West Cork launches Rebel Way to highlight region's historic highlights

A new history trail, The Cork Rebel Way, which highlights locations of immense historical significance in West Cork from the 1916 rebellion through to the Civil War has been launched.

The project is being driven by a diverse group whose members include historical societies, museums, the accommodation sector and the arts throughout the West Cork region.

The aim is to guide visitors to sites associated with the 1916 rebellion, the War Of Independence and Civil War throughout West and Mid Cork, according to Tim Crowley who runs the Michael Collins Centre at Castle View just outside Clonakilty.

Meanwhile, a special free Cork Rebel Way magazine, providing comprehensive background information about each site, including GPS coordinates, is in the pipeline.

The Cork Rebel Way will stretch from Kinsale in the east, to the Beara peninsula in the west and from the Wild Atlantic Way along the south Cork coast to the Macroom-Killarney road (N22) in mid-Cork.

“The Cork Rebel Way area is unique in that it features important sites associated with the Irish Revolutionary period.

“Visitors would be guided to ambush sites like Kilmichael, Béal na Bláth and Crossbarry,” explained Mr Crowley, noting the planned magazine which is due to be distributed to tourist offices, hotels, libraries and other public places by July 1 will contain a special centrefold map featuring the sites and the GPS coordinates for visitors unfamiliar with the area.

“Many lesser-known sites like Rosscarbery where the attack on the RIC barracks took place in 1921, Ahawadda near Timoleague where three RIC constables were ambushed in 1920, and Crois na Leanbh near Kilbrittain where four IRA volunteers were shot while trenching a road in 1921, would also be promoted.

“We want to package, promote and market the region’s history to encourage visitors to stay in the area longer and visit these sites,” he said.

Tim Crowley pictured in 2015 at St. Mary’s cemetery on the 50th anniversary of the deaths of Michael Collins' brother Sean Collins and his great friend Jim Hurley, a member of the anti-treaty ambush party at Béal na mBláth. Photo: Dan Linehan.
Tim Crowley pictured in 2015 at St. Mary’s cemetery on the 50th anniversary of the deaths of Michael Collins' brother Sean Collins and his great friend Jim Hurley, a member of the anti-treaty ambush party at Béal na mBláth. Photo: Dan Linehan.

Figures like Michael Collins, Tom Barry, Tom Hales, Sean Hales, Charlie Hurley, Sam Maguire, JJ Walsh and Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa will all form part of the story.

The experience, said Mr Crowley, would “be a bottom-up, community-led initiative influenced by the old custom of the ‘Meitheal’ and the cooperative".

“Communities in the Cork Rebel Way area have over the last number of years set up museums, erected statues, plaques, information boards and laid out memorial gardens.”

It was hoped, he added, that the setting up of the project would encourage even more initiatives.

* Communities or businesses seeking to become part of the Cork Rebel Way initiative should e-mail

michaelcollinscentre@gmail.com to contact Tim Crowley, or columcronin@gmail.com to contact Colm Cronin.

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