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County Cork Holiday Guide

County Cork is the epitome of everything that makes Ireland so popular, a beguiling combination of vibrant cities and towns, a spectacular coastline, beautiful countryside, warm hospitality and amazing cuisine.

It is the largest county in Ireland by some distance, but its vast hinterland of dairy farms, agricultural fields and low mountains play second fiddle to a coast jam-packed with beaches, secluded inlets and coves and charming old fishing towns and villages. It is also home to the buzzing metropolis of Cork, affectionately referred to by locals as “the real capital of Ireland”.

A City to Remember

Ireland’s second city, Cork is known for its culture, electric atmosphere, entertainment and ever-changing selection of pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants, which set the country’s culinary standards.

The compact and attractive centre is surrounded by pretty waterways, an island full of impressive Georgian parades, 17th century alleyways and modern attractions. The main shopping area is centred in and around St Patrick’s Street, with many of the city’s best pubs and eateries to be found at either end.

There are some fabulous attractions, a mixture of old and new, to explore. The English Market in Princes Street is unmissable, with vendors selling tasty local produce under an ornate vaulted ceiling. Grand St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Bishop Street is lavish both inside and out while the imposing Cork City Gaol graphically reveals how tough life was for 19th century prisoners. Cork Opera House also warrants a visit.

Corking Coastline

The stretch of coast running west from Cork city to the lively town of Skibbereen is full of inlets and hidden coves, with some lovely sandy beaches and a relaxed atmosphere making the area popular.

Divided by Roaring Water Bay, vibrant Baltimore and the buzzing little arts hub of Schull attract a cosmopolitan crowd. Baltimore is the archetypal maritime village, with life centred around a busy little port and holiday homes filled with anglers and visitors heading for the nearby islands of Cape Clear and Sherkin.

Kinsale, with its handsome harbour, lively bars, great restaurants, independent little shops and sheltered bay guarded by an impressive fort, is another popular port of call.

There are five giant fingers of folded rock running along the coast between Cork and Kerry, all offering stunning views of each other and the wild Atlantic Ocean. They include Mizen Head, Sheep's Head and the Beara Peninsula, a stunning landscape made even more dramatic by the backdrop of Glengariff’s dark mountains.

Kinsale and the city of Cork, in particular, have much to offer when it comes to sightseeing, but the county is packed with fascinating attractions.

The charming hill town of Cobh was the final port of call for the Titanic, a fact commemorated in a museum opened in 2012 to mark the centenary of the stricken liner’s only voyage. Subtropical plants thrive on Garnish Island, where a miraculous Italianate garden has been created on the rocks, while Blarney Castle, Bantry House, the Mizen Head Signal Station and Drombeg Stone Circle are all well worth a visit.


Guide to Exploring Cork


Top Hotel Deals

See all 237 properties in Cork
The Kingsley £75
The Kingsley

The Kingsley

Victoria Cross, Cork
     
    4.6
    of 5, from 1,160 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Situated in Cork, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Cork County Hall and University College Cork. Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral and Bells of Shandon are also within 2 miles (3 km).

    The River Lee Hotel £99
    The River Lee Hotel

    The River Lee Hotel

    Western Road, Cork
       
      4.7
      of 5, from 1,397 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      This family-friendly Cork hotel is located on the riverfront, within a 10-minute walk of Glucksman Gallery, Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral and Triskel Arts Centre. University College Cork and Cork Opera House are also within 15 minutes. CORK (Station) is 29 minutes by foot.

      Jurys Inn Cork £60
      Jurys Inn Cork

      Jurys Inn Cork

      Andersons Quay, Cork
         
        4.1
        of 5, from 1,226 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Located in the heart of Cork, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Custom House and Cork City Hall. Bells of Shandon and St. Anne's Shandon Church are also within 15 minutes. CORK (Station) is 10 minutes by foot.

        Cork International Hotel £79
        Cork International Hotel

        Cork International Hotel

        Cork Airport Business Park, Cork
           
          4.7
          of 5, from 1,027 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Situated near the airport, this hotel is 2.8 mi (4.6 km) from Frankfield Golf Club and within 6 miles (10 km) of University College Cork and Cork City Hall. Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral and St. Anne's Shandon Church are also within 6 miles (10 km).

          Clayton Hotel Cork City £91
          Clayton Hotel Cork City

          Clayton Hotel Cork City

          Lapps Quay, Cork
             
            4.4
            of 5, from 1,013 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            Located in the heart of Cork, this spa hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Custom House, Cork City Hall and Bells of Shandon. St. Anne's Shandon Church and Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral are also within 1 mile (2 km). CORK (Station) is 12 minutes by foot.

            Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork £68
            Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork

            Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork

            Ditchley House Little Island, Cork
               
              4.2
              of 5, from 498 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              This family-friendly Cork hotel is located in the business district, 1.8 mi (3 km) from Dunkathel House, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Fota Wildlife Park and Mahon Point Shopping Centre. Paul Street and English Market are also within 6 miles (10 km). Glounthaune Station is 8 minutes by foot.

              Fota Island Hotel & Spa £86
              Fota Island Hotel & Spa

              Fota Island Hotel & Spa

              Fota Island, Fota
                 
                4.5
                of 5, from 480 reviews
                5.0 out of 5.0

                This family-friendly Fota hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Fota Wildlife Park, Barryscourt Castle and Fota House Arboretum and Gardens. Titanic Trail and Cobh Golf Club are also within 6 miles (10 km).

                The Montenotte Hotel £92
                The Montenotte Hotel

                The Montenotte Hotel

                Middle Glanmire Road, Cork
                   
                  4.0
                  of 5, from 646 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  This family-friendly Cork hotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Holy Family Church, Cork City Hall and Bells of Shandon. St. Anne's Shandon Church and Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral are also within 2 miles (3 km). CORK (Station) is 12 minutes by foot.

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