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.