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West Cork (Irish: Iarthar Chorcaí) is a region in County Cork, Ireland. Traditionally a tourist destination, the area is marketed to tourists for its rugged peninsulas (such as the remote Beara Peninsula, Sheep's Head and Mizen Head peninsulas), beaches such as Inchydoney, Owenahincha and Barleycove, and towns and villages such as Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Kinsale and Rosscarbery.
The area of West Cork is not strictly defined, but at its broadest definition it includes all parts of County Cork south and west of the River Lee with the exception of Cork city and suburbs. Road signs may be found around Cork city and elsewhere directing traffic for "The West", or "West Cork".
The area was linked in the early 19th century by the Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway, which began in Cork City, travelled across the county, with branches to Clonakilty (junction at Gaggin) and Skibbereen (junction at Drimoleague), before terminating at Bantry. The narrow gauge Schull and Skibbereen Railway closed in 1947. Today, the main infrastructural backbone is provided by the N71 and R586 routes.
West Cork has had a distinct identity from at least the ancient Dáirine kingdom of Corcu Loígde which once covered the whole area. The localities of Carbery, the largest barony in Ireland down to the nineteenth-century, Bantry, and Bear, or Bere, on Beara Peninsula, existed down from the Middle Ages. The coastal islands are now known as Carbery's Hundred Isles.
The coastal area from Ballydehob to Timoleague was contained within the Dioceses of Ross, both Catholic and Church of Ireland. These dioceses no longer exist separately and now form part of the larger Dioceses Cork and Ross (and Cloyne in the case of Church of Ireland). Beara is a deanery within the Diocese of Kerry.
- "West Cork Highlights". discoverireland.ie. Fáilte Ireland. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
- "Schull station - Terminus of Schull & Skibbereen 3ft gauge tramway". eiretrains.com. Eiretrains Irish Railways. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
- "Towns in West Cork". explorewestcork.ie. West Cork People. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
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