Cork is the second largest city in Ireland and a popular stop for tourists visiting the Emerald Isle. While the city itself has plenty to see and do, it also makes for a good base for those who want to explore a little more of the countryside. Here are 6 awesome day trips from Cork.
Note: These day trips from Cork can be done on your own if you have a car, or you can join a tour. A couple of this day trips (Cobh and Blarney) can also easily be done using local public transportation.
The Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is one of the most well-known scenic drives in Ireland and probably the most popular day trip from Cork. The length of the route is 179km (or 111 miles) and takes approximately 3.5 hours to drive-without stops. However, it’s recommended that you plan a whole day for this route since there are plenty of places to stop along the way including the colourful village of Sneem, Waterville village which offers views of Ballinskeeligs Bay and the Skellig Rocks, Torc Waterfall, ancient forts, and more. You can absolutely drive this route yourself, though the roads can get busy (it’s a popular route) and are quite tight. If you don’t have a car (or maybe would just rather not drive) you can take a day trip.
Blarney and Cobh
Two of the closest attractions to Cork, Blarney and Cobh can both be visited in one day making it a perfect option for a day trip from Cork.
Blarney is famous for its castle which is where you will find the legendary Blarney Stone. The origins of this stone is a little clouded, however folklore says those who kiss it will be given the gift of the gab.
While Blarney Castle is the highlight, the gardens are also worth a wander. Depending on what time of year you visit, you may be able to visit the manor as well.
Cobh is also very close by. This tiny fishing village is an Instagram favourite and known for being the last port of call for the Titanic. You can easily spend half a day wandering these cute streets with your camera in hand and be sure to visit the Titanic Experience museum, it’s definitely worth it. You can learn more about Cobh here.
The Dingle Peninsula, also known as Slea Head Drive, is one of my all-time favourite routes in Ireland. Personally, I prefer it over the Ring of Kerry. The Dingle Peninsula has gained a lot of fame in the past few years as a filming location for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but there is a lot more to see than just the filming locations. Highlights include: Dunmore Head (the most western part of Europe), the Beehive Huts, and the Sleeping Giant. If you have extra time in your schedule, I actually recommend spending a night or two in Dingle (check out my list of things to do in Dingle here), however, if you can’t then a day trip from Cork is definitely worth it.
Kilkenny and the Rock of Cashel
Another great option for a day trip from Cork is to visit the medieval city of Kilkenny and the Rock of Cashel. Kilkenny is home to a gorgeous castle, the Smithwicks distillery, and lots of cute little boutique shops. It’s a small town, but perfect for getting lost and exploring. If you are looking for some ideas of what to see and do in Kilkenny, read this post.
The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s best-known historic sites. Once the seat of the High King of Munster, today the Rock of Cashel (also known as the Cashel of the Kings) is one of the most visited tourist attractions from Ireland. It’s not a huge site, most people spend about 1-2 hours here, but you won’t be able to get there on your own without a car or tour.
If you are looking for a day trip from Cork that’s relatively close by, consider heading to Kinsale. Kinsale is known to be one of the prettiest towns in Ireland. With winding streets, colourful buildings, and lots of cute shops and pubs to check out, it’s a great place to explore for a couple of hours.
Kinsale is a small fishing village, which means it has a great waterfront location and is famous for its seafood, so make sure to stay for a meal. For those driving in Ireland, you may also be interested in knowing that Kinsale is the southern starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Cliffs of Moher
Chances are you visiting the west coast of Ireland during your visit and already have plans to go to the Cliffs of Moher (It’s an easy day trip from Galway or you can stay in the nearby Doolin which is a really cute village). But, if you don’t have the time to make it out that way, it is possible to do a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher from Cork. Plan on a long day since it is a bit of a drive, however if this is the only way to visit this famous Ireland attraction, then it’s definitely worth it.
Whether you are only in Cork for an extra day, or decided to spend longer and use it as a base, there are plenty of great day trips from Cork to keep you busy and allow you to see and explore more of Ireland.