The little spot in County Cork where the River Lee rises is known as Gougane Barra and Eamonn Duggan finds it to be a haven of peace and tranquility.

In this modern age of hustle and bustle the need to have a time out to take one’s ease and reflect on life has never been more important. Here in Ireland we are particularly lucky to have at our doorsteps many beautiful sights and places of interest which allow us to leave behind the frenzy of our lives even for a short while.

More and more visitors arrive every year to enjoy the scenery and the hospitality which Ireland is rightly famous for, but yet, as a native population we are in danger of taking our country and all that it has to offer for granted.

While tourists are often very effusive in their praise for all that the country has to offer, many natives fail to see and appreciate not only the beauty of the environment, but also the history associated with it. One such place is Gougane Barra in Cork where the natural beauty of rural Ireland is combined with the ancient and rich history which the country is famous for.

If you take the road to Bantry from the market town of Macroom you can divert to the ancient site of Gougane Barra where it is possible to remove yourself even for a short while from the hectic world we all inhabit.

Here in this valley, surrounded by the Caha Mountains, you will find the River Lee making an appearance as it winds its way to Cork Harbour and to the ocean. In the middle of the lake there is an island on which stands a nineteenth century oratory amid the ruins of an ancient monastic sight which is said to date back to the sixth century.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own