TRAVEL IRELAND EXPLORE TRANSPORT

County Cork

County Cork

Do you know that Cork is the biggest county in Ireland, covering 7,500 square kilometres of rugged landscapes, rural seaside villages, bustling towns and the country’s second largest city? That means there are lots of things to see and do and lots of mileage to cover, so here are some of our favourite spots and activities for you to enjoy when you visit

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Kissing the Blarney Stone is a rite of passage if you visit Cork; there’s nothing like hanging over a gap to fulfil an ancient tradition – and once you kiss the stone, you’ll be granted the gift of eloquence! Built almost 600 years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, this is a true Irish treasure, with stunning grounds including a poison garden, a fairy glen and the enchanting Rock Close. Check out the Wishing steps and see if you can manoeuvre them to make a wish come true. Steeped in history and legend, this is a must-visit attraction not far from the city.

Cobh County Cork

Cobh

A must-visit for Titanic fans, this pretty little Victorian seaside town is where the titanic set sail; only 10km outside of Cork city, you can drive or take a train – the waterside rail journey is lovely and part of the experience. You can learn all about the ill-fated Titanic voyage as well as the Lusitania, trace your ancestors, delve into the story of Irish emigration, and immerse yourself in naval and military history at the Cobh Heritage Centre and shipping harbour. Housed in a Victorian railway station, it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Fota House & Gardens & Orangery

Fota Island

Fota Wildlife Park is a wonderful attraction for animal lovers, that combines a zoo with education and conservation, suitable for all the family. The beautiful grounds house thousands of both native and exotic animals and plants. The 100 acre park also boasts shows that entertain and inform, such as the exciting cheetah feeding run – daily times are available on the Fota Wildlife website. Visit the beautiful Fota House and its stunning gardens. There is also a top class golf course on the grounds of Fota Island Resort and spa, with exclusive treatments and luxurious accommodation, as well as a gourmet restaurant.

Fota Wildlife Park

The Wild Atlantic Way Drive

Rivalling The Ring of Kerry for its beauty, and still unmarred by hoards of tour buses, this beautiful drive stretches 2500km of the Atlantic coastline from Donegal to Kinsale. Boasting scenic vistas and gourmet food across seven counties, the West Cork section is an exciting and memorable road trip for all kinds of traveller. With 188 points of discovery along the whole stretch – and a unique ‘passport’ available to record those special memories – there’s something for everyone.

Kinsale

Kinsale

With its stunning harbour, award-winning restaurants, and intriguing history, Kinsale is a lively, cosmopolitan town with plenty to offer. Visit Garretstown woods, cycle the trails, try your hand at horse riding or pottery, or put your culinary skills to test in the Gourmet Academy. Watersports are also plentiful, with kayaking, sailing and scuba diving possible from the marina, and there is plenty to visit include James Fort and Dock Beach.

Clonakilty Visitor Attractions

Clonakilty

Famed for its black pudding, this lovely town is only an hour from Cork and gives you an instant taste of rural Ireland. Visit the Model Village with the young ones, for a fun and informative look at the area, and head to the coast for some sea air at Inchydoney; one of the best Blue Flag beaches around. The world famous de Barra’s bar is also here, offering excellent music, from trad to blues to folk, all year round.

Clonakilty Town West Cork

Skibbereen Heritage Centre West Cork

Skibbereen

One of the worst affected areas during the famine in the 1840s, Skibbereen is one of the most important towns in the country for famine heritage, and it is commemorated for visitors in the Skibbereen Heritage Centre. You can follow the famine Story App for a guided walk around the town, and get to know some Irish history. The Sky Garden in Lisaard House is a beautiful 40-acre woodland area for walking, with wildflower meadows and a special Sky garden landscaped by artist, James Turrell. Nearby Loch Hyne (5km) is a beautiful saltwater lake that’s great for kayaking and also studying marine habitats and species. Designated Europe’s first Marine Nature Reserve in 1981, the woods overlooking the lake on Knockomagh Hill are also worth a visit.

Schull Pier West Cork

Schull

Continuing on the Wild Atlantic Way, Schull is a small and friendly, yet cosmopolitan village that’s popular all year round, but busiest in the summer thanks to its mild climate, stunning scenery and excellent harbour. Known for its sailing and fishing, there are plenty of islands to visit nearby via ferry (summer only – Schull pier or Colla pier) or on your own boat, including Cape Clear, Sherkin, Castle Island and Long Island. You can also book a boat trip around some of the Hundred Isles or out to the famous Fastnet Rock lighthouse. There are some lovely marked walks for all abilities, such as the Foreshore Walk, Colla Ring and the Butter Road Walk, as well as many cycling routes. From Easter until October, there is an artisan market in the pier car park every Sunday and each May, visitors flock for the renowned Short Film Festival which showcases incredible short films and offers a range of filmmaking workshops with some of Ireland’s top directors, writers and producers. Hackett’s bar is a favourite haunt for a pint with locals and visitors alike, and often offers live music. Blue Flag Barleycove beach, with its stunning sand dunes and long stretch of sand and floating bridge, is also nearby.

Baltimore Beacon West Cork

Baltimore

Offering ferries to Sherkin, Heir and Cape Clear year-round, Baltimore is known for its day trips to the local islands, but the pretty village is also worth a visit in its own right. The lovely walk to the Beacon (also known as ‘pillar of salt’ and Lot’s wife) gives stunning views over the Atlantic. Sailing, fishing and watersports are popular activities here, and scuba diving has also grown increasingly popular due to the number of shipwrecks in the locality. Another highlight is the annual Fiddle Fair; a four-day music festival that features world-class national and international artists in intimate settings as well as workshops and sessions. There is also a unique wooden boat festival every May and an annual regatta, with yacht races, market stalls, music and fun for all the family.

Baltimore West Cork

Cape Clear

A short journey from Schull or Baltimore, Cape Clear boasts beautiful walks, stunning scenery, great bird watching, lively bars and an infamous storytelling festival. Accommodation is plenty and varied, from camping to cottages to friendly B&Bs, and if you’re an adventurous sort or looking for something different, you can even stay in a luxury yurt complete with stove – a great choice for a small family. On the first weekend of September, the Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival is an annual highlight, attracting an avid audience of serious storytelling enthusiasts year after year, catering for all ages, with plenty of opportunity to join in.

Mizen Head Bridge

Mizen Head

Mizen Head, the 'land's end' of Ireland and the country’s most South-Westerly point, is a signal station and visitor’s centre overlooking the wild Atlantic. Cross the iconic bridge, learn about the life of lighthouse keepers, and scan for dolphins and whales from this incredible vantage point.

Garnish Island Glengarriff

Glengariff

A favourite for walkers, visit Barley Lake and Glengarriff woods in the famed nature reserve for some great walks and excellent views over the stunning local landscape. The bamboo park welcomes visitors year round for walks in their tropical garden, complete with over 30 types of bamboo as well as palm trees and other tropical plants. And if you’re looking for fun for all the family, don’t miss out on the amazing Sculpture Garden (open summer only – outdoors). A unique mix of nature and art, walk the grounds and discover a hidden world of incredible, and often amusing, or interactive, art – a real gem for any age and certain to be a memorable visit. You can also see seals and visit Garnish Island via ferry from Glengarfiff pier; the gardens sheltered by woodland were designed by Annan Bryce and Harold Peto and boast a unique microclimate that allows exotic species to flourish. As well as beautiful landscaped gardens, the island also boasts an historical Martello Tower, an Italian temple and an Italian Tea House. A short drive from here is stunning Gougane Barra, with its pretty St Finarr’s Oratory, friendly bar and hotel, and beautiful National Forest Park.

Eyeries West Cork

Beara Peninsula

You might be forgiven for thinking you’ve left Cork county when you head to Beara, because of the distance, but trust us, it’s worth the drive. Perfect for those looking for peace and quiet, there are plenty of villages and towns to explore, such as; Ardgroom, boasting the tallest (17 foot) Ogham inscribed standing stone in Europe, sleepy but stunning Eyeries with its own renowned Anam Cara Artists and Writers Retreat, the copper mining village of Aillihies, and the working fishing port Castletownbere. The Healy Pass is a jaw-droppingly beautiful drive, and the Dzogchen Beara Buddhist retreat offers the perfect sanctuary for some guided meditation or quiet reflection.

Cork City

Cork City Gaol

Cork City Gaol

An interactive experience, gain a fascinating insight into the lives of 19th century prisoners, from pre –famine times to the foundation of the state, as you learn about the personal histories of the inmates. You can also take a night tour, for something a little different if you’re not easily spooked.

Shandon Bells Cork City

Shandon Bells & Tower, St Anne’s

Climb 132 steps (to 120 feet) to see the lovely views across Cork City from the top of St Anne’s Church; built in 1722, this is one of the oldest churches in the city. And for something a little different, you can ring the 18th century Shandon Bells from the first floor. You can also view the six tonne bells and the internal workings of the clock - and there’s a nice little traditional sweet shop nearby to replenish some much-needed energy after all those stairs! The bells are easy to find – just look for the goldfish in the sky!

Crawford Gallery Cork City

Crawford Gallery

For art lovers, this small but perfectly formed art gallery houses over 2000 pieces of sculpture, art, glass and video, with regular contemporary exhibitions. Make sure you also check out the magnificent wood-panelled library – it’s not open all of the time so ask a member of staff to view it if it’s closed.

Triskell Arts Centre

An exciting venue for cinema, live music, theatre, arts and festivals, with an excellent and reasonably priced bistro including a list of excellent wines, this is a buzzing spot for students, musicians, artists and visitors alike at all times of day and night. The room for performances is stunning – it’s a converted 18th century church and you can take a peek when it’s not in use.

St Fin Barre's Cathedral Cork City

Dating from 1863, built on a site of religious worship since the 12th century where the patron saint of Cork founded his first school and church, this cathedral is a stunning example of gothic architecture, with impressive stained glass, sculptures, mosaics and metal work designed by William Burges.

The English Market

English Market

An iconic market selling excellent food produce in the heart of Cork City, you can buy everything you want in a single visit – expect local artisan cheese and charcuterie, fresh fish and meat, handmade chocolates and ice cream. There’s also the excellent Farmgate Café upstairs, serving delicious food using the market’s produce; it’s a great spot for people watching when you sit along the balcony.

Cork Opera House

Cork Opera House

As well as opera, the programme includes a variety of top entertainment, both Irish and international, including comedy, ballet, classical, pantomimes and contemporary music. Check out the programme – but also try the café for some delicious eats at reasonable prices.

Lewis Glucksman Gallery UCC

University College Cork

UCC is a beautiful college with stunning shape and stonework set on lovely grounds, vist the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Crawford Observatory and the stone corridor of Ogham Stones while there. Visiting UCC will be very rewarding. The visitors centre offers an audio tour as well as guided tours by students, and when you’re done, the nearby Fitzgerald Park leads you along a lovely walking trail back to the city centre or across the river a short walk is the Cork City Gaol.

University College Cork

Festivals

The Midsummer Festival is Cork’s biggest multi-disciplinary arts festival, with an incredibly eclectic line-up for all ages including theatre, puppetry, photography, dance and literature. Established in 1956, the Cork International Film Festival (CIFF) is Ireland’s first and largest film festival and a local, national and international celebration of cinema, running annually in November each year in venues in Cork City and online nationwide via its Digital Festival Platform. CIFF's mission is to present Ireland’s most exciting, diverse, and ambitious annual film festival, connecting and stimulating audiences and artists through a carefully curated selection of the best films, to create a unique shared cultural experience, rooted in Cork, open to the world. The 66th edition of the Festival takes place 4 - 14 November 2021. Also a long standing institution, every October since 1978, the Cork Jazz Festival brings some of the world’s best jazz musicians to the city for a variety of shows, open mics, and sessions.

County Cork

Cork Map
Car Hire

Car Hire

Are you planning on renting a car in Ireland? We will compare the best car hire companies to get you the best price and overall deal. One way Car Rental is available. Rent a car at Dublin Airport, Cork Airport, Shannon Airport, Kerry Airport or Belfast, we give you an all inclusive quote.

With free cancellation and no credit card fees you have nothing to loose.

Accommodation in Cork

See & Do in Cork

  • Cork Beaches Beaches
    Some of the best beaches in Ireland are in County Cork.
  • Cork Castles &  Heritage Castles & Heritage
    Castles, forts and heritage sites in County Cork.
  • Cork Golf Courses Cork Golf Courses
    Top 10 golf courses in County Cork, with link to the official sites.
  • Cork Horse Riding Horse Riding
    Details of horse riding schools, where you can hire horses in County Cork
  • Cork Parks & Gardens Cork Parks & Gardens
    So many Parks & Gardens to choose from in County Cork.
  • Cork Pubs Pubs
    Best Pubs in County Cork for music and craic.
  • Cork Restaurants Cork Restaurants
    Discover the Best Restaurants in County Cork.
  • Cork Visitor Attractions Visitor Attractions
    Most popular Visitor Attractions in County Cork.
  • Cork Walks Walks
    Loop walks, forest walks, way marked walks, and beach walks.

East Cork

Irelands Ancient East

West Cork

Wild Atlantic Way

Getting Around Cork

  • Ireland Car Hire Car Hire
    Compare car hire companies in Ireland in seconds to get the best deals.
  • Ireland Bus & Coach Bus & Coach
    Bus & Coach services in Ireland with links to timetables
  • Ferry to Ireland Ferry to Ireland
    Details of the Ferry service to and from Ireland.
  • Irish Airports Irish Airports
    Airports in Ireland include, Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Kerry, Belfast
  • Ireland Taxis Taxi
    Taxi companies to pre-book your taxi journey in Ireland.
  • Trains in Ireland Trains
    Details of train service in Ireland including Lucas and the Dart.