There are plenty of things to do in Rosscarbery, regardless of when you visit.
The idyllic little village of Rosscarbery sits on a shallow estuary overlooking a sandy inlet of West Corks coastline.
This is one of our favourite towns in Cork for exploring this corner of the county, and the area makes a great base for a road trip.
In the guide below, you’ll discover lots of things to do in Rosscarbery along with heaps of places to explore nearby.
Our favourite things to do in Rosscarbery
The first section of our guide tackles our favourite things to do in Rosscarbery, from food and beaches to some of the most popular places to visit in West Cork.
The second section of the guide tackles things to do near Rosscarbery (within a reasonable driving distance, that is!)
1. Kick start your visit with something tasty from the C.R.A.F.T coffee truck
This quirky food truck serves up artisan street food with a menu that boast a clatter of adventurous and colorful items to munch away on.
The ‘Morning Fuel’ menu has everything from coffee to crepes, while the brunch menu boasts American style pancakes, hot chicken rolls and much more.
On Fridays and Saturdays (between 16:00 and 20:00), there’s the Grab & Go dinner, where you can try the Thai yellow seafood curry or pork belly carnitas.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best restaurants in Rosscarbery (from fancy feeds to cheap and tasty eats)
2. Then head for a ramble along Warren Beach
You can’t visit Rosscarbery without visiting at least one beach and, luckily enough, a couple of the best beaches in West Cork are located just down the road.
Warren Beach lays a little off-the-beaten-path and the result is that, if you rock up nice and early, you’ll often have the whole place to yourself.
The beach is backed by sand dunes and is lifeguarded during bathing season, there is a car park nearby and toilet facilities onsite. There’s also a nice cliff walk that leads over to Owenahincha – one of the best beaches in Cork.
3. Hit the water with Lagoon Activity Centre
The lagoon in Rosscarbery isn’t just for looking at, it’s also for playing in! This is where the Lagoon Activity Centre comes in.
The centre gives you the chance to rent equipment, like kayaks, or stand up paddle boards (see photo above).
If you don’t fancy hopping in the water, you can relax on the over water deck or pier while sipping coffee from the beach hut café.
If you’re looking for things to do in Rosscarbery with friends, this place should be right up your street.
Related read: Check out our guide to the best places to stay and hotels in Rosscarbery (something to suit most budgets)
4. Take a wildlife tour
Yes, you can try whale watching in Cork and, at times, see everything from fin whales and humpbacks to basking sharks, dolphins and more.
The nearest whale watch tour to Rosscarbery (Cork Whale Watch) leaves from Union Hall, a short, 20-minute drive away.
Although you’re not guaranteed to see whales on any of the tours, there have been many sightings over the years and the tours take place when whales tend to be in the area.
Things to do near Rosscarbery
Now that we have our favourites out of the way, it’s time to look at some other great activities and places to visit in Rosscarbery and close by.
Below, you’ll find everything from Inchydoney Beach and Drombeg Stone Cirlce to walks, hikes and much more.
1. Inchydoney Beach
Inchydoney Beach comes in two separate sections divided by the Virgin Mary headland. It’s well known for its pristine sand, backed by dunes and lush countryside.
The swell is ideal for anyone who loves to surf though there is a surf school on the beach too (a perfect opportunity for in case you want to learn).
During the summer season, the Blue Flag beach is lifeguarded, but parking can be an issue as this is one of the more popular beaches in Cork (more info here).
The history of Clonakilty can be traced as far back as the 1300’s with some of the town’s history and heritage evident from the buildings architecture.
There’s heaps of things to do in Clonakilty (get yourself to the Clonakilty Blackpudding Centre!), which make it a nice little spot to have a ramble around early in the morning.
Clonakilty is compact with fine cafes and restaurants which serve locally produced cuisine. The town is famous for its black stuff, not Guinness but it’s famous black pudding!
3. Drombeg Stone Circle
Composed of 17 standing stones in one big circle, it’s believed that the mystical Drombeg Stone Circle dates between 153BC and 127AD.
Also known as the Druid’s Altar, the stone circle overlooks the sea. One excavation of the site showed that there was once an urn burial in the centre and cremated bones wrapped in a thick cloth.
West of the stone circle is a hut site with a fulacht-fia cooking place, which was essentially a prehistoric kitchen with a flagged trough used for boiling water by dropping red hot stones into it.
4. Glandore and Union Hall
The picturesque little villages of Glandore and Union Hall are also worth a nosey around, especially on fine, sunny days.
Located right next to the water, both villages thrive during the busy summer months, but are very quiet during the off-season.
If you arrive when the weather’s good, make your way to the Glandore Inn and try and grab a seat outside – the view from here is hard to beat!
5. Lough Hyne (the hill walk here is amazing)
This sea-water lake is nestled within a fold of rolling hills, 5km from the lovely market town of Skibbereen. It’s also Ireland’s First Marine Nature Reserve with its own ecosystem.
This Lough Hyne Walk takes you up Knockomagh Hill and treats you to stunning views out over the lake and the surrounding countryside.
It can take around an hour, with stops, and is pretty steep in places. However, the climb to the top is well worth the effort.
More popular things to do in Rosscarbery
If you are not content with lagoons, beaches and stone circles then don’t fret, there are plenty more things to do in Rosscarbery to keep you going.
Below, you’ll find everything from the Smugglers Cove Adventure Centre to the brilliant Galley Head Lighthouse.
1. Smugglers Cove Adventure Centre
if you’re looking for things to do in Rosscarbery with kids, you’re in luck – this adventure centre is packed with stuff to keep them amused for hours on end!
Smugglers Cove is home to everything from adventure golf and a big aul maze to a cafe, a golf range, rafts and plenty more.
2. Galley Head Lighthouse
Perched on dramatic cliffs overlooking St George’s channel is the gleaming white Galley Head Lighthouse.
The lighthouse’s original light could be seen from 30km on a clear day and the light-keepers at Galley Head would have seen many German and British ships during World War I and World War II.
If you bring your kids, it’s advised to supervise them as you are on a cliff top. The lighthouse is located close to Clonakilty so you can stop by after to get a good feed.
3. Visit the ruins of Coppinger’s Court
In a field west of Rosscarbery are the ruins of this fortified house which was built back in 1616 by Sir Walter Coppinger, a wealthy moneylender.
Coppinger wanted to turn the area into a new market town but many locals opposed it and his dreams never came to fruition.
In 1641, during the Irish Rebellion, the castle was ransacked and destroyed by a big fire. Coppinger’s brother took ownership of the building after Walter’s death in 1639 but it was never rebuilt.
It was thought to be one of the finest examples of fortified houses back in its glory days. The ruins are free to enter so you might as well go for a gander.
FAQs about the best things to do in Rosscarbery
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from active things to do in Rosscarbery to where to visit nearby.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Rosscarbery?
Head for a ramble along Warren Beach, hit the water with Lagoon Activity Centre, take a wildlife tour and visit Smugglers Cove and Galley Head.
Is Rosscarbery worth a visit?
The lively little town of Rosscarbery is well worth a visit. While there aren’t many things to do in Rosscarbery itself, it’s a lovely base to explore from.
Where is there to visit close to Rosscarbery?
There’s an endless number of places to visit near Rosscarbery, from lighthouses and coastal drives, to hikes, gorgeous towns and islands.