Clonakilty Model Railway Village
A Ticket To The Past
There were model boats flying around a relatively large pond. It was like the bumpers as they crashed into one another and, at least once or twice, seemed set to leave the arena. There was a notice nearby: Children Must Be Under the Supervision of a responsible Adult. I was wondering should it have been the other way around as the tourists enjoyed themselves in the Clonakilty Model Village. And not just with those sturdy remote control boats!
As Ireland's only Model Village, the West Cork Model Railway Village is a fully scaled handmade model of the old West Cork Railway Line with fully working trains and the towns that the railway served during the 1940s.
For a long time, the model of the Clonakilty church was the largest single item in the village, Ireland’s only model village. But Kinsale has taken over in recent years and there is an impressively large model of Charles Fort (with those boats in the waters below).
We’ve been there a few times over the years but still found plenty to look at during the recent visit. Other West Cork towns in the village include Bandon and Dunmanway.
Groups and Coach tours are welcome here as are Birthday parties. There is wheelchair access, guide dogs are allowed and there is a gift shop in a real railway carriage which you see as you enter the full scale station.
And there is a café of course and free Wifi that works like a dream. Menu is limited but you may enjoy teas and coffees and pastries; sandwiches are listed but weren't available on the day we visited.
The indoor interpretive room tells the story of the railway towns and the people who lived and worked on the lines. Highlight perhaps is the film of the last days of the railway line before it was decommissioned in 1961. Showing most of the West Cork Railway from the engine room, this unique footage brings all who view it back to simpler times.
The Village is also the base for the Road Train Tours of the town itself. Step aboard the Choo Choo and take a 30 minute audio tour through Clonakilty. Quite an interesting commentary on the history of the place, including Michael Collins and the stone (in Asna Square) after which Clon is named.
|Desmond Castle, Kinsale|
To get more details, including seasonal opening times, check out the website here or go to the Facebook page here.