Headline image

Gougane Barra: Ireland's Hidden Gem

Nestled in the heart of West Cork, Ireland, lies Gougane Barra.

Ireland is a land of rich history and enchanting landscapes. Among these treasures, Gougane Barra stands out as a place of unparalleled natural beauty. 

Gougane Barra source of the river lee

Discovering Gougane Barra: Nature’s Masterpiece

Gougane Barra is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Gougane was Ireland’s first national park. The rugged mountains and lush forests provide a perfect backdrop for a rejuvenating trek. The Cork City-Beara-Gougane Barra cycle route - ends in Gougane Barra National Park. Pack a picnic, and have a day out walking the 142 hectares of forest floor. Gougane is popular for angling and fishing.

Gougane Barra Oratory

The Tale of St. Finbarr’s Oratory: A Spiritual Oasis

At the heart of Gougane Barra lies the iconic St. Finbarr’s Oratory, a tiny chapel perched on a small island in the lake, with a history dating back to the 6th century. The oratory stands as a testament to Ireland’s rich religious heritage.

The current oratory or church which stands on the island dates back to 1903.  It features stunning stained glass windows, coursed limestone walls with concrete quoins, and a rounded wooden entrance.  The inside has an elegant barrel-vaulted ceiling and a freestanding altar. 

Natural Splendor

One of the most captivating features of Gougane Barra is the glacial lake surrounded by the imposing Shehy Mountains. The green surroundings and the tranquil waters of the lake provide a perfect ecosystem for various animal species. Fish such as brown trout and perch thrive in the clear waters of the lake. The area is teeming with diverse flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for elusive red deer, majestic eagles, and a variety of waterfowl as you explore the region. 

Gougane Barra lake

Source of the River Lee

The River Lee rises in Gougane Barra and flows through beautiful scenery to reach Cork Harbour approximately fifty kilometers away.

Source of the River Lee

A Hidden Gem

Gougane Barra remains somewhat of a hidden gem in Ireland. Its remote location has helped preserve its pristine beauty and peaceful atmosphere. When you visit, you'll feel like you've stumbled upon a well-kept secret.

Getting There

Gougane Barra is one hour from Cork and 50 minutes from Killarney. From Cork take N22 to Macroom. Just before you get to Macroom turn left on the R584 for Inchigeelagh. From Inchigeela continue on to Ballingeary. From Ballingeary continue on the R584 and turn right shortly afterwards for Guogane Barra. This turn is signposted and there is also a statue on the left-hand side of the road at this point   Once you arrive, a small parking area is available, and from there, you can explore the island by foot.

Get to Gougane Barra via Google Maps >>

Interested in premium country clothing, including all-weather jackets, 100% cotton shirts, 100% linen shirts, nightwear, and more?

Browse leevalleyireland.com, call +353 26 49170, or visit our showroom in Inchigeela, West Cork, we’re here from Monday to Friday 08.30 to 17.30 only ten minutes from Gougane Barra National Park.

Posted on:

Last Updated on