Ballycotton (Baile Choitín) is a village in County Cork, Ireland, situated about 25 miles east of Cork city. It is a famous fishing village and has given its name to the folk band Ballycotton. The village is set on a rocky-ledge overlooking Ballycotton Bay and its sandy beach that stretches for about 25 km east to Knockadoon Head. The current village is actually a re-settlement of an older village which is now entirely underwater. Ballycotton experiences severe coastal erosion with metres of land crumbling into the sea every few years. It is a site of international research interest on coastal erosion. .
Situated on the steep sloped Ballycotton Island approximately 2 km from the village, the lighthouse was commissioned in 1851 when the keeper and his family lived on the island and their children rowed to school weather permitting. By 1899 the four keepers were housed in the town with keepers rotating duty at the lighthouse. In 1975 the light was converted to electricity and it was automated on 28 March 1992 when the lighthouse keepers were withdrawn.
The RNLI lifeboat station was established in 1858 even though medals had been awarded for rescues that took place in 1826 and 1829. The most famous rescue by the Ballycotton lifeboat took place in 1936. A Gold Medal was awarded to Coxswain Patrick Sliney, Silver Medals to Second Coxswain John Lane Walsh and Motor Mechanic Thomas Sliney, and Bronze Medals to Crew Members Michael Coffey Walsh, John Shea Sliney, William Sliney and Thomas Walsh for the service on February 11 when the Daunt Rock lightship broke away from her moorings. The seas were so mountainous that spray was flying over the lantern of the lighthouse 196 ft high. The lifeboat was away from the station for 79 hours and at sea for 49 hours; the crew had no food for 25 hours and they only had three hours sleep. The eight crew were rescued after the lifeboat went alongside the vessel more than a dozen times. This was one of the most exhausting and gallant services in the history of the RNLI.
Ballycotton is also well known as the home of many fine public houses including the Blackbird of Ballycotton, Lynch's or the Inn by the Harbour, The Schooner and McGraths. The Blackbird is known as a good music venue. McGraths is a great example of a traditional Irish "Local".
Ballycotton was the scene of a major movie called 'Divine Rapture' in summer 1995 which starred Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Debra Winger. Unfortunately, after 2 weeks the film production team went bankrupt and the movie was never made.
The village now plays host to an annual arts festival organised by the local community. Named the 8 Degrees West Arts Festival, after the line of longitude which runs between the island and the main land. The festival is held on the first weekend of June and is now entering its forth year. Last year included arts workshops, and performances by nationally acclaimed performers including Declan Sinnott and Snatch Comedy.
Now in its 32nd year, the Ballycotton Road Race attracts runners from around Ireland and abroad to its 10 Mile circuit of country backroads, each year the race is over subscribed many times over.
The local area is home to many artists and craftspeople included woodworkers, painters, potters, writers and musicians who regularly exhibit at the Stephen Pearce Gallery in Shanagarry. Many big names in entertainment have chosen the relative seclusion and natural beauty of the area as a getaway.