While we’ve been working hard to complete ecological surveys of the lough and wrap up our individual projects, we’ve also had the wonderful opportunity to explore some nearby areas.
Adjacent to Lough Hyne is Knockomagh Hill, a small mountain with a series of hiking trails that take you to a spectacular view of the lough, nearby Baltimore harbor, and Roaring Water Bay. We have climbed the mountain several times to enjoy a quiet sunset or to stretch our legs after a long day in the lab.
We’ve also visited Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southwesterly point. We saw gorgeous rocky cliffs jutting into the sea, a historical lighthouse site, and plunge-diving gannets feeding just offshore from us.
Near Mizzen Head, we stopped at a Neolithic wedge altar tomb.
In Roaring Water Bay, we took a walk around the shore and saw a set of historical Irish stone houses and got a wonderful Irish history lesson from a colleague at the Skibbereen Heritage Center.
We stopped at the Twelve-Arch bridge in Ballydehob, a historical railroad bridge from the 1800s that is considered a marvel of engineering from the time period.
We also spent an afternoon in Kinsale, a small town just outside Cork with a large harbor full of sailboats. We explored the Desmond Castle and lots of fun shops.
Skibbereen is the nearest town to Lough Hyne, and we go to town regularly to buy groceries, visit the market, and use the internet at the Paragon pub for important tasks like updating our blog!