Durrus (Irish: Dubh Ros / Durrás, meaning "Black Headland") is a village located in West Cork, six miles (9.7 km) from Bantry, County Cork, Ireland. It is situated at the head of the Sheep's Head peninsula – a European Destination of Excellence – and the Mizen Head peninsula. A number of public gardens have been established in the area, including 'Kilvarock' and 'Cois Abhann'.

Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 51°37′12″N 9°31′34″W
CountyCounty Cork
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
  Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceV943420

Durrus has recently been announced as a key staging post on the new Wild Atlantic Way driving route which will help tourists to explore the Irish coastline from the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork.


Durrus was formerly known as both Four Mile Water (mid-19th century, after the nearby river) and Carrigboi (from Carraig Bhuí, the Irish for Yellow Rock). Today there is some dispute about proper form of the village's name in the Irish language – with both Dubh Ros (meaning black or dark headland) and Dúrras (which is in use on local road signs).[2]


The village is the location of Cool na Long castle, built by the McCarthy (Muclagh) family. The castle is now in a ruined state, despite efforts to have it taken into state charge by the late antiquarian Paddy O'Keeffe. The present village was laid out by the Bandon estate when the lease of Rev. Evanson's interest expired in 1854. Around this time a manor court for debt recovery was held once a month, with petty sessions once a fortnight. The former courthouse is still standing.

Selected archaeological sites

  • Stone circle: Dunbeacon, (Bronze Age 2200 BC-600 BC) [3][4]
  • Stone row: Moulinward, Bronze Age 2200 BC-600 BC.
  • Standing stones (Gallauns): Ballycomane, Coolcoulaghta (Stone Pair Bronze Age 2200 BC-600 BC), Kealties, Parkana
  • Shell Midden: Dunbeacon
  • Ring forts: Ballycomane, Brahalish, Clonee, Drumtahaneen, Dunbeacon, Gortyalassa, Kealties, Rushineska, Celtic Iron Age 600 BC-400 AD
  • Promontory Fort: Coolcoulaghta (Celtic Iron Age 600 BC-400 AD)
  • Mill Stone: Brahalish
  • Holy Well: Dunbeacon
  • Graveyard: Moulinward
  • Fulacht fiadh ("burnt mound"): Dunbeacon, Celtic Iron Age 600 BC-400 AD
  • Tower House: Rossmore (medieval post 1200 AD), (O'Mahony|McCarthy?)
  • Church: Moulinward (In repair 1639 - ruins 1699)
  • Castle: Dunbeacon
  • Cairn: Coolcoulaghta, Moulinward
  • Burial grounds at: Brahalish, Clashadoo, Coolcoulaghta, Dunbeacon, Kilvenogue
  • A boulder burial at: Ballycomane


  • Sean Hurley, Sinologist (died 1961) – first Irish person to hold a Chinese passport.
  • Members of the Attridge, Baker, Dukelow, Gay, Gosnell, Shannon, Skuse, Swanton and Whitley families who hailed from the Durrus area settled in Rochester, New York in the early 1840s and were influential in Republican politics and city administration; they were known as the "99 Cousins"
  • Fr. Richard O'Daly (whose parents emigrated to Australia) – founder of Colaiste na Mumhan, Ballingeary; Professor of Irish St. Finbarr's Seminary, Cork; Chair of Russian, University College Cork
  • Charles Dennis (1873–1961) – poet (see his poem on new road to Coomkeen)
  • Daniel McCarthy – former Roman Catholic priest, married his ward Ms. Blair of Blairs Cove; one of their descendants was Welbore McCarthy, D.D. (1841–1925), Church of England Minister, Archdeacon Calcutta, 1892; Bishop of Grantham, 1905
  • Captain John Evans, the father of Boston, Massachusetts-based industrialist and arts patron, Robert Dawson Evans (1843–1909), was born (ca. 1809) and raised in the townland of Brahalish
  • J. G. Farrell – Novelist; buried in the cemetery of St. James's Church of Ireland, Durrus

Selected Townlands

  • Ahagouna (Irish: Ath Gamhna, meaning 'Ford of the calves'). In Clashadoo townland
  • Ardogeena (152 acres) (Irish: Ard na Gaoine, meaning 'Height of the flint stones'). On the east side is Lisdromaloghera (Irish: Lios Drom Luachra, meaning 'Fort of the rushy ridge')
  • Ballycomane (1349 acres) (Irish: Baile an Chumain, meaning 'town of the little valley'). Part of it is Ballinwillin with a boulder burial, ringfort and standing stone pair.
  • Boolteenagh (148 acres) (Irish: Buailtenach, meaning 'summer pasture'). The high land at the south is called Knockboolteenagh (cnoc buailtineach) hill of the little boolies. Site of a possible souterrain, at the north side is a ringfort.
  • Brahalish (784 acres) (Irish: Breach Lios, meaning 'spotted forts') or Braichlis (place of malt or fermented grain). On the west side is Brahalish Fort and the east Cummer Fort. In 1659 census written Bracklisse. Burial ground children, mill stone ringforts. Location of Brahalish Hoard of gold ornaments currently in the British Museum.
  • Carrigboy (116 acres) (Irish: Carraig Buidhe, meaning 'yellow rock'). Location of Durrus village. The high road from here is built over land known as Carrig Cannon.
  • Curraghavaddra (195 acres) (Irish: Currach an Mhadra, meaning 'the bog of the dog'). On the west side is a ringfort.
  • Clonee (409 acres) (Irish: Cluain Fhia, meaning 'meadow of the deer' or 'Aodh's meadow'). In the cente is Clonee ringfort.
  • Clashadoo (749 acres) (Irish: Clasa Dubha, meaning 'dark hollows'). Burial ground last burial 1930s. To the north on high boggy ground is Coolnaheorna or Coornaheorna leading to the 'Cumar', and beyond to Loch na Fola (lake of the blood), the stream (Moiré or in Irish Maighre) on the western end has a deep hole formerly known as Poul Nora Poll Nora (nora's hole).
  • Coolcoulaghta (1148 acres) (Irish: Cul Cabhlachta, meaning 'remote place of the ruins' or 'cul cuallachta') Nook of the tribe or assemblage. Location of boulder burial, burial ground at Kileen Coolcoulaghta Church contains 1847 famine victims, cairn, coastal promontory fort, fulachta fiadh, ringfort, standing stone, a standing stone pair.
  • Coomkeen (915 acres) (Irish: Cum Caoin, meaning 'gentle valley'). Possible mass rock on the lands of Timmy Whelehan decessed, on the south side is Screathan na Muice (stoney slope of the pig), to the north is Crock a wadra.
  • Crottees (490 acres) (Irish: Cruiteanna, meaning 'humpy ridges')
  • Dromreagh (842 acres) (Irish: Drom Riabhach, meaning 'striped/grey ridge'). On the north side is Coill Breach (wolf wood). Possible souterrain, standing stone.
  • Dromataniheen (97 acres) (Irish: Drom a'tSeannaichin, meaning 'ridge of the little fox'). Ringfort on the south side.
  • Dromreague (92 acres) (Irish: Drom Reidh, meaning 'even ridge')
  • Dunmanus (Irish: Dun Manus, meaning 'fort of Manus')
  • Durrus (Irish: Dubh Ros, meaning 'dark wooded promontory')
  • Gearhameen (646 acres) (Irish: Gaortha min, meaning 'small wodded glen'). On the east side is Coolnalong Castle seat of the McCarthy Muclaghs later the property of Lord Bandon.
  • Gurteen (127 acres) (Irish: Goirtin, meaning 'small field')
  • Kealties (614 acres) (Irish: Caolta, meaning 'narrow strip of land/or marshes marshy streams'). On the south side is Ros na Bruighne (headland of strife), written Glinkelty (Gleann Caolta) on 17th century map of Petty. Standing stone and possible ringforts.
  • Kiloveenoge (Irish: Cill Uí Mhionoig, meaning 'Minogue's church', or Cill Oighe Mhineog meaning 'church of the virgin Mineog'). Child burial ground, on the east side is a former Protestant Church built 1860 or the west side is the site of an old church and burial grounds. .
  • Lissareemig (78 acres) (Irish: Lios a'Riamaigh, meaning 'fort of victory'). Ringfort in centre.
  • Mannions Island
  • Moulivarde (Irish: Meall an Bhaird, meaning 'the bard's knoll')
  • Mullagh (173 acres) (Irish: Mullagh, meaning 'summit'). Possible souterrain on the west side is Lissavully Fort (lios a'Mhullaigh) fort of the summit.
  • Murreagh (199 acres) (Irish: Muirioch, meaning 'seaside marsh'). Location of disused grain store also used as a refuge for children in 1847. Disused slate quarry south end also standing stone.
  • Parkana (Irish: Páirceanna, meaning 'fields')
  • Rooska West (298 acres) East (295 acres) (Irish: Riasca, meaning 'marshes'). Disused lead mines on western side ringforts in West and East. Ordnance Survey name book mentions disused sandpit for victims of smallpox disused c 1840.
  • Rossmore (310 acres) (Irish: Ros Mor, meaning 'large copse or large promontory'). Location of Rossmore Castle in ruins former O'Mahony tower house and location of former slate quarry
  • Rusheenasiska (84 acres) (Irish: Ruisin an Uisce, meaning 'little copse of the water')
  • Teadagh ( 107 acres) (Irish: Taodach, meaning 'rugged land' or Teideach, meaning 'flat topped hill')
  • Tullig (Irish: Tullach, meaning 'mound')

See also


  • Lewis Cork, introduced by Tim Cadogan, The Collins Press (Original 1837), 1998 ISBN 1-898256-57-8.
  • The Cole Family of West Carbery (ref: Coles Blaires Cove), Rev. Richard Lee Cole, M.A. B.D. Published privately Belfast 1943 and on Cole family genealogy site internet.
  • Francis Humphries: History Of St. James Church and Parish, Forum Publications 1992 ISBN 0-9510018-5-X
  • BHAS Journal vol 2 p. 106–119, townlands Donal Fitzgerald ISSN 0791-6612
  • Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Vol 1 West Cork, Office of Public Works, 1992 ISBN 0-7076-0175-4
  • Níl aon leabhairín mar do Mheabhar-chinn fhéin. Eilís Uí Bhriain (Native of Durrus), A Collection of Old Irish Truisms and seasonal seanfhocail, ISBN 0-9554835-0-6,


  1. "Census 2016 - Small Area Population Statistics (SAPMAP Area) - Settlements - Durrus". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office.
  2. Most place names in Ireland are anglicised forms of an Irish name.
  3. The Megalithic Portal
  4. Megalithomania
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