A-Bandon-ed | 

The roads of West Cork would make you think twice about visiting one of the country’s best spots

I’m turning into my old man. Slowly, but surely. The only difference is he didn’t have a column in a national newspaper to have a rant, when necessary.

Roadworks and the patchwork roads are a shambles around Bandon and beyond

Barley Cove is beyond stunning but the roads to get there are a nightmare© ©Tourism Ireland

Daragh KeanySunday World

Let me start by saying there is a place in Ireland that I love above all other places, West Cork. Every August as a child we would ram the Lancia Delta to the rafters with everything we could possibly need (plus the obligatory cooked ham) for a fortnight’s holiday on Ireland’s sunny south coast.

Goleen, Barley Cove, Schull, Crookhaven, Mizen Head, Bantry and Durrus are all etched into my most cherished childhood memories. So much so that in recent years Team Keany has returned to the hallowed ground to introduce the next generation to the best corner of this country.

However (and this is where I turn into old man Keany so be warned), there appears to be some conspiracy to spoil my enjoyment. And this at a time when tourist authorities here are trying to encourage staycations and opportunities to soak in the pure beauty of our country.

Now we come to the critical bit. And this is far from the sexy content you have come to expect from this 280-word weekly column.

Have you ever travelled to Bantry from Cork city via Bandon, Dunmanway and Drimoleague? Well put your chiropractor and preferred tyre provider on high alert as you’ll be needing to visit on your return home. The roads are an absolute disgrace. Bandon has been…ahem…abandoned.

There were serious road works on the west side heading to Bantry for ages which gave some hope that the miles of potholes, wildly undulating surfaces and hardcore finishes would be repaired, but in doing what they needed to do they left the surface in an even worse state than before.

The east side is every bit as bad. However, there are road works currently being carried out so fingers crossed it might mean an improvement. Similarly, in Dunmanway.

Barley Cove is beyond stunning but the roads to get there are a nightmare© ©Tourism Ireland

Months ago we encountered a traffic management system on the east side of the town. Imagine my horror this week to find that not only is it not repaired bit it’s even worse than before. The patchwork job is an eye sore and a car crusher. And Drimoleague is no better.

While planning one of our daily adventures with the kids we suggested a trip to Skibbereen via Ballydehob. This idea immediately got the thumbs down from the girls as they remembered and still refer to that road as “the sick road”.

Yep, the one where the surface is so bad that they got sick the last time they encountered it. This a shameful situation in this day and age. What are the local politicians doing about it? It’s not as if it just happened. It’s been like this for years.

Someone needs to take a lesson from Kilgarvans book (this is the one and only time I’ll throw support behind the Healy Raes, promise) and quickly before it’s too late so this situation doesn’t overshadow what should be the domestic trip of a lifetime.

Rant over.


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