A hamlet in Uibhlaoire, County Cork close to the source of the River Laoi in a small valley in the Caha mountains, sometimes known as 'Valley Desmond'. Desmond is a corruption of 'Deas Mhuman' or 'South Munster'. Gúgán Barra translates as the rock-cleft of Barra (The patron saint of County Cork. St. Finbarr).
Gougane has a fine hotel and a pub. There is an oratory and chapel on an island in Gougane Lake, which are dedicated to St.Finbarr, and at the far end of the village you enter the Forest Park.
The lake itself attracts many fishermen to this beautiful and peaceful spot and the area is great for walking, everything from a gentle stroll to energetic hill walks.
Wildlife in the Valley. The park and surrounding countryside boasts a rich diversity of plant, animal and bird life. Ling heather and Moor grasses are abundant on the slopes while rock faces are sometimes covered with Mosses, Lichens and primitive plants. A rare plant called St. Patrick's or Fox’s Cabbage is to be found on rock faces near to mountain streams. This plant is one of the Hiberno-Lusitanian group whose distribution in Ireland is confined to small areas in the south west.
Amongst the common mammals in the park are otter, stoat, badger, brown rat, fox and rabbit. Less common are red deer, field mouse and pigmy shrew. Birds include, raven, coal tit, wren, robin, wood pigeon, blackbird, chiff-chaff, willow warbler, pied and grey wagtail, rock dove, cuckoo, thrush, starlings and peregine falcons. Around the lake you may see reed buntings, cormorants and herons, moorhens and mute swans.
St. Finbarr's Oratory and Chapel see article St.Finbarr's Oratory - Gougan Barra