Cobh Cathedral
Cobh Cathedral

4 Day Trips from Cork City That You Don’t Want to Miss

Are you planning to visit Cork City when you’re in Ireland?

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The country’s second-largest city has a whole lot to offer but after a day or two of exploring, you may want to venture out into the countryside.

Without a rental car, it can prove to be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are several affordable day trips that are intended to give visitors a taste of the popular attractions in County Cork and beyond.

Here are 4 day trips from Cork City that are totally worth doing.

  1. Ring of Kerry Day Tour from Cork: Including Killarney National Park

While County Kerry might seem out of bounds for many visitors who find themselves in Cork without a rental car, it’s really quite doable.

On this full-day tour with Paddywagon Day Tours, settle into a comfortable coach bus and enjoy the ride to Killarney.

people walking on a pedestrianized street 4 day trips from Cork City
A street in the center of Killarney. Photo: No Limit Pictures, Getty Images Signature.

While the town might seem a bit touristy, it’s definitely worth a look.

You’ll notice plenty of jaunting cars in town that are popular with tourists who want to see the area’s local attractions in a more unique way.

It goes without saying that Killarney has plenty of hotels, pubs and B&Bs, but there are lots of shops to explore in the center of town.

Some of the popular ones include Quills Woolen Market, The Aran Sweater Market, The Irish Pub Shop, with its unusual array of handmade and unusual Irish products, and much more.

a statue of a goat on top of a rock 4 day trips from Cork City
A statue of King Puck in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, one of the places you'll on one of the 4 day trips from Cork City. Photo: Courtesy Jennifer O'Sullivan for Failte Ireland.

The tour also includes a stop in Killorglin, where the annual Puck Fair takes place, a celebration that has been going on since 1613.

Your coach bus will meander along the Ring of Kerry, continuing to the Dingle Peninsula, with stops at Inch Beach, Dingle Bay and coastal areas where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Skellig Islands, the most famous of which is Skellig Michael.

a golf course 4 day trips from Cork City
A view of the Atlantic Ocean from the Waterville Golf Course. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

The journey continues to Waterville, the home of Waterville Golf Links, one of Ireland’s top-ranked golf courses and to the colorful village of Sneem.

The beautiful Killarney National Park is perhaps the highlight of this tour, with stops at the Torc Waterfall.

You’ll other notable sites around the park as well, including its famous red deer.

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  1. Dingle Peninsula Day Tour from Cork: Includes The Wild Atlantic Way

If the Dingle Peninsula is an area of County Kerry that you’ve always wanted to see but don’t want the hassle of doing the drive yourself, then this tour, also organized by Paddywagon Day Tours, is the perfect solution for you.

an aerial view of a beach 4 day trips from Cork City
Inch Beach in Co. Kerry. Photo: Banda73 for Getty Images.

The full-day tour departs from Paddy’s Palace Tourist Office on Bridge Street and proceeds to Kerry.

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Like the above tour, you will stop in the town of Killarney and then proceed to Inch Beach, where the legendary Ryan’s Daughter and Playboy of the Western World were filmed.

Expect to spend 30 minutes at this beautiful beach, which is popular with surfers.

a coast road the Slea Head Drive
The Slea Head Drive in County Kerry on the Wild Atlantic Way. Photo: JanMiko.

The highlight of the trip, in my opinion, is the Slea Head Drive, the popular circular route that begins and ends in Dingle.

Along the route, expect to see the legendary Fahan Beehive Huts that are believed to be the oldest of their type in Ireland, having been built without mortar, anywhere from the 8th through 12th centuries.

a stone hut 4 day trips from Cork City
The unusual bee hive huts in Fahan, Co. Kerry. Photo: Barb Mayer,

Historians believe that hermit monks and followers of Saint Peter may have lived in them, although pagans may have also inhabited the huts centuries earlier.

There are so many fabulous views on this route that it’s hard to tell which one is the most beautiful.

an island in the ocean 4 day trips from Cork City
The island off the County Kerry coast known as The Sleeping Giant is among the attractions you'll see on one of the 4 day trips from Cork City . Photo: Sharon Loxton, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Needless to say, the view of the Great Blasket Islands and The Sleeping Giant, an island in the Atlantic Ocean, is well worth seeing from Dunquin, another stop on the tour.

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Other beaches that you’ll see on the 2-hour Slea Head route include Coonenoole and Clogherhead, where the movie “Far and Away” was made.

The charming village of Dingle is the last stop on this fun-filled tour.

  1. Blarney Castle Tour Including Cobh, Charles Fort & Kinsale

Is kissing the Blarney Stone one of the things you want to do when you visit Ireland?

On this 9.5-hour day trip from Cork you can do just that.
Blarney Castle in Co. Cork. Photo: Tim Thompson for Tourism Ireland.

At Blarney Castle and Gardens, you’ll have 2 hours to explore.

But first on the list is the chance to kiss the legendary stone, which is believed to give anyone who kisses it the gift of the gab for seven years!

There’s more to the attraction than that of course, and the other things to see at Blarney Castle include the castle grounds, including its magnificent gardens.
A sign for the Poison Garden at Blarney Castle in Cork. Photo: Eileen Coffey, Failte Ireland.

The Blarney Castle estate houses one of the few poisoned gardens in Ireland.

In fact, the original poison garden that was planted in the 15th century still exists today.

It contains plants like wolfsbane, mandrake, ricin, and opium, all of which were possibly used as medicinal cures in medieval Ireland.

Sections of the castle’s interior that are of special interest include the Murder Hole, the Wishing Steps, the Witch’s Kitchen, and the dungeon.

Following your visit to the castle, the tour will continue to Charles Fort, close to the pretty town of Kinsale.
The seaward Devils Bastion and lighthouse of the 17th Century Charles Fort, with Kinsale boatyard in the background. Photo: Courtesy Cahir Davitt / Davitt Photography for Failte Ireland.

This 17th-century star-shaped fort located in Kinsale Harbor is one of the largest military installations in Ireland.

It has been associated with some of the country’s most momentous events, including the Williamite War of 1689-91 and the Irish Civil War of 1922-23.

Kinsale is known as a foodie haven. On this tour, you'll be able to explore its winding, centuries-old streets with its colorfully painted shops, pubs, cafes, and houses.
The pretty town of Cobh in County Cork. Photo: BLFink for Getty Images.

No visit to the Cork region is complete without visiting Cobh, the town where over 3 million people set sail for the New World, fleeing persecution, famine, and little opportunity in Ireland during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The tour will stop at St. Colman’s Cathedral, formerly known as Queenstown Cathedral, which overlooks Cork Harbor.
The interior of St. Colman's Cathedral in Cobh. Photo: Juan Jimenez.

The Gothic Revival-style cathedral is the tallest church in Ireland and contains the country’s only carillon, a pitched percussion instrument that holds 49 bells.

Your guide will recall those millions of people who left from the harbor and the town’s connection with the Titanic.
Visit The Cobh Heritage Centre on one of the 4 day trips from Cork City that you can take when visiting Southern Ireland. Photo: Peter Craine, CC BY-SA 2.0,

You will have 2 hours to explore Cobh and during that time, you might want to visit the Cobh Heritage Centre, where Annie Moore’s story is recounted.

Annie and her two brothers were the first emigrants to pass through New York's newly opened Ellis Island on Jan. 1, 1892.

  1. Scenic West Cork to Mizen Head

If you’re yearning to see the popular Wild Atlantic Way but don’t want to rent a car to do so, then taking this day trip from Cork will be more than satisfying.

Offered by Connemara Wild Escapes, the full-day tour includes an exploration of the beautiful Gougane Barra Forest Park, which contains 339 acres of forestry that is located within a lush valley at the edge of the Sheehy Mountains.

church on a lake the most beautiful places in Ireland
St. Finbarr's Church on Gougane Barra Lake in County Cork. Photo: Carrig Photos for Getty Images.

The most popular part of the park is the tiny island at the edge of the lake at the park’s entrance where St. Finbarr is said to have founded a monastery in the 6th century.

The 19th-century St. Finbarr’s Oratory is a popular spot for weddings and is surely a photographer’s dream.

The tour also stops at Clonakilty on the way to Mizen Head, which is the official end (or starting point) on the Wild Atlantic Way route.
The town of Clonakilty. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

This West Cork town is a charming place that is full of bright, hand-painted shop fronts, great restaurants, and pubs.

It is also known as the birthplace of Michael Collins, who served as chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State before he was killed in 1921.

Clonakilty is also an emerging foodie haven in the West Cork area and has several pubs and restaurants worth visiting.
The interior of the Clonakilty Pudding Visitor Centre. Photo: Mark Coombes, Failte Ireland.

They include the Clonakilty Brewing Company, the makers of the Tojo American Pale Ale, the Smuggler Irish Porter, and the Inchydoney Blond Belgian Wit; the Clonakilty Black Pudding, which can be found on the menus of several restaurants in the region and around the country; Clonakilty Homemade Ice Cream, with over 18 delicious flavors to choose from in its shop located in the center of the town, and Scannell's Pub and Restaurant, a popular gastropub.

Would you put any of these 4 day trips from Cork City on your itinerary . Let me know in the comments below.


Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

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