Today, Skibbereen (Sciobairín) is a busy, workaday market town. During the Famine, however, Skib was hit perhaps harder than any other town in Ireland, with huge numbers of the local population emigrating or dying of starvation or disease. 'The accounts are not exaggerated – they cannot be exaggerated – nothing more frightful can be conceived.' So wrote Lord Dufferin and GF Boyle, who journeyed from Oxford to Skibbereen in February 1847 to see if reports of the Famine were true. Their eyewitness account makes horrific reading; Dufferin was so appalled by what he saw that he contributed £1000 (about €100,000 in today's money) to the relief effort.
The main landmark in town is a statue in the central square, dedicated to heroes of Irish rebellions against the British.
Skibbereen destination guides
Cycle West Cork and Coast
A guided cycle around Cork and its coastline where meadows reach the sea and colourful villages brighten the landscape
Cork Coast Cycle
Cycle the rolling hills of Cork and coast where meadows reach the sea and colourful villages brighten the landscape