Life is sometimes viewed as circular and beach holidays in West Cork are back in vogue.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s many of the local diaspora would return to West Cork for their annual beach holiday. So it was for Felicity’s family, who returned from London each year to holiday in a caravan that used to be on the small headland at the eastern end of Long Strand, Rathbarry. These sorts of holidays fell out of fashion in the last few decades with the increased popularity of overseas vacations.
Travel restrictions in 2020/21 due to COVID-19 forced the Irish at home to re-evaluate their holiday plans and many rediscovered the joys of the ‘staycation’ and the ‘traditional’ West Cork beach holiday. So much so that holiday traditions are being re-established for the new generation. Ballynoe House is finding returning guests booking a year in advance to grab their spot in the southwest.
Surely, Ireland is too cold for a beach holiday?
If recent years are to go by, this is no longer the case. Due to global warming there have been weeks of unbroken summer and autumn sunshine and temperatures are on the up. Even water temperatures, which are fed by the Gulf Stream, make swimming an enjoyable activity without the shivers. In 2022, the water was warm enough for normal swimming up until the end of October and wild swimming is very popular here all year round.
Following the lifting of post-COVID travel restrictions international travel to warmer holiday destinations has started to return. However, meteorological agencies expect 2023 to be in the top 10 of the hottest years on record, based on recent trends, as was 2022. So there is a lot more to consider when planning your annual family getaway.
It is true that international travel has not yet returned to normal, and ‘holidays in the sun’ are no longer as cheap as they were. Destinations such as the Canaries, the Mediterranean or continental Europe are not necessarily the best choice for holidays when you consider soaring and unhealthy temperatures, water shortages, droughts, forest and grassland fires, poor air quality, high UV levels and potential travel disruption. West Cork is an alternative. As it becomes warmer, it is once again ‘cool’.
West Cork is not only accessible for the Irish but also from any UK airport that provides the short direct flight to Cork international airport. This currently includes Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London (Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted), Manchester & Newcastle, and it not so from Amsterdam, Paris, Munich or Rome. So if you live within easy reach of any of these airports you can be in Cork in potentially the same amount of time it may take you to cross the UK or the continent to your usual holiday destination. There are countless empty beaches awaiting you, and Ballynoe House is less than an hour away from Cork airport.
On Instagram, you can check out some reels of our many local beaches without getting your feet wet. Consider us in your holiday planning.
Welcome (back) to West Cork!