Approximately 10 km south west of Clonakilty, adjacent to Long strand and Owenahincha beach.

Site Description

The recreation area of Castlefreke is a collection of woodlands close to Rathbarry village in West Cork.  The main woodland car park is adjacent to Castlefreke castle.  Rathbarry castle, Rathbarry church and graveyard are nearby. Rathbarry castle was built in the 15th century by Randal ?g Barry.  It passed on to Arthur Freke in1617 and became the family seat of the Evans Freke or Lord Carbery family. In 1780 Sir John Evans Freke built a new castle on a new site, thus the 2 castles are positioned so close to each other.

The woodlands, comprising of an area of 113.7 hectares, came into state ownership after the 2nd world war.  They were planted with a mixture of conifers and broadleaves in the early 50's.  Species planted were Sitka and Norway spruce, Maritime pine, sycamore, beech and some oak. The pines and spruces are gradually being phased out of the area and are being replaced with oak, ash, Douglas fir and larches. 

Part of the lands planted in the 50's was an area of 10 ha. adjacent to the sand dunes at the Long strand. It is believed that these dunes were formed as a result of a tsunami which occurred in 1743. This area has now been clear felled and will not be replanted, it is being preserved for biodiversity.

The location of the woods so close to the beach provides for a perfect interchange of recreational activity. There are four waymarked trails and 7km of forest roads to be explored.  This is the perfect location for a family walk, for a budding historian or for an ecologist.

Waymarked trails include;

  1. A looped river walk around a wet woodland between Rathbarry village and the sprigging school
  2. Lord Carbery Cross trail which passes close to the largest memorial cross in Ireland at 30 feet.
  3. The linear lake walk which is a pleasant woodland walk
  4. The Castle Cross Trail, a linear walk that is suitable for all the family




Castlefreke Features

Picnic Site, Walking Trails, Car Parking, Archaeological,

How do I get there?

Take the N71 west from Clonakilty, travel 7 km and take a left on the R598 to Rathbarry village.Take a right at the Lodge, travel 300meters and take a right into the car park.

Get directions to this site


No of car spaces:20
map legend

Contact Info

Contact name:Liam O' Regan