Ballinspittle / Garrettstown
The wood covers an area of 200 hectares and is steeped in history. The northern section of the wood is on elevated ground overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with views from the forest of the ocean site where the Lusitania sank on 7 May 1915. Also visible from the woods is the ancient fort of Ballycatten. This fort with its triple ramparts saw many a battle and it was at this ancient spot that the Vikings were first defeated in a pitch battle by the Munster men in AD 910. To the south one can see the Old Head of Kinsale and the fine sandy beaches close by at Garrettstown where many surfers enjoy the waves. To the west one may catch a glimpse of Courtmacsherry Bay and the wild beauty of the Seven Heads. On the southern end of the wood there is a spring well known as the ‘The Spa Bathing Bath’ or ‘Chalybeate Waters’. This bath, which was restored locally, has a bee hive stone roof to protect its waters from rain. These special waters were discovered in 1750 and many generations have been cured by bathing in them. At the most southern edge of the wood, there is the remains of an area known as the ‘Rabbit Warren’, a link to the woodlands estate days. Rabbit fur was used in the making of shoes and elegant gloves for ladies. Much of its stone walls remain. The remnants of an old deer wall are also to be found within the forest, this may be accessed off one of the waymarked trails.
Things to do
Walk: There are two looped woodland trails and a spur trail up to Templetrine Church. The Kilmore Loop (1.5km, 30 mins, moderate) is a relatively short but pleaseant workout walk through the woods. The Old Deerpark Loop (5.2 km, 1 hour 40 mins, moderate) explores the wider wood, taking in the impress deer wall that is intact since the days of the old estates. The Templetrine Spur (1.6km, 30 mins, moderate) is well worth the effort to this old church and graveyard, the earliest headstone dated to 1832 but the earlier church wall is thought to date back to the 1600’s.
Scenic drive: This wood is located on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Don’t miss our hidden gem
Situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, there are magnificent views of the ocean and surrounding countryside. Templetrine Church is fascinating in terms of local history.