The Sugarloaf with its whitewashed pillar stands sentry over Bantry bay.
The bay itself has seen the devils own share of history and tragedy.
The town of Bantry was the place where an attempt to land and launch a rebellion was made by a French fleet, with Wolfe Tone, in December 1796. The French fleet consisting of 43 ships carrying 15,000 troops had divided mid-Atlantic into smaller groups to avoid interception by the Royal Navy with orders to reform at Bantry Bay. The bulk of the fleet arrived successfully, but several ships, including the flagship Fraternité carrying General Hoche were delayed. While awaiting their arrival, bad weather intervened and the lack of leadership, together with uneasiness at the prospect of being trapped, forced the decision to return to France. Tone wrote of the expedition in his diary, saying that "We were close enough to toss a biscuit ashore." The square in Bantry is today named after Wolfe Tone.
On January 8, 1979, 50 people were killed when the French oil tanker Betelgeuse, offloading at Whiddy Island caught fire, exploded, and broke into three pieces.
The bay has had numerous shipwrecks over the years. In 1981, while clean up efforts using sonar sweeps for the Betelgeuse were under way, the wreck of the French frigate La Surveillante, which had been scuttled during a storm north of Whiddy Island on 2 January 1797, was found Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/319/comment/6074/