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Cork City

Cork is Ireland’s ‘second city’, and it serves as an excellent base from which to explore the southern countryside and coastline of the country. With a hire car at your disposal, you can fully explore the whole of Cork County, beginning with the core attractions in the city and then branching out into outlying areas.

A car from Cork city allows you to step away from the standard tourist offerings and enjoy a more candid look of the Irish countryside and coast. While most tourists are filing into and out of buses, queuing up for overpriced taxis and jockeying for position at major sightseeing attractions such as Blarney Castle, you’ll have the freedom to explore at off-peak hours and see the sites in relative solitude.

To be fair, the city centre is compact, and there’s plenty to see and do on foot as well. For the first day or two that you spend in Cork City, you may wish to leave your hire car in one of the city’s two multi-storey car parks and do some walking. Prominent sites in the city centre include Cork City Gaol, Crawford Art Gallery, St Finbarr’s Cathedral and the Old English Market.

However, most visitors waste little time in striking out into greater County Cork with a rental car. When you’re ready to get behind the wheel and do some serious exploring, make a point of visiting the following attractions:

Blarney Castle (6 miles north-west of Cork City)
One of the most famous sightseeing attractions in all of Ireland, Blarney Castle dates to the 10th century and has become famous for its showpiece—the legendary Blarney Stone. Said to impart the gift of gab to anyone who kisses it, the stone has been placed nearly (but not entirely) out of reach, and visitors come in droves to physically bend over backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone. 

Barrycourt Castle (10 miles east of Cork City)
While it may not be as famous as Blarney Castle, Barrycourt is lovely nonetheless. It’s fringed by orchards and gardens that are perfect for an early-morning stroll. The structure is actually a tower house, and it has been beautifully restored. Some of the most conspicuous rooms within are decked out in period furnishings that reflect life in the 15th century. 

Fota Wildlife Park (11 miles east of Cork City)
You may not have come to Ireland expecting to see exotic wildlife. All the same, Cork’s Fota Wildlife Park is a natural habitat that holds the sort big game animals you would expect to see on safari in Africa. The facility features 40 acres of grassland hosting some 70 exotic species, including giraffes, zebras and even a few kangaroos. Endangered eagles, cheetahs and ostriches are also in the mix. 

Cobh (12 miles south-east of Cork City)
Cobh is only 25 minutes’ drive from Cork City, and yet it’s a world apart from even a hint of big city life. This seaside community boasts a staunch maritime tradition and was even visited by the Titanic before it set sail on its first and final voyage. Weekenders frequent the harbour to dine on fresh seafood, admire the period architecture and shop in local boutiques. A spread of lively pubs, nightclubs and live-music venues light up after dark. More information on Cobh

If you have any questions about car hire in Ireland offered by Irish Car Rentals, please do not hesitate to contact us.