West County Cork - The O'Driscoll Heartland

If you are interested in taking a closer look at our roots, start with the beautiful village of Baltimore, West County Cork. It's a village of family, and of good times; of welcoming embraces, music and laughter.

BALTIMORE, West County Cork

The post card at left looks in on Baltimore towards the direction of the yacht club (white building in foreground), where registration takes place annually every June for the O'Driscoll Clan Gathering. The photography is by Felix Zaska and the card was printed and published in Ireland by John Hinde Ltd.

I found this excerpt on Baltimore before the years of the Irish sufferings of the "Great Famine". I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Baltimore, West Cork Ireland - 1837

The Official Website of Baltimore, West Cork Ireland


A 40 minute ferry ride from Baltimore brings you to beautiful Cape Clear Island (Oileán Chléire).

Cape Clear, West County Cork

The view on the right is looking downhill toward the boats at dock on Cape Clear. This picturesque card was printed and published in Ireland by John Hinde Ltd. The photography is by O.J. Kavanagh.

Oileáin Chléire (Cape Clear Island)

Cape Clear Island

The 8th Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival

Even closer to Baltimore (a 10-12 minute ferry ride) lies Sherkin Island.

Sherkin Island, West County Cork

As with Cape Clear Island, this little jewel of an island has a surprisingly large number of things going on. The approximately 100 permanent residents probably enjoy the brief respite when things settle down for the winter. The postcard to the left was printed and published by Insight Cards Limited. The photography is by Peter Zöeller.

Here you see a picture I took in June 2001 across the road and up a bit from the Friary. I thought this little red gate with the wild fuschias and ivy growing around it looked very enticing. Next time I'm there I may try to see where it leads!

Sherkin Island, West Cork Ireland

Sherkin Island

Skibbereen, The Centre of West Cork

I deeply regret that I arrived back home to Canada to the realization that I didn't have a single picture or postcard of the town of Skibbereen. I'll make sure I remedy that when I return in 2003! However, Dave Driscoll from England was kind enough to send us a couple of pictures he had taken in one of his many trips over for the O'Driscoll Clan Gathering.

Dave has visited the historical site in Skibbereen where many victims of the famine were buried together in pits. There is an interpretation centre there where you can learn more about this tragic span of our Irish history.

Dave Driscoll shot this photo about 12 years ago when the statue (maid of Erin ) in Skibbereen was moved to widen the road. He mentions that in all the info he's read on Skibbereen it says the statue's never been moved since it was erected. Go figure!?

At one time the town of Baltimore was larger than Skibbereen and was considered the hub of the area. After the raid by Algerian pirates on Baltimore in 1631, in which hundreds of inhabitants were captured, many Baltimore residents moved up river to Skibbereen to settle safer homesteads. Baltimore, however, is still the centre of the O'Driscoll Clan whereas McCarthy remains Skibbereen's most common surname.

For people searching for their ancestral roots, it is in Skibereen that you will find the Registrar at the County Council Office who might be able to point you in the right direction.

Skibbereen, West Cork Ireland