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Clonakilty

(4.1/5 based on 1,000+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: beaches, museums, historic sites
Clonakilty, is a small town in County Cork, Ireland, approximately 45 minutes away by road to the west of Cork City. The town is located at the head of the tidal Clonakilty Bay and is surrounded by hilly country devoted primarily to dairy farming. The town's population is 4,721.The town won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1999 and every year since has gained awards for its environmental efforts. The cleanliness is the result in part of the voluntary efforts of local shopkeepers and staff. In 2003, Clonakilty became Ireland's first ever official Fair Trade Town. In 2007 it was awarded the status of European Destination of Excellence by the European Commission at a ceremony in Portugal and is Ireland's first recipient of this prestigious title.HistoryClonakilty is extremely rich in the ancient monuments and dwelling places of its early and pre-Celtic settlers. The Normans made the area their home and their castles and surnames survive to the present day. In 1292, Thomas De Roach received a charter to hold a market every Monday at Kilgarriffe (then called Kyle Cofthy or Cowhig’s Wood), close to where the present town now stands. The area was abundant in woods, as the Irish names of the town and surrounding townlands indicate.In the 14th century a ten-mile strip of fallow woodland called Tuath na gCoillte (the land of the woods) divided the barony of Ibane (Ardfield) and Barryroe and reached the sea at Clonakilty Bay. Here a castle called Coyltes Castell was recorded in a 1378 plea roll. This was subsequently referred to as Cloghnykyltye, one of the many phonetic spellings for Cloch na gCoillte (meaning the castle of the woods, from ‘cloch’, the Irish for stone or stone building and ‘coillte’ meaning woods).
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