Allihies – with two shops, a post office and four pubs – is typical of the type of self-contained Irish village that was once found throughout the country. Villages like Allihies (population: 650) are becoming less prolific as the country’s rapid urbanisation continues, with more people moving to suburban dormitories.
The reason Allihies thrives while similar village are in decline is due to its extraordinary scenery. Allihies is located on the Ring of Beara and overlooking Ballydonegan Bay, a seaport from where the copper ore was once exported. Many visitors arrive at Allihies when they are driving through Cork's Beara peninsula, as it is the last stop between the rocky mountain range and the wild Atlantic coast. To use the local expression, there is "a view around every corner", with the best view from Barnes gap.
Unique video of Allihies kids being picked up from school bus drop-off point at Barnes gap
Copper Mine Musuem
During the 1800s, the region was a thriving copper mining hub, an activity that has long since declined. At the end of the village, in a former Methodist church, the Allihies Copper Mine Museum provides an informative story of how the discover of a rich copper deposit in the area in 1812 utterly changed the lives of the families in the area.
Arts and Culture
As well as farming and fishing, the region is now sustained by tourism, and by the lively arts culture it has developed -- many artists and writers, inspired by the rugged beauty, have made Allihies their home. The Allihies Languages and Arts Centre, located in a former schoolhouse, runs courses and holds events throughout the year.
Allihies, Beara. Image by Stephan A