What an Experience!
It has been five years since I last visited the spectacular Mizen Head, Ireland’s furthest south westerly point. In the meantime, many improvements have been made for visitors. The highlight for me is not the award winning new bridge but the elevated platform that gives visitors a fantastic close-up of the rugged cliffs that bite into Dunlough Bay. A thing of great natural beauty, a gem of the Irish coastline, though the drug smugglers than ran into trouble here a few years back will hardly agree.
And the trip in from Skibbereen is also a joy as you pass through Schull, Ballydehob, Goleen, Barleycove, with an easy detour to Crookhaven also on offer, either going or coming. On arrival in Mizen, park in the large car park at the Head and get your ticket (six euro for an adult, well worth it!).
There are various exhibitions in the main building and also at the lighthouse itself. Check them out here.
We were anxious though to explore the new pathways that were constructed with the bridge in 2010. And they are all rewarding. The first one on the right on the way down is a very short walk indeed to a point that overlooks the new bridge.
Back then to the main path and you cross that very bridge with great views to the sea on your left, the tangle of massive rocks to your right. At the end of the bridge take the long path to your right. With the aid of the steps and well placed rails, you’ll soon see that magnificent view of Dunlough Bay
I must say I thought it was fantastic, better even than the Cliffs of Moher in the sense that the viewing platform takes you so close. It was a brilliant day weather-wise when we visited but I’d love to go back when the gales are blowing!
Take your time here before going back down the steps and then turning right towards the Signal Station itself. After seeing the various exhibits, including a former lightkeeper (model) enjoying his full Irish, you can get right out to the edge with views all around. Brilliant, if breezy!
When we arrived at the Signal Station area, the guide there told us that we had just missed a whale surfacing. He was expecting the giant of the seas to breech again in five minutes. We waited. And waited. But the whale didn’t oblige! Why should it? Still, I’d have loved to have seen the action.
We lingered awhile and then headed back. As we neared the entrance, we saw a signed path down to our right, a long one, right down to the edge where you have a smashing view of a sea arch. Enjoyed that and then slowly – a lot of stiff walking had been done – we headed back up, getting another view of the bridge and the lighthouse as we climbed.
|Mizen is on the jet trail.|
After all that, a rest was called for and so we headed into the onsite Mizen Cafe. This is quite a good cafe serving Soups, Chowders, Sandwiches, BLTs, Toasties, Wraps, Paninis, Fish of the Day, Bantry Bay Mussels, and lots of specials, plus a children’s menu.
We had dinner booked that evening so just a cuppa and a slice of apple tart sufficed, €10.50 for the two of us. And yes that Apple Tart was homemade, real apple and real pastry unlike the awful Rhubarb tart concoction we got in a cafe at a Cork City tourist village earlier in the week. Very enjoyable this time.
Suitably refreshed, we headed back towards Skibbereen and Liss Ard making all the stops and all the detours without a care about time and with no wish to waste the afternoon sunshine watching Heineken Cup rugby which was obviously drawing the punters to various pubs along the way. C’est la vie. Free country. One way for you, another for me.