On the southwest coast of Ireland, nestled within its namesake bay lies the market town of Bantry. Surrounded by forests, mountains and sea, this small tidy town has a rich history.
Centuries back, Bantry gained recognition as a fishing town, attracting fleets from Spain, France and the Netherlands. In the late eighteen hundreds, with the help of the French Republicans, the followers of Theobald Wolfe Tone hoped to bring about a revolution and to overthrow British Rule. However, the French fleets never made it into Bantry Bay due to weather conditions, and Richard White, a local land owner, was named the Baron of Bantry in 1797 by a British administration that recognised his efforts in preparing local defences against the French. In later years the Baron became the first Earl of Bantry, and the magnificent Bantry House and Gardens were at his family’s disposal.
During the Irish War of Independence several buildings in town were firebombed by the British forces. The names of those killed were listed on the wall of the former court house in Wolfe Tone Square.
Some years later, Gulf Oil, started using Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay as an oil terminal. In 1979, 49 people were killed as the oil tanker Betelegeuse exploded. Though the storage tanks were not affected, 250 employees lost their jobs and the fishing industry was negatively impacted. (During the First Gulf War, the Irish government arranged for oil to be stored at the local terminal in case of a disruption to the oil supplies. By 1998, the terminal was fully functional and was handed off by the state to several American oil companies.) Fortunately Bantry was successful in establishing a mussel-farming industry after these events.
Today Bantry is becoming known as a popular tourist destination. With breath-taking splendour of mountain scenery, hilly pastures, meandering streams, lakes and woods, visitors can find peace and tranquillity in this town.
For those eager to explore, The Beara Peninsula, The Sheep’s Head or in Irish (Muintir Bhaire) Peninsula and The Mizen Peninsula offer numerous touring opportunities.
Voltage in Bantry
The voltage in Bantry is 240 volts. However, if you are traveling from outside Ireland or the U.K. you might need a converter plug. These are for sale in electrical outlets and airports, and also at some of the shops here in town.
Bantry town and the immediate area around it has a population of approx. 3,300. In the entire Bantry electoral area, which covers most of the coast from Glengarriff to Cape Clear, the population has grown to 21,000.
Tourist Office in Bantry
There is a tourist office in Bantry. It is located on the western side of Wolfe Tone Square. It is open during the tourist season and provides information about Bantry and its surroundings.
Every Friday there is a market in Bantry, surrounding Wolfe Tone Square. Local produce such as fresh vegetables, potatoes, cheeses and breads can be bought here, while you stroll around in the friendly atmosphere of farmers, artists, and pop-up restaurants.
There are two banks in Bantry. There is a Bank Of Ireland which is situated near the Supervalu. There is also an AIB which is located just opposite Wolf Tone Square. Both banks have ATM’s and also have foreign exchange facilities. There are also ATMs in some of the shops in town.
The emergency number is 999 for Gardai, Fire Department, Ambulance. (The EU 112 will also work)
South Doc (off-hours medic) 1850-335-999
Bantry Gardai (Police) 027-20860
Bantry General Hospital 027-50133
How to Get Here
The best way to get to Bantry is by car. There are plenty of filling stations in the region, and the town is only 90km from Cork City. Car rental and taxi services are available locally.
There is no train connection to Bantry. There is a regular bus service from Cork City, with an express service during the summer.
Bus Eireann is the National bus service for Ireland. The Bus Eireann has an online journey planner and on line ticket sales. Bus Eireann departs from Bantry on a daily basis. Bus Eireann also arrives from Cork each day.
Located a 75 minute drive from Bantry town, Cork Airport (ORK) is much closer to Bantry than Dublin or Shannon Airports.
Kerry Airport: +353-(0)21-431-3131