+353 (0) 63 91300 reception@ballyhoura.org

Ballyhoura Tour Guides

Ballyhoura Country Tour Guides are community volunteers who have a love of their place and happy to share their story with you, the visiting public.

All guides listed are trained and look forward to showing you all that the Ballyhoura area has to offer!

Contact Details:

Phone: 063 91300


25-10-13 Lough Gur Visitor CentrePhone: 061 385 186 Web: www.loughgur.com

Lough Gur is a magical and mysterious place that is rich in folklore along with a wealth of archaeology and history dating back to Stone Age times. The Heritage Centre provides a fascinating interpretation of the sites associated with Lough Gur.

The Heritage Centre is located 5km from the Great Grange Stone Circle Irelands largest stone circle!

There is now a core team of 10 trained guides who can show you the most historical sites in the area and who will pass on their knowledge to you in a friendly and informative manner. A wide variety of tours are available from general group tours held from mid June to mid August to more personalized tours depending on your own requirements.

Kilmallock isone of Irelands best hidden gems, a medieval walled town that is absolutely packed with fascinating historical buildings and has one of the longest stretches of remaining town walls in Ireland.

Marie Therese O Briengt11

Email: mtobrien64@gmail.com

My name is Marie Therese OBrien and I am a local tour guide living near Kilmallock town, on the hill of Kilmallock where in the 7th century a monk called Mo Cheallog setup a monastic settlement which became the origins of the town below. My family have lived in the region for well over 150 years and so I have extensive knowledge about the history and also stories of the people and sites in the Kilmallock area. I have always had an interest in history and genealogy and am especially pleased to guide in Kilmallock area as it is a treasure trove of both local and national history down through the ages. Kilmallock, a Norman town, was famously known as the Crossroads of Munster a strategic medieval town with a colourful history dating back to the 12th Century. It has a rich architectural heritage and is one of the few walled towns remaining in Ireland.   Down through the centuries, Kilmallock has been  involved in the various rebellions. I can provide half day tours and will point you in the right direction if you require extra information on a topic or searching for your ancestral roots.

Maureen Lynchgt12

Phone: 086 326 4294   Email: lynchmmau@eircom.net

My name is Maureen Lynch. I am a retired primary school teacher. Living and working in Kilmallock, I became very interested in local history. For many years I took the senior classes on historical walks. Occasionally I was asked to assist the late Dr Mainchin Seoighe when showing French tourists the treasures of Kilmallock as i speak fluent French. Since retirement I completed the course offered by Ballyhoura and so i have become one of the tour guides.My contacts are:

Ben O’Sullivangt13

Email: ben.osullivan@kerry.ie

My name is Ben O Sullivan and I am a local tour guide living in Kilmallock. I have lived in the area for the last 45 years and have an extensive knowledge about the history and also the stories behind the people and the sites in my area. I have a keen interest in GAA affairs, mountain walking and developing cultural tourism in Kilmallock. I can provide guided tours and can also help in searching for your ancestors, ancestral homes, grave yards or help point you in the right direction.

Griston Bog is a bogland habitat 1km outside the village of Ballylanders in County Limerick. Griston is now an accredited Discover Science & Maths Centre with environmental activities that are both educational and fun.

Web: www.ballyhouraoutdoorclassroom.com  Phone 063 91300.

Annette Reagt16

I started to work as a tour guide in Dublin as a Taxi Driver from 1990- 1998 driving our European visitors around our capital city showing and telling them our exciting and riveting history from the Viking Ireland 795-1014AD to the 1916 Easter Rising that began the route to Irish Independence.

Fate was to intervene at this stage and whether it was  the Earls or Druids calling me I changed urban living for rural and ended up at the crossroads of Munster – Ballyhoura Country. I spent  three years in Lough Gur Heritage Centre taking people on tours of the area where you can step back in time and experience 6,000 years of history and I was amply rewarded with visitors appreciative comments on Tripadvisor.

I am now taking primary school children on tours of Griston Bog in Ballylanders Co. Limerick. We have teamed up with Lough Gur and can now offer an exciting day tour combining history and nature. I can only describe Griston Bog as nature’s very own stunning back garden. I find history such a pleasure to teach to our children, about our past in story telling format. This depends in taking into account their age and class year. It is a joy to watch the pleasure on their little faces. I am passionate about history and passing on our Heritage to the next generation.

John Kennedygt14

Email: johnrkennedy47@gmail.com  Phone: 086 256 5442

My name is John Kennedy and I am a local voluntary tour guide in the Caherconlish area. The village is situated on the R 513 road between Mitchelstown and Limerick and I live on a farm just a mile away. My paternal family have lived here for generations and I have amassed a wide-ranging knowledge of the history and folklore of the area. This area has a rich heritage, with fortifications and monuments from the bronze age, early Christianity, the Norman conquest, the Elizabethan Plantation and right up to the formation of the Free State. Having been born a few years after the ending of the Second World War, I can also give a firsthand account of the extraordinary social changes that took place here, during the latter half of the twentieth century. Lough Gur is only a few miles away and our landscape, topography and ancient history have many similarities.I have a keen interest in local history and culture and I am a founder member of the Caherconlish Heritage and Historical Society. I also can help people to trace their roots in the local parishes. This can include tracing their genealogy or the location of an ancestral home or searching for a gravestone in the area. I can provide short walking tours of the village, taking in sites like the pre-reformation ruins in the cemetery, the location of King William’s camp and the ‘Cathair’ or stone fort which gave the village part of its name. This can take about one hour. There are longer round trips we can go on in the area, to visit ancient field monuments. I can provide transportation if required, and strong waterproof outdoor footwear is recommended. There are many earthen ring forts, standing stones and ruined castles, but the high point of the tour is the Sean Chuirt or Old Court on the hill of Knockrue Mason. It only takes a walk of circa half an hour to reach the fortress itself, and the view of the surrounding countryside, with standing stones, barrows, pen-annular forts and ancient field divisions, is magnificent to behold. Tours can be extended to take in Lough Gur and the Grange stone circle or other areas further afield as well.

Willie Hallihangt4

Phone: 022 24294/ 087 249 8622  Emailhallihanw@eircom.net

I am a member of Doneraile Development Association and undertook a Guiding Course sponsored by Ballyhoura. I am a retired Secondary School Principal. I have  a keen interest in Doneraile Park, its history and its development over the years.  Kilbrack  Doneraile, Co Cork.


Myra Ryallgt1

My name is Myra Ryall and live in Doneraile village. I was born in Castlepook three miles north of Doneraile. My tour will captivate you with stories of The connection between Castlepook and the unique village of Doneraile both past and present. Experience the architecture, history and folklore of these fascinating places.I have now located my business to the village of Doneraile to be totally immersed in the place I love. My husband Ray O Callaghan is also a Tour Guide so let’s say I live, sleep and eat the place.I look forward to meeting all future visitors and passing along my knowledge of this superb place.

Joe Hassettgt2

My name is Joe Hassett and I am a local tour guide living In Doneraile. I have lived in this area for most of my life and have extensive knowledge of the history and the stories behind the people and sites in the area.I am part of the team which conducts guided tours of Doneraile Court and demesne throughout the year.I have a keen interest in history (particularly military history) and though not an expert, I can help with your search for your ancestors, ancestral homes, graveyards or, at least, point you in the right direction.

Ray O’Callaghangt3

My name is Ray O Callaghan I am a local tour guide based in the Beautiful Estate Village of Doneraile Co. Cork. I have lived both in the country townland of Castlepook Doneraile for many years and presently reside in the village itself for the past 10 years. My specific area of tour guiding relates to the 400 year garden history of Doneraile Court and Parklands.My Wife and I both own our own Business in the Village Called Townhouse Interiors It is an interiors shop specialising in home design and Soft Furnishings It is not just our business it is also our passion.

Eamonn Horgangt5

My name is Eamonn Horgan. I am a local tour guide in the Doneraile area. I have lived in this area all my life. I was teaching in Doneraile for 47 years. I love the area and I have a great interest in its development. Doneraile is steeped in history that is continually unfolding.  It gives me great pleasure to encourage visitors to share and enjoy the beauty of Doneraile Park and the adjacent town.



The tour of Kildorrery starts at the Community/Tourist Office on the Main St. It is difficult to miss as it is a thatched 400 year old building which was restored by the Community and Ballyhoura Development Ltd. in 2013. The vernacular building has lots of history and character and a Community restaurant is housed in an extension to the rear. St. Bartholomews Church is the local R.C. parish church and was built in 1838. Plenty of alterations have been made to it over the last 175 years. William Gates the founder of the West Surry Dairy Co. opened a creamery in Kildorrery in 1887, the company was later renamed Cow & Gate and went on to become a global leader in the production of baby foods and still thrives today. The Kildorrery Community Garden was developed between 2011-13 and is a great example of what a small rural community can achieve with local volunteers and Ballyhoura Development funding. Kildorrery Graveyard contains the ruin of a medieval church that was on a papal list as early as the 13th century. This church gave Kildorrery its name which in Irish means “the Church of the Oaks“. It fell foul of the political and religious upheaval of the 16th century but it retains many features of interest such as its carved stones and holy water font. St. Colmans Church is in Farahy which lies 1.5km west of Kildorrery. The church is now considered a monument to the Anglo-Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen CBE (1899-1973) as the church was built by her ancestors on the edge of her ancestral home Bowens Court an estate which sadly no longer exists. Elizabeth published her first novel in London in 1927 and published several more novels, short stories and nonfiction which included the gem Bowens Court the story of her ancestral home. The influence of her modernist writing is still as strong today as when she was alive and her work is studied in universities all over the world.

There are also several other historical sites in the wider area which are well worth a visit such as Labbamolaga and Aghacross which are some of the earliest Christian sites in Ireland and were founded by the 7th century. Shraherla Church was in the firing line of a shoot out between the I.R.A. and British forces during the Irish War of Independence and still bears the scars. A monument nearby commemorates I.R.A. Volunteers who fell in the battle. The O’Neill-Crowley Monument commemorates a fallen leader of the 1867 Fenian Rebellion. All these sites are within 20 mins drive from Kildorrery village.

Brenda Hennessygt6

My name is Brenda Hennessy. I am a local tour guide living in Kildorrery in North Cork. I have lived in this area for the past thirty years and have a keen interest in local history, local folklore and genealogy.   I have a particular interest in the author, Elizabeth Bowen and her ancestral home, Bowenscourt. I hold the key to the estate church and make it available to anyone who wishes to visit.   As a volunteer with the Kildorrery Ireland Reaching Out Group, I do genealogical research and meet and greet people who come to Kildorrery to trace their roots.


Kerene Gallaghergt7

Phone: 022 25777

My name is Kerene Gallagher and I am a tour guide working in the Community/Local Tourism Office in Kildorrery.   The Community Office is the first point of contact for visitors to the area and the friendly office staff will make every effort to answer any queries or put you in contact with locals who have extensive knowledge of the history and heritage and people of the area.   I can also provide you with the background and history of the Community Office which dates back to the early 1700s.

Patrick Lynchgt8

Phone: 022-25777

My name is Patrick Lynch and I am a local tour guide living in Kildorrery.   I was involved in the development of the Community Garden in Kildorrery and have been secretary since its opening in early 2012. I can provide tours of the polytunnel and raised beds and also provide information on growing vegetables from seed and setting up allotments.

Frank McCarthygt9

Phone: 087 795 7229   Emailftgholland@gmail.com

My name is Frank McCarthy and I am a local tour guide living in Kildorrery. I was born in this area and I have lived here for most of my life. I have extensive knowledge about the history and historical sites in my area and I can provide half day tours. I also have a keen interest in genealogy and can help with your search for your ancestors, ancestral homes, farms, shops, graveyards etc. or maybe point you in the right direction.

Nora Curtingt10

Hi my name is Nora Curtin and I am a local tour guide living in Kildorrery, Co Cork for the past 12 years. Since my roots are deep in this area, I have explored its history, as well as the stories behind the people and sites in this locality. I have a great interest in helping people who are searching for their ancestors around Kildorrery and I can assist with graveyard searches as well as helping to point people in the right direction in their research.


Conor O’Briengt15

Phone: 086 853 8020

Area: Galtee Mountains; Mitchelstown; Kilbehenny.

Interests: Local history and it’s connections to European and world history; family histories; rural traditions and the residuals of old Gaelic laws in our customs. My interest is in trying to understand how this area became what it is. Guiding visitors is  a most welcome part of that learning because they ask the questions that open more views, for both themselves and myself. I have been farming here all my life. The mixture of scenery and community that we have here is unique. Visitors are still people, not tourists. I guide small groups on open mountain walks in the Galtees, as well as groups interested in rural traditions, local history and its buildings. By understanding this area’s place in history visitors are helped to understand the history of their own area.The fitness level can be as little as is needed to explore a graveyard or street, or to do a trek up to 900 metres (3000 ft)  level. Each walk is unique in its own way. Access: Just one mile from Exit 12 on the M8. An hour from Cork airport, two and a quarter  hours from Dublin airport.