Simon’s Cove, Courtmacsherry, County Cork.

There are two coves for the price of one here at the hidden Simon’s Cove: in the main cove, giant smooth rocks form beautiful curved shapes.The pebble beach quickly gets to a nice depth for swimming and the high rocks create a cove interesting to explore, both for swimming and climbing its walls. Across the rocks a second small shale beach tucked beneath the rock pavement is perfect for jumping at high water.

Few swimmers know about this hidden bay at the end of the single-track road from Courtmacsherry. Fewer still take the walk along the shoreline trail to the right, squeezing past the front of the house and down the narrow path onto the tessellated rocks along the shore. A few hundred metres leads to a pavement of flat black rock, which abruptly drops away to reveal a curve of shale forming a tiny beach. A narrow channel from the sea between the high black rocks fills this tiny bay. As you look from above, the rock pool seems to open out like a fan as the water flows in in the rising tide.

Simon’s Cove, Courtmacsherry, County Cork.

This womb-like pool is sheltered by the high rocks around and, while children play safely contained, strong swimmers may slip out through this funnel between the rocks and swim along the coast in the open sea. At high water this is a great place for jumping and diving and children will enjoy scouring the rock pools in search of sea urchin and crabs. Return to the main cove where there is a high path on the left side of the beach which leads around the cliffs to Butlerstown Cove, a lovely walk on good weather days.

This is a lovely place to come on the opposite side of Clonakilty Bay, away from the popular Inchydoney strand.

Simon’s Cove, Courtmacsherry, County Cork.

Excerpt from Wild Swimming in Ireland 2016, ISBN 978-1-84889-280-4

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