If you wish to make
a financial donation to
Skibbereen Heritage
Please click on the
button below.
Follow us on


View of Lough Hyne

Lough Hyne, Ireland's first Marine Nature Reserve, nestles in a fold of hills 5 km south west of Skibbereen in West Cork. This marine lake is fed from the sea by a narrow tidal channel known as 'The Rapids'.

Lough Hyne JellyfishThis unique lake and its surrounds are home to a rich and varied range of plants and animals, including many rare and beautiful species. Since it was ‘discovered’ by marine biologists in 1886, scientists have carried out pioneering research in experimental ecology. Their continued research into the factors governing the distributions of marine animals and plants make Lough Hyne one of the most- studied marine sites of Europe.

Lough Hyne: The Marine Researchers - in Pictures is a visual history of the marine research at Lough Hyne and covers the period 1886 to 2010. Featuring over 300 historic photos, it shows the researchers at work and at play and offers an insight into the work ongoing at Lough Hyne. The 96 page, full colour A4 sized book is available on our Online Shop

Another newer publication, Lough Hyne From Prehistory to the Present, covers the archaeology, history and folklore of the lough. Launched in July 2013, it features a foreword by Eoghan Harris, original watercolour illustrations by Peter Murray and a chapter on the ecology of Lough Hyne contributed by Drs Colin Little and Cynthia Trowbridge. The 196 page, 240 x 280 full colour book is available on our Online Shop.

The history of Lough Hyne is rich and diverse. The area hosts a ruin of St. Bridgit’s Church and St Bridgit’s well where, it is said, the knees of the saint have left impressions in the rock. According to legend, the king with donkey's ears lived in Clohane Castle, the ruins of which stand on the island in the lake. The seawalls surrounding the lake and ‘The Rapids’ are partly due to Famine Relief Work carried out in the area. 

Audio Visual room in Skibberen Heritage CentreSkibbereen Heritage Centre shows an audio-visual documentary on the history, formation and folklore of this unique area which is shown in English, French and German. New film launched in 2013 is 'very good' according to David Puttnam!

A second 15 minute audio-visual presentation shows underwater Lough Hyne and some of the species found in its variety of habitats.

Panels on its history, marine habitats and activities at the lake are presented alongside salt-water aquaria containing some of the more common species to be found in the lake.

Knockomagh Trail

Panels originally painted by Gerrit Van Gelderen, show the unusual tidal movements and species in the lake and environs. 

After a visit to the Heritage Centre, a trip to Lough Hyne is recommended. Among the things to do, there is a nature Trail up Knockomagh Hill, which overlooks the lough. This spectacular walk takes approximately one hour and offers wonderful views of West Cork. Download the trail leaflet here. The North Loop of this walk is temporarily closed but the entrance on the South side is open and the summit, with its wonderful views, can also be reached via this route.



Some of the comments from the visitors' book:

'great place to visit before going to the lake'
'almost as special as Lough Ine is'
'lovely film, relaxing Lough Hyne'
'learnt loads about the lake, thanks!'
'I love the fish!'
'Lough Hyne is well worth looking after, thank you'
'wish I'd come here before going to the lake and found out about the walks!'
'staying at Lough Ine, this is great to learn about it'

Home | Great Famine | Lough Hyne | GenealogyFamine StoryInformation | ShopDatabases | Links

  Skibbereen Heritage Centre

  Old Gas Works, Upper Bridge Street, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Ireland

   Telephone: (353) 28 40900    E-mail: info@skibbheritage.com