The West Cork islands inspire great creativity. And there’s a packed programme of creative events for you to dip in to this summer!
Check out our list of some of the most exciting creative things to do on our West Cork islands in the months ahead.
1) Learn to Sing with an Expert Vocal Coach
Workshops run from 15 – 27 July (Sherkin Island)
Find your voice in a wonderful week of vocal workshops with expert vocal coach, Brian Clickner. There are weeks set aside for beginners as well as more experienced singers. Brian is a professional singer, voice teacher and Music Director who currently serves on the faculty of SUNY Brockport in New York. An advanced workshop takes place on Sherkin the following week!
Find out more.
2) Pop-Up Choir Days on Heir and Sherkin Islands
22 July (Heir) | 11 August (Sherkin)
Come along and sing for fun on one of two pop-up choir days on the West Cork islands. Take this opportunity to tune up your voice in a spectacular island setting.
Find out more.
3) Reading on Whiddy Island – West Cork Literary Festival
15 July (Whiddy Island)
All aboard the ferry to Whiddy Island for this special event where we celebrate Bantry Bay, the sea beyond and the poetic beauty of West Cork as part of the West Cork Literary Festival. On this year’s trip to Whiddy we are joined by Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of the magnificent bestselling debut The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.
Find out more
4) Travel and Nature Writing Workshop with Philip Hoare
17 – 19 July (Whiddy Island)
Whiddy Island is the perfect setting for the West Cork Literary Festival’s 3-day travel and nature-writing workshop with Philip Hoare. His book Leviathan or, The Whale won the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction. It was followed in 2013 by The Sea Inside. His new book, RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, has been shortlisted for the 2018 Stanford Travel Writing Prize.
Find out more.
5) West Cork Fit-Up Theatre Festival
July – August (Bere, Heir, Sherkin and Whiddy islands)
One of the highlights of a West Cork summer is the opportunity to see great actors putting on wonderful performances against the backdrop of a West Cork island. We’ll post details of theatre performances on Bere, Heir, Sherkin and Whiddy islands on our events calendar just as soon as the programme becomes available!
6) A Celebration of Renowned Artist, Percy Hall
28 – 29 July (Heir Island)
In 1963, Percy Hall came to West Cork on holiday and fell in love with the islands of Roaringwater Bay. Now Heir Island will host a celebration of his work, with music on offer from Barefoot Baroque too!
Find out more
7) Paintbrush Meets Lens [Art & Photography Exhibition]
28 July – 10 August (Sherkin Island)
Paintbrush meets Lens is an intriguing joint exhibition of work by photographer Robbie Murphy and painter Jo Ashby on West Cork’s Sherkin Island.
Find out more.
8) Out of the Blue – Art Exhibition
28 July – 28 August (Bere Island)
Bere Island’s local artists are set to stage an exhibition of their work. Find out more.
9) Cape Clear Story-Telling Festival
31 August – 2 September (Cape Clear)
The Cape Clear Story-Telling Festival celebrates one of the world’s oldest art forms. It brings story-tellers and listeners together for amazing experiences in the unique setting of Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island.
Find out more
10) The Palette & the Plate: A Sherkin Island Guided Art Tour
14 September (Sherkin)
Explore the links between the palette and the plate as Sherkin Island’s artists invite you into their galleries on a tour as part of A Taste of West Cork Festival 2018. It’s a wonderful way to gain an insight into island life and the creativity it inspires.
Find out more
Of course, there are more than 10 creative things to do on the West Cork islands this summer …
11) Visit an Island Art Gallery
A visit to the Island Art Gallery on Heir Island – open all summer – or visits to the art studios on Sherkin Island are lovely things to do.
You’re sure to be inspired by our creative communities when you visit our West Cork islands. Join one of the wonderful creative events on the West Cork islands and be part of our glorious and inspiring summer!
We’re working with Cork Sports Partnership to promote active events on the islands
As part of that work, we’re collecting data on each event so that visitors to our site can receive fairly standardised information about each event. Please fill in the form below with your event details.
After you submit the form, we’ll turn it into a public post with a data table attached.
You’ll then have the opportunity to check that all of the details are right. We’re hoping that the information here will help you to attract more visitors to your event in 2017!
Heritage Week 2016 is a fantastic excuse to head out to the West Cork islands!
Discover the often surprising stories of our islands and Ireland’s past with the help of local guides and expert historians between August 20th and 28th!
Celebrate the Celtic Festival of Lughnasadh
20/21 August – Bere Island
Learn about the rich folklore & cultural traditions surrounding Lughnasadh – one of Ireland’s traditional Celtic festivals – during a wonderful weekend on Bere Island. Lughnasadh traditionally marked the start of autumn in the Celtic calendar year, and this festival investigates the ideas and traditions bound up with this transition from summer.
Discover Lughnasadh’s traditions and customs with UCC Folklorist Dr Marie Annick Desplanques. Enjoy an illustrated talk by Paula Barret on Turf Projects, which captures the quality of light and colour provided by the Irish landscape. And explore the island’s unique architecture and archaeology as island guide Barry Hanley leads you on a guided walk through the island’s extraordinary history.
Check out the full programme
Learn the Craft of Basket-Making
21 August – Bere Island
Included in the Lughnasadh Festival is the chance to learn basket-making with Lynn Kirkham.
Learn one of the most popuar crafts of times gone by in thi absorbing workshop with renowned craftswoman Lynn Kirkham (Price: €35 per person. BOOKING ESSENTIAL) – Call 027 75099 to reserve a place or use the booking form on the event page to book online.
It’s your chance to connect with the rhythms and rituals that helped mark the progress of the Celtic year throughout the centuries.
Walk in the Footsteps of Botanist Ellen Hutchins
Ellen Hutchins was Ireland’s first celebrated female botanist, and the Ballylickey scientist had a strong connection with Whiddy Island where she spent time identifying and sketching previously uncatalogued plants.
Ellen’s life is being explored in the award-winning Ellen Hutchins Festival, and this event gives you the chance to explore the seaweeds on the shores of Whiddy Island with Dr Susan Steele.
Find Out More
Bere Island Heritage Bus Tour
25 August – Bere Island
Bere island lies at the entrance to the magnificent Bantry Bay and guards the deep water harbour of Berehaven. Due to its strategic location, Bere Island has played an important role in Ireland’s story over the centuries.
The island is rich in archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to Medieval times, including ring forts, standing stones, wedge tombs and burial sites.
The Bere Island Heritage Bus Tour in Heritage Week will run run each Thursday and alternate between the East and West Ends of Bere Island, taking in sights such as the island’s Martello towers and the traces of the island’s military past.
Find out more
Visit Island Museums & Heritage Sites
Of course there are lots of heritage sites to visit on the West Cork islands throughout the year, from the Franciscan Abbey on Sherkin Island to the miltary heritage sites on Bere Island. Visits to Cape Clear’s museum and the Bere Island Heritage Centre are also worthwhile.
To keep up to date with events on the West Cork islands, why not sign up for our email newsletter?
(Photos: Anne Marie Cronin)
Bere Island’s first cruise tour visitors called to the island on Thursday on the MS Bremen and enjoyed a great day’s exploring!
Some of the visitors set out on bikes or on foot to discover the island for themselves and discovered the island’s fantastic views over Bantry Bay and the island’s neighbouring peninsulas.
Others gathered at the island’s heritage centre where local musicians greeted them with some wonderful traditional Irish music.
Bread-making, pint-pouring, and lots more music played their part in what was a wonderful morning. The visitors enjoyed the opportunity to meet the locals and learn about how island life has changed over the centuries.
It’s an exciting development for Bere Island which is benefitting from international enthusiasm for Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and Cork County Council’s initiative to attract small cruise ships to West Cork.
The island looks forward to playing host to MS Bremen and other small cruise ships in the months and years ahead.
Cruise Director MS Bremen: “Thanks to each and everyone who put so much effort into having us that morning. … We hope that we will be back soon! It was really great, the music following us, the buses, the people, just everything!
Sherkin Creates is a community art exhibition set to showcase the wonderful creative talent on West Cork’s Sherkin Island
The exhibition opens in the Sherkin Island Community Hall at 2:30pm on Saturday 18th June. Part of the West Cork Islands ‘Summer on the Islands’ Festival, the exhibition will be curated by Sherkin Island painter, Jo Ashby.
It will include a wide variety of arts and crafts, ranging from drawings, paintings, and sculpture to photography, basket-weaving, textiles, and jewellery – all made by island residents.
The exhibition will run on 18th, 19th, 24th, 25th and 26th June and on the 1st and 2nd July.
Images of Islanders
An interesting facet of the ‘Sherkin Creates’ exhibition is that it will feature photographs of islanders themselves.
The images will be displayed around the Community Hall in the form of an undulating stream of images.
Jo Ashby explained:”We are inviting the entire island community to take pictures of each other going about their daily business, as well as while they are creating, to promote greater community participation and to give a sense of daily island life.”
“The images will circle the exhibition space to show the strong creative thread that binds us all on Sherkin Island.”
There will also be opportunities for visitors to join in practical sessions in the Community Hall, such as a photography demonstration and a knitting session.
Aisling Moran, West Cork Development Worker, said: “We are extremely grateful to Fáilte Ireland for their support of the West Cork Islands Festival and to Cork County Council’s Art Department for their support with our Sherkin Creates exhibition.”
“It promises to be a great weekend, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to the island. An added bonus is that artists will also be opening their studios to visitors over the opening weekend”.
“And there will be a heritage photographic exhibition showing Sherkin Island images of historic and social interest so there is something for everyone.”
A regular ferry service runs from Baltimore to Sherkin Island.