Day Trips from Cork City
If you are fortunate enough to have a hire car in Cork, then you’ll probably be eager to get out and explore the countryside. While there’s plenty to see and do in the city itself, some of the finest attractions require a short drive. The following sites are particularly noteworthy, and all can be reached in just a few minutes’ drive from the city centre:
10 km north-west via the N20
It only takes 20 minutes to drive to Blarney Castle, one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Ireland. Construction began in the 10th century, when the building was used as a hunting lodge. The castle’s star attraction is the Blarney Stone, which legend holds can bestow the gift of eloquence on anyone who manages to kiss it. This wouldn’t be so difficult if not for the fact that the stone is positioned off of a ledge just out of reach. Kissing the stone is an acrobatic feat in itself, and it requires bending over backwards with the help of a spotter.
(16 km east via the E30)
This castle is also a short drive outside of Cork, where it was built in the 15th century. This tower house has been painstakingly restored, and the Main Hall and Great Hall are both fitted out with period furnishings. A herb garden and an orchard are also maintained on the grounds.
(20 km south-east via the E30 and R624)
Cobh is a lovely town located a mere 25 minutes’’ drive from Cork City. It occupies a stretch of coastline and has a stalwart maritime tradition. Today, visitors stop by to admire the architecture and enjoy fresh seafood in any number of restaurants and pubs. There’s also a decent after-hours scene here. However, Cobh wasn’t always such an upbeat place to visit. The Titanic stopped off here before setting out on its ill-fated voyage. This was also the point of departure for millions of starving emigrants during the great Irish potato famine.
Fota Wildlife Park and Arboretum
(17 km east via the E30 and R624)
This is one of the finest wildlife parks in all of Europe, and it only takes 20 minutes to drive here from Cork’s city centre. Much of the park is open, with 70 exotic species of wildlife roaming freely on a 40-acre plot of grassland. Ostriches, kangaroos, lemurs, zebras and giraffes are all in the mix. Understandably, the resident cheetah is kept in a separate enclosure. The white-tailed sea eagle is particularly famous, as it was once native to Ireland but has now disappeared from the wild. Find out more information about Fota Wildlife Park and Abroretum .