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10 Things to Do in Cork

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Spanning two of the Wild Atlantic Way’s six diverse regions, Southern Peninsulas and The Haven Coast, County Cork offers dizzying clifftops, island paradises, historic houses and shorelines to stroll your cares away.

Looking to get away from it all at the Atlantic’s edge? Cork’s pretty much got you sorted, boy.

Here are just 10 of the many ways to get your County Cork kicks:

  • The white sands and secluded dunes of Inchydoney Beach

1. Inchydoney Beach

One of Cork’s many beautiful beaches, with white sands, secluded dunes and the rhythm of lapping waves, Inchydoney is on just about every beach-lover’s to-do list. Only a few miles from Clonakilty, you can indulge in great grub after your day by the sea shore.

2. Mizen Head

With a vertiginous suspension bridge, an historic signal station, wildlife on tap and lighthouse views to boot, Mizen Head is Ireland’s most southwesterly point and a fine way to experience the county’s exceptional windswept scenery.

3. Garinish Island

Find a horticultural oasis on an island within Glengarriff Harbour and see the Gulf Stream in full effect. Garinish Island blooms with astounding oriental and southern hemisphere plant life in these beautifully-designed and uniquely-placed gardens.

Kinsale Harbour, County Cork

4. Old Head of Kinsale

Where would you find a world-class golf course, an eye-catching lighthouse and an incredible vantage point over the crashing Atlantic? On the captivating Old Head of Kinsale. A headland that juts some 3km out to sea, you can even take a boat cruise around it and be wowed by its majesty from below.

5. Bantry House & Gardens

This 17th-century residence gives an incredible glimpse into the life and travels of the 2nd Earl of Bantry, Richard White. Having collected art and treasures from all over the world, today’s visitors can view White’s vast collection in his stunning ancestral mansion. The house’s gardens are just as impressive with seven leafy Italian-style terraces, this truly is how the other half live.

6. Dursey Island

Accessible by Ireland’s only cable car, a breezy 250m above the sea, Dursey Island is the most westerly of Cork’s inhabited islands and a more pleasant idyll you’d struggle to find. Ideal for a real off-grid day trip, you’ll find three small villages, a beautiful walking trail, ancient church ruins and not a pub or shop in sight.

7. Lough Hyne

Just between Skibbereen and Baltimore sits Ireland’s very first designated Marine Nature Reserve, its only salt water lake and arguably the world’s most studied body of water, mesmerising Lough Hyne. Investigated by marine biologists for centuries, its utterly unique eco-system runs on warm oxygenated seawater, making this marine marvel home to over 70 fish species and a wealth of plant life.

  • One of the largest military forts; Charles Fort.
  • Friendly folks on the Beara Peninsula
  • Whale watching off the coast of Cork

8. Charles Fort

One of the largest military forts in the country and probably one of the most picturesque with its elevation above the sea, Kinsale’s Charles Fort has seen its share of history from the 17th century right up to the Irish Civil War in 1922. Stroll its lush green star-shaped fortifications and get a real feel for its place in the history books.

9. Beara Peninsula

In this neck of the woods taking on a peninsula is simply a must and Beara’s a real beauty. Following this weather-beaten stretch of land you’ll take in scenic towns and villages like Glengarriff, Adrigole, Castletownbere, Allihies and more, all while drinking in Atlantic views, mountain vistas and endless photographic pitstops.

10. Whale Watching

A particularly great coastal corner when it comes to spotting our fin and flippered friends, enjoy your pick of whale watching tours and cruises in County Cork. Get your splash-proof cameras ready as down here you’ve very strong chances of seeing humpback, fin, minke and killer whales in all their majesty, not to mention dolphins, porpoises and seals too.

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