A large sign on the approach to Drimoleague describes the village as being the Heart of West Cork. We believe this well describes the place. The distinctiveness that causes West Cork to be known as ‘a place apart’ can be found here in full blossom, yet it remains largely undiscovered by the average visitor, who prefers to keep nearer to the coast. Here at the heart is to be found rich folklore, warm friendliness, down-to-earth faith, lively cultural expressions and a varied and interesting history going back to St Finbarr of the 6th century and beyond. Here also is a landscape of remarkable beauty, comprising mountains, undulating farmland, pristine riverbank, woodland and a largely unspoiled flora and fauna.
Drimoleague is located on the R586, about 60km west of Cork city, and almost equidistant by 12km each, from the busy market towns of Bantry, Skibbereen and Dunmanway. It is to be found in the River Ilen basin, and its main street stretches out alongside one of its fast flowing tributaries, the Ruagach. Its location formed the natural junction for the Bantry and Skibbereen branches of the West Cork Railway, whose arrival here in 1880 transformed a scattered hamlet into a thriving village. The village itself has undergone a huge face-lift in recent years. It is a strong community, proud of its past and welcoming to newcomers.
All around the village are reminders of its heritage: Beamish’s corn mills; three distinctive churches; and an old railway station which is preserved almost intact since the sad demise of the rail system in 1961. Each house in the village bears its own legend of unforgotten characters and well-rehearsed folklore. Beyond the village to the north is Barr na Carraige the old village of Drimoleague, rich in history and verse. Further north is the ancient stronghold of Castledonovan, which is presently undergoing preservation works. The archaeological map of the parish is dotted with standing stones, ring-forts, fulachtaí fia, and holy wells.
The village has much to offer the visitor. There are a number of guest houses, bars, a restaurant, a take-away and a Centra convenience store. There is a splendid GAA pitch, and a fine pitch-and-putt course which is immaculately kept by a local committee. The basket ball and tennis courts have been recently refurbished and the children’s playground is modern and well maintained. For the fisherman there are a number of well stocked trout fishing lakes within five miles of the village.