There's a strong tradition of art and culture throughout the South West. Kerry, over the past century, was something of a breeding ground for authors and playwrights, including John B. Keane, Maurice Walsh, and Con Houlihan. Cork, even to this day, likes to see itself as a cultural anomaly, with its own slang, musical heroes and iconic venues (the now-closed down Sir Henry's to name but one). Cork City's Opera House and Marquee Summer Concerts are where you'll find the international artists, but taking a stroll off the beaten track will help you discover the real culture of the region. Below we have listed a few of our favourite cultural destinations of the South West.
Counties Cork, Kerry and Limerick have always had a strong literary tradition. Frank O'Connor, John B.Keane and Kate O'Brien being just some of the authors born in these counties, respectively. You can feel the scene of pride the Southwest has in their literary heroes through plagues, street art, and general conversations with the locals. Below are the three main libraries of the region. Keep an eye out though, as most towns of the Southwest will have at least one bookshop.
Ireland's most extensive and impressive art gallery, outside of Dublin, is found in Cork City. The Crawford Art Gallery is a visual arts gallery specialising in historic and contemporary works and welcomed 265,438 in 2019 alone. There are a number of smaller more intimate galleries found across the region and it is not uncommon for some wine bars and coffee shops to host pop-up exhibitions. These are usually only advertised a week or so in advance and, sometimes, only through word of mouth.
The Southwest has a great selection of live music venues. There's everything from stadia, welcoming international pop stars every summer, to intimate 20 seater venues, showcasing up and coming local acts, and everything in between. No matter what your live music needs may be, you're never too far from satisfying them in the Southwest of Ireland.
Adare is a small town in Co. Limerick, known for its quaint and colourful thatched cottages. Adare is considered to be one of Ireland's most beautiful towns so stop and take in the view. Don't forget your camera today - the perfect chance to capture the essence of old Ireland.
Explore Adare Village along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Take a journey through this once troubled city. See the murals of the Loyalist Shankill Road & Nationalist Falls Road. The Troubles took their toll on the economic life of Belfast, but the past ten years of peace have returned much prosperity while the genuine friendliness of the city never left.
Originally built in 1823, Blarney Woollen Mills was mainly used for the spinning and weaving of wool. After it closed in 1973, it reopened in 1975 — as an Irish heritage shop.
The Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre commemorates the last pitched battle fought on British soil, in April 1746. Learn more about the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and return the House of Stuart to the British throne.
Located within Glenveagh National Park, Glenveagh Castle was built by Captain John George Adair between 1870 and 1873. Having made his fortune through land speculation in America, Adair return to Ireland and began large amounts of land in County Donegal. The castle was built in the Scottish Baronial style and is surrounded by a garden and commands stunning views of the nearby mountains, lakes, woodlands and valleys.
About Highland Folk Museum is a museum and open-air attraction located in the Scottish Highlands. It is designed to showcase the domestic and working lives of the early highland people.
Located alongside the River Shannon in County Limerick, on King's Island. Dating back to 922, to a time when Vikings were the inhabitants of the island (Thormodr Helgason, the Viking sea-king, built the first settlement here. The castle itself was built in 1200, under the instruction of King John of England.
Located close to the Killarney National Park, Moriarty's is an Authentic Irish Gift Store and Restaurant. Hand crafted Irish jewellery, Waterford Crystal and classic and modern tweed fashions and furnishings are all on offer at the gift store. The restaurant is an 85 seater offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Mount Congreve Gardens. Located in Kilmeaden, County Waterford, Mount Congreve Gardens is an 18th century Georgian estate and mansion. It was designed by the same architect that created both of Waterford's cathedrals, John Roberts.
Recently recognised as being one of the top 10 gardens in the world, Mount Stewart is a rich tapestry of planting plant life and stunning walking trails. The house dates back to the 19th century, and was the Irish seat of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family.
Located on the grounds of the expansive and idyllic Killarney National Park. Muckross House, and its 11,000-acre grounds, was donated to the Irish state in 1932.
Located on the grounds of the picturesque Muckross House and its impeccable gardens. Take a step back in time and see the Irish farming lifestyle of the 1930s and '40s. A time when the horse was responsible for much of the labour and the weather was the be all and end all in terms of production.
The Quiet Man Museum. A reproduction of the quaint thatched cottage from the John Wayne starring, John Ford directed movie of the same name. all costumes, artifacts and furnishings have been recreated in precise detail, to reflect the setting of the 1952 classic. Located in the picturesque village of Cong, County Mayo.