Cork
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Cork Culture & History

From Cork: 9-Hour Guided Ring of Kerry and Killarney Tour

1. From Cork: 9-Hour Guided Ring of Kerry and Killarney Tour

Take a 9-hour guided bus tour of the enchanting county of Kerry and admire magnificent scenery from soaring hills to rolling landscapes scattered with traditional stone walls. Enjoy the unsurpassed, rugged coastline and the buzz of the traditional town of Killarney. Board your bus at the meeting point in Cork, then feel Irish rural life from days gone by coming alive at your first stop at the Kerry Bog Village in Glenbeigh. Wander through thatched cottages, visit a traditional farmhouse, and meet the resident Irish wolfhounds. You might even choose to treat yourself to a little something to drink at the Red Fox Inn. From Glenbeigh, travel around the Iveragh Peninsula, along the most beautiful stretch of coastline. The next stops are at Waterville and Coomakista, two of Kerry’s most scenic spots with panoramic views stretching from the mountains to the sea. Look toward the ocean and catch a glimpse of the iconic Skellig Islands, Celtic pyramids reaching out from the sea. These natural monuments were famously featured in the recent Star Wars movie. Make your next stop on the famous Ring of Kerry in Sneem, a picturesque Irish seaside village nestled in the sheltered waters of Kenmare Bay with wonderful choices for a traditional Irish lunch. Choose bacon and cabbage — an Irish staple — or, since you are beside the sea, freshly-caught fish served with chips. Lunch is at your own expense. After the lunch stop, prepare for a drive you will never forget. Verging deep into the MacGillycuddy's Reek mountains and the moody Black Valley, numerous scenic viewpoints can be found along the route: Moll’s Gap mountain pass, Ladies View lookout (a favorite spot of Queen Victoria), and even a Leprechaun crossing. Along the shores of Lough Leane, drive through the woodlands of Ireland’s last native oak trees. Then, arrive in Killarney, often voted the most beautiful town in Ireland. Killarney has so much to offer. Opt to spend your time seeing the surrounding area from a traditional horse and cart or walk the streets soaking up the atmosphere. Finally, hop back on the bus for the return journey to Cork where you will be dropped off at the starting point.

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Cork: Fastnet Rock Lighthouse and Cape Clear Island Tour

2. Cork: Fastnet Rock Lighthouse and Cape Clear Island Tour

Take the ferry from Baltimore or Schull and cross the beautiful waters of Roaring Water Bay. Arrive in the wonderful north harbor on Cape Clear Island and go by shuttle bus to Cape Clear Heritage Centre. There, learn the history of the island and Fastnet Rock. Spend some time exploring the island and its walking trails, stop at the spectacular lookout points and spot the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse in the distance. Be sure to enjoy some fresh island produce during lunch at one of the island’s bars and restaurants. After lunch, re-board the ferry and sit back as the experienced captain takes you further into the real Wild Atlantic Way. You might even catch a glimpse of whales and dolphins in the water. As you circumnavigate the tallest and widest rock lighthouse in Ireland and the UK, learn its history and importance from the onboard audio system. Hear about the “Teardrop” of Ireland, the last glimpse of the country that the immigrant ships saw before they headed over the horizon to the New World - America. Once Fastnet Rock has been circled twice (so that all passengers can get the perfect photo), head for home and enjoy the spectacular scenery until reaching the final port.

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From Cork: Guided Full-Day West Cork to Mizen Head Tour

3. From Cork: Guided Full-Day West Cork to Mizen Head Tour

Immerse yourself in Irish culture on this day trip filled with fantastic photo opportunities. Starting in the historic city of Cork, travel by coach to Ireland’s most southwesterly point and view the dramatic cliff scenery of Mizen Head. As you drive through picturesque villages and towns, expect to see some awe-inspiring scenery as Ireland shows off its spectacular landscape. From the meeting point in Cork, travel first to Gougane Barra, home to Ireland's oldest National Forest Park and famous for St. Finbarr's Oratory, its stunning 19th-century church. Enjoy panoramic views of where the River Lee rises. Then, wander through Bantry, one of West Cork's most vibrant market towns, and do some shopping or sit down to a traditional cup of Irish tea and perhaps a scone. The next part of the journey takes you to Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southwesterly point — the edge of Europe and a signature key discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way. Admire the cliffs of Mizen Head that rise high above the Atlantic Ocean, where the currents meet and the waves from the Atlantic crash into land. Before returning to Cork city, discover Clonakilty, an iconic Irish town. Visit a museum, an Irish pub for a pint of Murphy's, or simply wander the colorful streets. You'll return to the city of Cork in the evening, where you'll be dropped off at the original meeting point.

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Dublin: Full-Day Tour to Cork, Cobh and Blarney Castle

4. Dublin: Full-Day Tour to Cork, Cobh and Blarney Castle

Escape the hustle and bustle of Dublin on a full-day tour south, departing by train from Heuston Station at 06:40 for the InterCity service to Cork City. Upon arrival, head to Blarney Castle, where you can kiss the famous Blarney Stone and acquire the gift of eternal eloquence! Then, relax with some free time to shop and enjoy lunch in Blarney village. Next, return to Cork for a short city tour of Ireland’s southern capital, famous for its arts, music and literature scenes. Built on the site of a 6th-century monastic settlement, the city center is full of Georgian buildings, 17th-century alleys, and dynamic new architecture. Continue your journey along Cork Harbour to Cobh, location of the Queenstown Story Heritage Center. Set in a beautifully restored railway station of the Victorian age, it was also the transatlantic terminal that served as the point of departure to the New World for generations of Irish emigrants, from the time of famine up to recent years. Transfer back to Cork City center to catch your return InterCity train back to Dublin, with a scheduled arrival at Heuston Station at 20:20.

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South Ireland: Galway and Kerry 3-Day Budget Tour

5. South Ireland: Galway and Kerry 3-Day Budget Tour

Discover the majestic beauty of the Ring of Kerry and South Ireland on a 3-day budget tour to Gaelic-speaking Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. Mix with local characters, and learn the legends of the “Emerald Isle” up-close-and-personal. Enjoy an unforgettable night in Killarney, Ireland’s party capital. Dormitory style accommodation is provided in hostels, with the option to stay in B&B or apartment-style accommodation for those that crave a bit more privacy. Day 1: Dublin - Connemara - Galway Depart Dublin for Galway, traveling towards the west of Ireland, and stopping en route for a comfort break. Enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Irish midlands. Experience the rugged wilderness of Connemara as you drive over dramatic mountains that have provided the setting for countless Hollywood movies. Continue along the Connemara coastline to Galway City. Find a nice pub in Galway Bay to listen to some traditional Irish music before retiring for the night. Day 2: Galway - Cliffs of Moher - Kerry Experience the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean as you drive down the west coast. See beautiful beaches of golden sand, keeping a lookout for dolphins and whales along the way. Follow the route of the Atlantic Way, the world’s longest coastal touring route. Explore the lunar landscape of The Burren, the only place on earth where Alpine, Arctic, and Mediterranean flowers grow side-by-side. Then, discover the crown jewels of Ireland at the Cliffs of Moher. See why the cliffs were chosen as a backdrop for the film "The Princess Bride," and why world surf champ Kelly Slater shot the award-winning surf movie "Wave Rider" there. Spend the night in Kerry, where nightlife offerings include the chance to sing a few of the songs your guide will have taught you during the day (please note that on some tours, accommodation will be in Cork, depending on availability). Day 3: Kerry – Blarney Castle - Dublin Take in some highlights of the Ring of Kerry (which typically include Moll's Gap, Leprechaun Crossing, Killarney National Park, Lakes of Killarney, Torc Waterfall) before enjoying time at leisure in Killarney. Many guests enjoy an (optional) horse and carriage or horse ride. The journey back to Dublin takes you on a leisurely drive through the heritage town of Adare, with its fabulous thatched cottages, and the Golden Vale, Ireland's finest agricultural land with its rolling fields and pastures. Return to Dublin by 19:00 approx.

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Cork Self-Guided Audio Tour

6. Cork Self-Guided Audio Tour

Download a vibrant MP3 Self-Guided Audio Tour combined with a fully detailed map of your tour area. Known as Ireland’s second capital, Cork is rich with old historic churches and houses that have been around for hundreds of years. This audio tour will immerse you in its historical quays and pathways leading you to its famous St Patrick’s Street, its enchanting English Market, and the charming church of St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral. You’ll see an abundance of traditional Irish pubs and restaurants, and hear traditional music as you walk through this magical city. Be sure to bask in the charismatic lifestyle of the Irish. You will also see the Queen's Old Castle, French Church Street, the famous Cork Butter Museum, St Anne's Church and the Bells of Shandon, the Elizabeth Fort off Barrack Street, the Nano Nagle Bridge with the National Monument and the Bishop Lucey Park. You can do all this at your own pace. 

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Cork: 1.25-Hour Guided Walking Tour

7. Cork: 1.25-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Feel the city of Cork come alive on this interactive walk. Learn about the unique history, friendly people, colorful culture, and traditions specific to Cork with a passionate guide. Delight in stories from the past and present in a group of no more than 40 people. As you set off on the walk around the 800-year-old city, experience the smells and sounds of the world-renowned English Market bustling with foodie finds. Stroll along the busy lanes of the 18th Century Huguenot Quarter and visit Burges' magnificent French Neo-Gothic cathedral. The 1.25-hour walk takes place in the city center and introduces you to Cork by the River Lee. As you go, explore the history of Cork, from monastic times into the 21st century. Through the joy of storytelling, you'll also learn about other areas and places of historic interest including Shandon and University College Cork. A good walk generates a good appetite and your guide will help you discover a variety of places to eat, drink, and enjoy live music and the best entertainment Cork has to offer during your visit. Your guide will also make sure you have a wonderful day, no matter the weather.

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Cork: Cape Clear Island Tour

8. Cork: Cape Clear Island Tour

Take the ferry from Baltimore or Schull Harbour and cross the beautiful waters of Roaring Water Bay. Feel the fresh sea air against your face on a spectacular journey through some of Carbery’s Hundred Isles, some of which are inhabited. Scan the spectacular scenery and look out for whales and dolphins. Cape Clear or Cléire is the largest of these Islands and lies 6 miles from the mainland along the Wild Atlantic Way. With a population of 130 people, Cape Clear is Ireland’s most southerly inhabited island and is one of the few Gaeltacht speaking (Irish speaking) islands in the country. Arrive in the wonderful north harbor on Cape Clear Island and take a shuttle bus to Cape Clear heritage center. There, explore the history of the island and the interactive display about Fastnet Rock. This wild and romantic Island offers visitors an insight into a way of life that has long since disappeared from most of Ireland. Spend some free time exploring Cape Clear. Wander the walking trails, enjoy the spectacular lookout points and spot the 159-feet tall Fastnet Rock Lighthouse in the distance. Enjoy some fresh island produce during lunch at one of the island’s bars and restaurants before heading back.

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Best of Ireland 6-Day Backpackers Economy Tour

9. Best of Ireland 6-Day Backpackers Economy Tour

Mix with local characters, and get a unique insight into Ireland’s legends, landscapes and people on a week long tour of the island, north and south. Explore city life in Belfast, Derry and Cork, go to the rocks of the Giant's Causeway, walk along the Cliffs of Moher, tour the Dingle Peninsula, and enjoy a glass of the black stuff at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin. The tour takes in the highlights of Ireland’s four corners, including all the sights of Northern Ireland, and includes a night at a traditional Irish pub, plenty of opportunities to dance the night away, hikes through bogs and castle ruins, and much more. Day 1: Dublin - Belfast Depart from Dublin at 9:00 AM, and begin your adventure at Drogheda, where you'll see the preserved head of St. Oliver Plunkett in St. Peter’s Cathedral. Cross the border at South Armagh. A fascinating evening in Belfast awaits. Learn why “Lonely Planet” described the capital of Northern Ireland as one of the top 10 “Must-See” destinations on earth. You can take an (optional) Black Taxi tour to see the Peace Wall and political murals. With accommodation in the Downtown area of the university area, great nightlife will be on your doorstep, while the peaceful Botanic Gardens are a short stroll if you prefer to relax among the scent of roses. Day 2: Belfast - Derry Today you will cruise the beautiful north coast. See - and cross, if you dare - Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (seasonal and subject to a small optional charitable donation to the National Trust). Then, trace the footprints of Celtic giants as you walk the Giant's Causeway, Ulster's number one attraction since 2 million BC. Marvel at an estimated 60,000 hexagonal columns of basalt rock, formed by violent volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Your guide will wax lyrical about how the giant warrior hero, Fionn McCool, built it to fight off the pesky Scots – according to local legend! You'll have plenty of time to take the high or low road hikes, before setting off for Dunluce Castle, ancestral home of the McDonnell clan. Learn how the castle came to ruin in 1639, when the kitchen collapsed into the sea during a great feast, and about the ghosts of the staff said to still linger. Spend the night in Derry, a jewel of a city for history buffs. Your accommodation will be in the ancient streets of the Downtown area, perfectly placed for the traditional music night at Peadar O'Donnells pub. Day 3: Derry - Galway Start the day with a hearty breakfast before an in-depth walking tour of Derry's historic walls (1601). Learn why the city is officially known as Londonderry, and the story of the long bloody siege of 1689. Go to the popular Bogside district, scene of the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1972, and inspiration for U2's classic anthem “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” Next, drive through enchanting Sligo, visiting the sacred grave of the Irish poet and Nobel laureate, WB Yeats. Experience the archaeological richness of Ireland's northwest coast, before spending the night in Galway, the nation’s party capital. Your guide will take you to a cozy pub in the Latin Quarter for a glass of Guinness to the beat of electrifying Irish music and the sweet sound of the Gaelic language. Day 4: Galway - Dingle Today you will have the wild Atlantic Ocean by your side as you travel down the west coast, passing golden sand beaches, and maybe even a few dolphins and whales. Run around the lunar landscape of The Burren, the only place on earth where Alpine, Arctic, and Mediterranean flowers grow side-by-side. Hear about the horrors of the great Potato Famine of 1845-49 that saw more than a million Irish flee to the 4 corners of the globe. Next, gaze in awe at the Cliffs of Moher, and see why they were used as the “Cliffs of Insanity” in the movie “The Princess Bride.” Cross the River Shannon to Limerick, setting for Frank McCourt's blockbuster book, “Angela's Ashes.” Tonight you'll stay in your very own Irish pub, the Randy Leprechaun! Located in Annascaul on the Dingle Peninsula, it will be a great chance to mix with the locals and enjoy the characters of a genuine small village away from the tourist traps. Pull up a stool by the fire or dance the night away. In the morning, you can always take a swim with Fungi the Dolphin in Dingle Harbour, if you’re feeling brave. Day 5: Dingle - Killarney Take a short drive to the Gaelic-speaking fishing village of Dingle for some free time to shop and lunch in the charming center. Then, enjoy a scenic tour around Slea Head, with loads of time off the bus to take photos, or even take a wee hike. Your guide will tell you the folk stories and songs of the region as you visit Sleeping Giant Island and the famous 3 Sisters Mountains. Go for an (optional) horse-led car ride through Killarney National Park, and experience a tradition that has continued since the 1800s. You will spend the night in Killarney, a tour favorite for its huge range of activities on offer. Listen to traditional music, or discover great bars, restaurants and nightlife just steps from your hostel. Try singing a few of the songs your guide taught you during the day! Day 6: Killarney - Dublin Cross the Cork and Kerry Mountains, and kiss the Blarney Stone on top of Blarney Castle. Located in the rebel county of Cork, Blarney Castle is one of the most famous tourist sites in Europe, with great shopping opportunities. Kissing the Blarney stone isn't everyone's cup of tea, but a tour of the castle’s dungeons, caves and hidden bedrooms provides a great insight into a 12th-century masterpiece. Whether or not you need the gift of the gab, said to be yours after kissing the stone, dangling off the 300-foot battlements while being held by a middle-aged Irishman is too good an offer to turn down! After lunch, visit the beautiful Golden Vale, Ireland's finest agricultural land, and marvel at rolling fields and fresh pastures. Make your way through the battlefields of "Braveheart" for the tour’s grand finale in Dublin; a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. Say cheers to your guides and fellow travelers with a pint of the black stuff before you say your goodbyes.

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Cork: Full-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour

10. Cork: Full-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour

Experience the vibrancy of Cork city and enjoy visits to its must-see attractions, all at your own convenience. Hop on and off the bus as many times as you want and join the tour at any of the stops along the route.  Your tour begins in the heart of Cork city at the Grand Parade, the location of the world-famous English Market. Hop off at the next stop for St. Patrick’s Street shopping district, home to local and international brands plus restaurants and cafes.  Travel onward to the Victorian Quarter and connect to local rail services including Cobh at Kent Station. View the iconic City Hall before continuing toward Shandon where you can try your hand at ringing the bells in the Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Anne. Take a trip back in time and visit the old Cork City Gaol (Jail), which opened in 1824.  Stroll around the campus of University College Cork (UCC) and admire the beautiful quadrangle and stone buildings. Lastly, visit the Gothic Revival St. Fin Barre's Cathedral and try to spot the “Golden Angel.”

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What people are saying about Cork

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 431 reviews

Really enjoyed the trip to the Fastnet Rock. Well organised. We had plenty of time to view the Fastnet as we went around it twice, nice and slowly. While the highlight of the trip was the Fastnet it was also good to view Cape Clear and Sherkin islands from the sea. We also had great sea views of the famous Baltimore Beacon. An very enjoyable trip which we plan to repeat at some stage.

Noel our Cork guide for the afternoon was a joy to be with, his knowledge was fascinating and the way he put it across was both informative and fun. Take the tour on arrival as it adds so much to your Cork holiday. Thankyou Noel.

This guided tour was amazing. Jonathan was a wonderful host. He gave us a lot of info about the places we visited. Overall I enjoyed this trip

Very informative just the right length and saw things we would not have found on our own

Lot of hill walking on Cape Clear but very good ,Fastnet lighthouse fabulous trip