A Bit Further Round Ring

A few weeks ago we took ourselves round Ring, a perhaps less-well-trodden part of West Cork’s many delights, just to the south east of Clonakilty. I ran out of time and space in that post and left the rest for another day. This is the day! Last week we were just across the water from Ring – on Inchydoney Island – and that exploration enthused me again. I’ll remind you of the geography:

Between North Ring and Ring Harbour the road skirts the coast, and it’s obvious from the buildings along the way that boats and boating were the most significant assets to the area in past times, and are important also today.

The two buildings with arched openings, above, were boathouses and stores. They are on the road which runs right beside the water going south out of Curraghgrane More. The colourful craft are at Ring Pier, which is still an active centre for fishing and – well – just messing about in boats.

Just beside the harbour at Ring is the entrance to Ring House, which is on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, described thus:

. . . Pair of semi-detached three-bay two-storey houses, built c.1820, having single- and two-storey with dormer attic extensions to sides (north, south) elevations . . . An interesting pair of houses, which are unusual as they are semi-detached and large scale, yet in a rural area. Though some traditional features have been replaced, nonetheless the pair retains its historic character and is a notable contributor to Ring Harbour . . .

National inventory of architectural heritage, Reg no 20913532

The gateway is promising, but there is very little to see of Ring House from the road. I also could not find any other accounts or any history of the place. I wondered if it had always been two semi-detached houses – as described in the National Inventory – or whether it was originally a single dwelling of some stature.

Our journey took us along the south facing coastline and we dropped down to the little inlets at Sheep Cove and Simon’s Cove. Both are worth visiting, involving negotiating tiny culs-de-sac, but there’s always room to turn at the end. Look out for the small paths leading to flagstone and sandy beaches. As always, there is evidence of the resourceful use of the maritime environment.

At Simon’s cove we turned and retraced our steps: we were barely 15 minutes away from the town of Clonakilty. Next time we will travel further east, and hopefully uncover more West Cork treasures.

6 thoughts

  1. Hello all.I grew up in Ring House,lots of history there.As far as I know, one house,the eastern side was a matchbox factory way back when matches were invented,and was owned by the Austin family, who exported products like boxes and imported goods like coal etc from Wales and London.They were good to workers but a strike started when a local man stated that the workers in London in similar factories were paid more. However the workers in Ring were mostly women, and back then were paid less.I think this finished the factory and the Austin’s left for England, but politics at the time were probably part of this.My grandfather bought the house after along with the pier .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Francis, that is excellent information – many thanks. That explains the slightly strange juxtaposition of the buildings – and how fascinating to hear of a matchbox factory! There’s always a political slant somewhere… Thank you again.


  2. Did mining take place in this area? I notice names like “Prospect Hall” and “Fortune Hill” just East of Ring House! Lovely stone boat house/store – a bit more permanent than the wooden one on Hurst spit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As far as I can establish, the nearest mining site was at Dunmore, on the west side of the estuary. This was a barytes mine, started in the early nineteenth century. Yes, those names would certainly imply some prospecting – interesting…


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