choice.

Roaringwater Bay

Despite what its name suggests, Roaringwater Bay is a protected bay with many inlets and islands along the coastline. Its waters are sheltered between long peninsulas jutting out into the ocean. Legend says the bay got its name from the roaring sounds of the sea in the caves along the coast. This has prompted ancient tales that describe hellhound creatures that caused the roaring sounds.

However, there are also sandy beaches tucked into coves, sea arches, interesting rock formations, and abundance of wildlife that are less fierce than hounds, such as seals, dolphins, and whales.

Island towns like Schull and Crookhaven have wonderful views of the bay. Visitors can take ferry rides to some of the islands to spot some of the birds and aquatic creatures.

Dunmanus Bay

A quiet, rural bay punctuated by small fishing villages, Dunmanus Bay feels remote and untouched by tourism. Mythology tells us that this bay was a gateway for the legendary warrior queen Maeve to depart Ireland with ships full of soldiers for battle.

Along the coastline there are sea cliffs, sandy coves, and beautiful coastal walks with panoramic views of the bay. Plus, there are also historic sites nearby, including the ruins of Dunmanus Castle overlooking the bay.


If you’re looking for an adventure in a trip, West Cork is a great place to get lost in an adventure of the heart and soul, an adventure that will long be remembered for all the right reasons.