Between Kinsale and Skibbereen, the main route west along the coast – the R600 and then the N71 – carves its way across the top of successive peninsulas, touching the sea only at the estuary towns of Timoleague, Clonakilty (often shortened to “Clon”) and Rosscarbery. With names such as the Seven Heads (between Timoleague and Clon) these jagged-edged peninsulas are worth exploring with your own transport and no set destination in mind – crisscrossing minor roads will reveal sheltered coves, wild cliffs and balmy beaches. Clonakilty is the main base here, with the small coastal villages of Courtmacsherry and Glandore, which is handy for one of the country’s finest stone circles at Drombeg, providing picturesque and tranquil alternatives.

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