Bantry Bay , Cork

Right down in Southernmost Ireland is a real hidden gem. Discover “Bantry Bay” with Ireland Luxury Tours and a tour of Ireland that is created specially for you…….

Made famous in the song, Bantry Bay in West Cork Ireland is of legendary beauty. Bantry, at the head of the bay, is a busy market town and fishing port.

Bantry Bay was twice entered by French fleets: in 1689 to support James II against William of Orange, in 1796 to aid Wolfe Tone and an Irish uprising. A storm dispersed the 1796 fleet and few of the ships made the Bay.

Bantry House, open to the public, is spectacularly situated and exuberantly furnished. It is one of Ireland’s most attractive Great Houses, full of treasures collected by various generations of Earls of Bantry from all parts of the world. In the courtyard of Bantry House, The French Armada Exhibition Centre has been developed. This features the ill-fated French Armada invasion of December, 1796.

The exhibition centre tells the story of the Armada…….

Over 200 years ago, in the Winter of 1796, a formidable French Armada, inspired by Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen, sailed from Brest in France. Their purpose was to invade Ireland, put an end to British rule and establish an independent Irish republic. Almost 50 warships carried 15,000 soldiers to the Southwest of County Cork.

Stormy chaos reigned and with ship-to ship communication largely disrupted, the invasion foundered the fleet eventually turning about for home. Ten ships were lost….. One of these, the frigate Surveillante ,was too storm-damaged to make the return journey to France. She was scuttled off Whiddy Island and has lain undisturbed for almost 200 years. Rediscovered in 1982, the Surveillante was declared an Irish National Monument in 1985 and the work began on its recovery, conservation and exhibition.

Immerse yourself in the epic adventure of 1796, which includes an individual sound tour, complete with accompanying music and sound effects, available in a choice of different languages. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a giant 1 to 6 scale model of the frigate in cross-section, showing her construction and the various activities that were happening on board, vividly illustrating life in the French Navy 200 years ago. A life-size “Wolfe Tone” is shown in his cabin and extracts from his journal help bring the whole epoch story to life as visitors are taken through the sequence of events that occurred during those fateful days and nights…..

Any tour of Ireland should consider a visit…..Why not learn the famous Bantry Bay song…..

“As I’m sitting all alone in the gloaming,
It might have been but yesterday.
That we watched the fisher’s sails all homing,
Till the little herring fleet at anchor lay.
Then the fisher girls with baskets swinging,
Came running down the old stone way.
Every lassie to her sailor lad was singing,
Ah welcome back to Bantry Bay.

Then we heard the pipers sweet note tuning,
And all the lassies turned to hear.
As they mingled with a soft voice crooning.
Till the music floated down the wooden pier.
Save you kindly, colleens all, said the piper
Hands across and trip it while I play.
And the tender sound of song and merry dancing,
Stole softly over Bantry Bay.

As I’m sitting all alone in the gloaming,
The shawdows of the past draw near.
And I see the lovely faces round me
That used to glad the old front pier.
Some have gone upon their last logged homing,
Some are left, but they are old and grey.
And we’re waiting for the tide in the gloaming.
To sail upon the great highway.
To an isle of rest unending.
Called peacefully from Bantry Bay. “