Schull (pronounced "skull") is a harbour town on the Mizen Head peninsula of County Cork, at the southwest tip of Ireland. The name means school, and was first documented in 1199 suggesting a religious seminary, but there's no trace of that. Once a fishing port, Schull is now a tourist resort, with a population in 2016 of 700. It's the obvious base for exploring Mizen Head and this page describes amenities and attractions there.
Bus Eireann 237 runs daily from Cork via Bandon, Clonakilty, Rosscarbery and Skibbereen. There the service branches, with three buses continuing to Ballydehob and Schull, a journey of 2 hr 15 min, and two persevere as far west as Goleen. The other buses turn south at Skibbereen to Baltimore.
On Tuesday morning a bus runs from Goleen via Schull and Durrus to Bantry, returning early afternoon. There's a bus Tu-F along the main road between Bantry, Durrus, Ballydehob and Skibbereen, but it doesn't serve Schull.
The 1 main bus stop is next to the library and Bunratty Inn.
By car follow N71 from Cork and turn off at Ballydehob.
You need wheels to explore the peninsula.
Ferries to Cape Clear sail from Schull Harbour June-Aug 3-6 days a week. The ferry to Cape Clear from Baltimore is year-round.
- Edge of the known universe: Schull is the last place on Earth where you'd expect to find a Planetarium. It's on Colla Rd and open July-Aug M W F, adult €6, child €4. On any clear night find somewhere away from streetlights and admire the night sky.
- 1 Altar Wedge Tomb is 7 km west of Schull on R592. The style is late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age, circa 2500-2000 BC, and it was primarily a grave rather than a ritual altar.
- 2 Goleen is a small harbour village with pubs, a restaurant, and a large 19th century neo-Gothic RC church.
- 3 Tooreen is a collection of megaliths: Tooreen and Arduslough Wedge Tombs, Giant's Grave, and an Ogham Stone.
- 4 Crookhaven refers to the village at the end of R591, and the large sea inlet sheltered by its peninsula. It's popular for sailing and has B&B and two pubs. The other local sport is offering implausible explanations to visitors curious about the abandoned buildings on the hillsides: Aztec temples? Leprechaun treacle factories? No, just quarry buildings.
- 5 Brow Head is the most southerly point on mainland Ireland, pipping Mizen Head to the title by a few metres. Park on the Crookhaven lane and walk up the track rather than risk getting snarled. There are remains of copper miners' cottages and a Napoleonic-era signal station. From 1904 Marconi used Brow Head as a wireless signal station. Out to sea is Ireland's most southerly point of all, Fastnet.
- 6 Barleycove is a sandy beach and village resort. There's accommodation, which hasn't improved the view.
- 7 Mizen Head is Ireland's most southwesterly point. Park up at the Visitor Centre, which has a small exhibition, then continue on the paved path. The Head itself is almost an island, historically reached by a perilous path down and up again, but the chasm is now spanned by a footbridge.
- 8 Dunmanus is a little cove and harbour north side of the peninsula, presided over by the obligatory crumbling tower house.
- 9 Durrus is the village at the head of the inlet separating Mizen Head from the middle peninsula, Sheep's Head. See Bantry for amenities and attractions in this area.
- 10 Long Island or Inishfada is reached by ferry from Colla. It's about 5 km long by 0.8 km wide, with a lane straggling along it. It's mostly farmland with some old copper mines, and ruined cottages from before the Famine, when the population peaked at 300. Copper Point (or White Tower) Lighthouse stands near the ferry landing. There's no accommodation, shelter or other facilities so a day trip will be plenty.
- 11 Castle Island is privately owned, changing hands in 2020. It's just grazing land and the castle is a stump. There's no ferry.
- 12 Horse Island is likewise privately owned and changed hands in 2020. There's no ferry or public access.
- For Heir Island sail from Cunnamore near Skibbereen. For Sherkin Island sail from Baltimore.
- The Butter Road is a 10 km hiking trail between Schull and Ballydehob. Until the 1820s this was the only land route from Schull to the lowlands and Cork.
- Mount Gabriel is a 407 m peak four km north of Schull. Approach from the north by the track to the two Air Traffic Control radomes at the summit.
- Schull Sailing are in Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre just south of the pier. They have sailing lessons for all standards.
- Schull Watersports on the pier have boat and kayak hire and lessons. They're open Apr-Sept M-Sa 09:30-18:00.
- Boat trips to Fastnet are run by Cape Clear Ferries. They sail from Schull Harbour June-Aug 3 days a week and take 3 hours, €45 pp. They also sail to Fastnet from Baltimore via Cape Clear Island April-Sept. All trips are highly dependent on the weather.
- Fastnet Film Festival in May showcases short films. The next event is 26-30 May 2021.
- Calves Week Regatta is in August. The 2020 event was cancelled and the next is probably 3-6 Aug 2021, tbc.
- Centra supermarket in Schull is open daily 07:30-21:00 and has an ATM.
- Last chance to refuel on the peninsula is Top Oil in Ballydehob, open daily to 22:00.
- Schull Country Market is held Sundays Apr-Sept 10:00-14:00 in Pier Road car park.
- Bunratty Inn on Main Street has decent bar food. The bar is open M-Th 10:30-23:00, F Sa 10:30-00:30, Su 12:30-23:00.
- Waterside Inn on Main Street is open W-M 17:00-21:00.
- Auspicious House is open Su-Th 16:30-23:30, F Sa 16:30-01:00.
- Newman's West on Main St is open F Sa 10:00-16:00, 18:00-21:00, Su 10:30-12:20, 18:00-20:00.
- Others are Hackett's and O'Regan's.
- Schull Harbour Hotel (formerly East End Hotel), Main St P81 DY88, ☏ . Small friendly hotel by the harbour, dogs welcome. B&B double €120.
- Grove House, Colla Rd, ☏ . Comfy B&B in an ivy-clad mansion south side of village. Good restaurant. Closed until April 2021.
- Heron's Cove in Goleen is a hotel and restaurant open Apr-Oct.
- Galley Cove House near Crookhaven is closed to April 2021.
- Barleycove Holiday Park is the only campsite on the peninsula, open May-Aug. Tent €20, caravan €25. It's off the Crookhaven Road R591, not the Mizen Head lane other side of the bay.
As of Nov 2020, Eir has no signal anywhere on the peninsula. Vodafone has 4G cover through Ballydehob to Schull but not further west; Three has a mobile signal all the way to Mizen Head. 5G has not reached this area.
- Skibbereen to the east is the route to Baltimore and the other islands of the bay.
- Further east the country becomes gentler towards Clonakilty.
- Bantry to the north has access to all three peninsulas, and the monastic site of Goughane Barra up in the mountains.
- North again takes you through Glengarriff then to Killarney in County Kerry.