Ardfield is a jewel in West Cork's crown and we're very enthusiastic to share a little piece of it's history with you.
I’m sure as you meet some of the locals, leaning against their stone wall, they’ll share their own stories and piseogs (people used to believe that there was only a certain amount of luck to go around) of the days gone by around the village and town of Clonakilty. The surrounding area is sprinkled with ringforts, standing stones, mass rocks, holy wells and the Mountain Forge itself that once was.
Step back in time as the sentimental charm and country way of life of the locals with their cottage style sheds and small stone walled gardens extend out onto the Atlantic ocean, all pieces of the bigger jigsaw better known as the Wild Atlantic Way.
In the 19th Century, Mountain Common had a functioning race track. This was located near to where our campsite is currently. The horse was a valuable animal back then and carried out a lot of the work. Therefore, horses had to be shod and quite a few blacksmiths resided in the locality. This is how the Mountain Forge Escape got its name. There was once a working blacksmiths forge on our grounds.
You can see the old cart wheel jutting up out of the ground today. This is where blacksmiths made their own horseshoes and horseshoe nails but blacksmiths didn’t just make horseshoes and horseshoe nails, they were gifted in making everything and anything from iron. They made the crane for the open fire, the hooks, pot hangers and thongs. That was the age of recycling where there was no waste.
Mountain Common today is still known for its terrific community spirit. During your stay, we hope that you will experience and share in this rather simple way of life and country living. The ancient Holy Well of St. James is a natural spring that once was the main water supply for Ardfield village.
Visit the shop at the old creamery (very few of these shops remain open). Long ago the local farmers took the milk to the creamery where the cream was removed, and they returned home with what was known as the skimmed milk. This was fed to the calves and pigs. You will see churns around the Mountain Forge and it was in these that the milk was taken to the creamery. Creameries ceased as farms grew bigger and legislation came into play. Take a visit to our local creamery where you can buy eggs and fresh local breads. There was always an important social aspect to the creamery.
In the 14th century, a ten mile strip of fallow woodland called Tuath na gCoillte (the land of the woods) divided the barony of Ibane (Ardfield) and Barryroe and reached the sea at Clonakilty Bay. Here a castle called Coyltes Castell was recorded. This was subsequently referred to as Cloghnykyltye, otherwise now referred to as Cloch na gCoillte (Clonakilty) meaning the castle of the woods.