Carolyn Vernon, the owner of the Sheep’s Head Retreat, is an artist and the inspiration for her work has come mainly from the Sheep’s Head Peninsula and the Wilderness Sanctuary Artists’ Retreat Centre on Beara Peninsula near Allihies with its Buddhist Retreat Centre, Dzogchen Beara. She lives and works at Caher.



Carolyn has a deep interest in local history and has been working on the preservation of Cúl-na-Long Castle, Durrus, a 1646 transitional Irish-Jacobean fortified house, Coppinger Court style, of which few examples remain. Built by McCarthy Muclagh - the seat of the McCarthy’s - until the Restoration when they lost their lands and were passed to Colonel Reade of Bandon, a Cromwellian. It was the first house of Protestant worship, a garrison and is situated on the Sheep’s Head Way.

Ancient Monuments On The Sheep's Head

The Sheep’s Head Peninsula has a wealth of ancient monuments and Carolyn has compiled a list of walks based on them, some of which commence from the retreat (available on request).

Historical Societes

Skibbereen Historical Society (Brendan McCarthy - Tel: 028-21094)
Kinsale Historical Society (Dermot Ryan - Tel: 021-4772729.)
See Southern Star for events

Publications About The Area

Cork County Council have produced a series of maps for seven historic towns: Bandon, Dunmanway, Kinsale, Skibbereen, Bantry, Schull and Castletownbere.

A selection of publictions about the area and local history.

'Story of Ireland' by Neil Hegarty (Introduction by Fergal Keane) (BBC Books)
  Adapted for TV shown on RTE in 2011 and repeated January 2012
'The Literature of Ireland: Culture and Criticism' by Terence Brown (Cambridge University Press)
'The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story' Edited by Anne Enright (Granta)
'That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland During The Second World War' by Clair Wills (Faber & Faber)
'The Story of Kilcrohane' by Frank O'Mahony (Litho Press, Middleton, Co. Cork)
'Under the Shadow of Suifinn' (perspectives of Kilcrohane through the years) by Ann McCarthy
Skibbereen & District Historical Society 'Journal' -  several volumes (Inspire Design & Print, Skibbereen, Co.Cork)
Mizen Journal -Mizen Archaeological & Historical Society - several volumes
'Reading the Irish Landscape' by Frank Mitchell & Michael Ryan (pub. Town House, Dublin 1986)
'The Great Hunger' by Cecil Woodham-Smith (Old Town Books, New York 1989)
'The Tain'  from Irish epic Tain Bo Cuailnge Translated by Thomas Kinsella (Oxford Univ. Press)
'The Great O'Neill' Sean O'Faolain (Mercier Press, Cork)
'The Book of Fairy & Folk Tales of Ireland' compiled by  W.B.Yates (Bounty Books, London 2006)
'White Goat and Black Bees' by Donald Grant (Michael Joseph 1975 & Doubleday N.York)
'Walking the Sheep's Head Way' by Amanda Clarke