Bantry

Bantry
Nestled amongst rolling hills, sitting on the shores of Bantry Bay facing southwest, but protected by the benign presence of Whiddy Island, Bantry’s winding streets form a bustling community.
The town is a naturally-evolved coastal market town for the surrounding rural hinterland, serving communities such as Ballylickey, Kealkil, Coomhola and the Mealagh Valley. The lively Friday market on Wolfe Tone Square is an entertaining illustration of this fact.
Like all coastal towns in the area, it has a stupendous charm and beauty about it that surrounds it on all sides and pervades every part of it like a scented sea breeze.
Bantry has restaurants catering for a wide variety of tastes and pockets, good shopping and parking facilities, secondary & primary schools, a cinema, Bantry House & Gardens and some great pubs.

Eating out in Bantry is a multiple choice to make your mouth water. Recent years have seen the arrival of an excellent Chinese Restaurant, an Indian restaurant and and Indian take-away. There is also an excellent choice of pub grub in the town, providing affordable quality eating. The best known of all Bantry’s restaurants, however, remains O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant on Wolfe Tone Square. This has remained a permanent fixture in the coastal town and has recently undergone a complete facelift under its current ownership.

As you stroll through Bantry’s main square, you will surely not fail to notice a few prominent features: The first of these (and located closest to the offices of Harrington Estates) is a very large anchor. This anchor was taken from the sea bed of Bantry Bay during salvage operations that followed the sinking of the Belgian tanker “Betelgeuse” around 1980. It is believed that it belonged to one of the ships that accompanied French General Louis Lazare Hoche in the winter of 1796/97. His expedition of approximately 15,000 troops was meant to land and liberate Ireland. It didn’t work due to a mixture of poor weather and poorly-prepared French. The Irishman who had persuaded the fledgling Republic to embark on such an ambitious project was Theobald Wolfe Tone. His is the next statue on the square as you head seawards. The one after that – down by the boules park – is of St. Brendan. He is here because he is the patron saint of mariners (he’s rumoured to have been the first European to sail to America) and the statue is, in fact, a present to the people of Bantry from the oil company that had operations on offshore Whiddy Island who effectively ceased trading in the area following the accident of 1979 which resulted in the sinking of the Belgian oil tanker “Betelgeuse”.

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