LEARN ABOUT THE GREAT FAMINE & TRACE YOUR ANCESTORS
Skibbereen Heritage Centre features a comprehensive exhibition on the Famine of the 1840s, when over a million people died; an exhibition on Lough Hyne, Ireland's first Marine Reserve; and a genealogy service where you can trace your West Cork ancestry.
The Great Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s is now recognised as the worst humanitarian disaster of nineteenth century Europe. About a million Irish people died, another million emigrated, and it established a trend of emigration which subsequently drained the country of its people. The Skibbereen area was one of the worst affected by the Irish Famine. It became notorious as the centre of some of the most harrowing suffering endured by famine victims throughout the country. Between 8,000 and 10,000 unidentified souls are buried in the Famine graveyard at Abbeystrowry, just across the river from Skibbereen Heritage Centre.
The Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition at the Skibbereen Heritage Centre commemorates this period of Irish history and serves as a tribute to the suffering of the local population. The comprehensive exhibition offers an overview of government policies and how they impacted on the ground. Reports from the relief committee in their attempts to alleviate the suffering of local people are shown alongside reports of how the international community responded to the crisis. The story unfolds in an interactive way through dramatisation by actors including Jeremy Irons, of actual events and people of the time.
Skibbereen Heritage Centre also offers a genealogy service and has over twelve years' experience in carrying out ancestral research, enabling countless people to discover their West Cork heritage. The genealogy service includes primary source documents which are not available through any other source.
The second permanent exhibition at Skibbereen Heritage Centre is about Lough Hyne, Ireland's first Marine Nature Reserve. Learn about its unique flora, fauna and ecology and Knockomagh Wood Nature Trail. Follow with a visit to the lough, just 5km from Skibbereen Heritage Centre, and explore one of the most beautiful places in Ireland.
From Cork City, take the N71 road through Bandon and Clonakilty (approx 80km / 50 miles).
From Killarney, take the N71 road via Kenmare and Bantry. Follow the road signs to Skibbereen (approx 80km / 50 miles).
When in Skibbereen, follow the N71 onto Bridge Street and Upper Bridge Street. The entrance to the Heritage Centre and car park is located on the right hand side.