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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 191 hotels in Cork
Cork International Hotel £88
Cork International Hotel

Cork International Hotel

Cork Airport Business Park, Cork
     
    4.7
    of 5, from 913 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Situated near the airport, in Cork, this hotel is close to Frankfield Golf Club, Cork University Hospital and Victoria Hospital South Infirmary. Local attractions also include University College Cork and Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral.

    Clayton Hotel Cork City £104
    Clayton Hotel Cork City

    Clayton Hotel Cork City

    Lapps Quay, Cork
       
      4.4
      of 5, from 892 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Situated in the city centre, this spa hotel is close to Cork City Hall, Bells of Shandon and St. Anne's Shandon Church. Also nearby are Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral and University College Cork.

      The River Lee Hotel £120
      The River Lee Hotel

      The River Lee Hotel

      Western Road, Cork
         
        4.7
        of 5, from 1,254 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        This family-friendly Cork hotel is located on the riverfront, within a 10-minute walk of Granary Theatre and Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral. University College Cork and Bells of Shandon are also within 1 mile (2 km).

        Fota Island Hotel & Spa £94
        Fota Island Hotel & Spa

        Fota Island Hotel & Spa

        Fota Island, Fota
           
          4.4
          of 5, from 396 reviews
          5.0 out of 5.0

          This family-friendly hotel is located in Fota, close to Fota House Arboretum and Gardens, Fota Wildlife Park and Barryscourt Castle. Local attractions also include Cobh Golf Club.

          The Kingsley £90
          The Kingsley

          The Kingsley

          Victoria Cross, Cork
             
            4.6
            of 5, from 925 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).

            Jurys Inn Cork £74
            Jurys Inn Cork

            Jurys Inn Cork

            Andersons Quay, Cork
               
              4.1
              of 5, from 1,101 reviews
              3.0 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.

              Rochestown Park Hotel £78
              Rochestown Park Hotel

              Rochestown Park Hotel

              Rochestown Road, Douglas
                 
                4.1
                of 5, from 578 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in Douglas, this spa hotel is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) from Douglas Golf Club and within 3 miles (5 km) of Cork City Hall and Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral. Pairc Ui Rinn and Christ the King Church are also within 3 miles (5 km).

                Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork £74
                Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork

                Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork

                Ditchley House Little Island, Cork
                   
                  4.2
                  of 5, from 440 reviews
                  4.0 out of 5.0

                  This family-friendly hotel is located in the business district, close to Dunkathel House, Fota Wildlife Park and Mahon Point Shopping Centre. Local attractions also include Blackrock Castle and Fota House Arboretum and Gardens.

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