Saturday 24 March 2018

Weekender: Ideal west Cork weekend


Lough Hyne
Lough Hyne

Sarah Caden

Balance is key to a weekend away. In west Cork, the places to indulge spring easily to mind, but balancing out the indulgence sends you home with more of a weekend-away glow.

First stop, Innishannon and Rohu's Country Market. Don't be tempted to get a garage coffee before this. Rohu's have good coffee, gorgeous millionaire's shortbread, lovely local eggs and honey. Just don't get killed crossing the main road to get to it.

July and August are the best times of the year for swimming through the bioluminescence in Lough Hyne, pictured, five miles outside Skibbereen on the road to Baltimore. This marine lake always makes for a life-affirming swimming spot, but, by night, under a new moon, when it's good and dark, you cut through the phytoplankton to send sparks of light shooting through the water like fireworks. Indescribably beautiful, and a more romantic night out than any in a pub.

Skibbereen market on a Saturday has sweet treats to give Gwyneth Paltrow a run for her get-the-glow money. It's hard to choose between the stalls of Rebel Foods or Kitty's Kitchen. At the former, there is a fudgy, date-and-almond layer cake, and at the latter, a salty, crunchy chocolate slice that has, if I'm not mistaken, seaweed sprinkles.

It's an all-out weekend, so try both.

It's about 3km from Sherkin Island pier to Sherkin North Shore, where they have rooms and a delicious polenta and lemon cake. A swim on adjacent Silver Strand might burn off some of the calories accrued, what with it being weekend of balance and all.

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