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County Cork

Culture & History

Our most recommended County Cork Culture & History

Cork: Jameson Experience Whiskey Tour

1. Cork: Jameson Experience Whiskey Tour

Set on 15 acres of lovely grounds, the Jameson Experience is both an education and a cultural experience as soon as you step through its doors. You will discover the largest pot still in the world, the Angels Share, and of course, the finest of Irish whiskeys. Daytime tours operate 7 days all year round, except selected dates at Christmas. The journey begins with an audiovisual presentation, followed by a 1-hour guided tour through the original distillery. Your experience ends at the Jameson Bar with a glass of Jameson, a 3-part comparison whiskey tasting, and the chance to become a "Qualified Irish Whiskey Taster." After your tour, feel free to browse the Distillery gift shop, where you will find exclusive Jameson gifts to take home, such as the Jameson Distillery Edition, a superb whiskey exclusively for sale at Midleton. Make it even more special by having your bottle personalized as a great gift or memento of your visit.

Cork: 2-Hour Guided Cork Harbour Scenic Cruise

2. Cork: 2-Hour Guided Cork Harbour Scenic Cruise

Cruise along the River Lee and through Lough Mahon on a picturesque sightseeing tour. Enjoy 360-degree views from the top deck to witness Cork Harbour and beyond in all its glory. Come across important historical sights, which include excellent views of Blackrock Castle, now housing an observatory and restaurant. Spot Martello Towers and travel past the colorful town of Passage West and Haulbowline Island, with a vast history as a 17th-century military base. Sit back and relax, but keep your eyes open for some exciting sightings, such as seals, luxurious yachts, fortifications, and cultural landmarks.

From Dublin: Cahir and Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour

3. From Dublin: Cahir and Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour

Set off on board a luxury, air-conditioned bus and watch Dublin's urban cityscape give way to the rolling, green hills of the Irish countryside. Drive through several areas of interest, including the Galtee Mountains and the Curragh in County Kildare, which is home to Ireland's National Stud Farm. First, arrive at Blarney Castle which is known around the world for its famous Blarney Stone. Kiss the stone and receive the “gift of the gab." Be sure to explore the rest of Blarney Castle as well as its lush grounds and woodland walks. Discover the scenic Rock Close by taking the Wishing Steps.  Depart Cork and arrive at one of Ireland’s 7 Wonders, the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. Explore the Hall of Vicars, Cormack’s Chapel, the Celtic Cathedral, the Round Tower, and the surrounding grounds filled with ancient high crosses. Admire one of Ireland’s oldest Romanesque wall paintings inside this world-famous historical landmark. For your final stop of the day, visit one of Ireland's largest and best-preserved castles, Cahir Castle. The Castle was built in the 13th century, to house the Butler family. Built as a defensive castle it still boasts a lot of the original structure. Afterward, return to Dublin city center to complete your tour.

Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour from Dublin

4. Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour from Dublin

Discover Ireland’s most famous castle on a full-day tour from Dublin, and kiss the legendary Blarney Stone of Blarney Castle. Depart Dublin through the green fields and dairy farms of the Golden Vale of County Cork, and enjoy panoramic views of the Galtee Mountains and County Tipperary along the way. Head in to Cork City on the banks of the River Lee, pausing for approximately 1-hour to wander at leisure. Use your free time to visit the historic English Market, or marvel at St. Finbarre’s Cathedral. Drive on to Blarney Castle, home of the legendary Blarney Stone. It’s said that if you kiss the stone you will receive the “gift of the gab” for 7 years! Explore the castle grounds and gardens to discover the Witch's Cave, and enjoy tax free shopping at Blarney Woollen Mills and craft shop. Go to one of Ireland's most evocative sites, stroll in the footsteps of St Patrick, Celtic crosses and round towers. Depart for Dublin, driving via the Golden Vale of County Tipperary, with an estimated arrival time back in the city at 21:00.

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

5. 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.

Cork: Fastnet Rock Lighthouse and Cape Clear Island Tour

6. 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.

The Titanic Trail: 1-Hour Guided Walking Tour of Cobh

7. The Titanic Trail: 1-Hour Guided Walking Tour of Cobh

This fascinating guided walking tour explores the town of Cobh in Cork Harbor, which was the last port of call of RMS Titanic. Participants are taken by specially trained guides to re-live a Titanic timeline journey through the historic town of Cobh. The vista of the town remains the same as it was on the day the Titanic's passengers embarked from the Port of Cork. The tour recounts many interesting facts about the Titanic, the Titanic's history, and its association with Cobh from when it departed on its last fateful journey nearly 100 years ago. The Titanic walking tour will bring you through the streets and environs of Cobh, revealing locations and incidents directly connected to the Titanic and many other aspects of Cork Harbor’s history and Irish heritage.

Ireland: 5-Day Escape to the Southwest Tour

8. Ireland: 5-Day Escape to the Southwest Tour

Discover the scenic splendor of southwest Ireland on a comprehensive 5-day tour of The Burren, the Dingle Peninsula, and the fabled Ring of Kerry. Stop at historic castles and monasteries, and wander the colorful fishing villages to sample fresh seafood. Enjoy dramatic views from the Cliffs of Moher, and stroll along the vast stretch of Inch Beach watching the local surfers. Transportation is by small minicoach, with accommodation in quaint bed and breakfast guesthouses for a more intimate experience. Day 1: Depart Dublin and head west through the farmland and peat bogs of Kildare and Offally counties. Stop at Locke’s Distillery, reputedly the oldest legal distillery in the world. Sample the local whiskey to experience the true spirit of Ireland. Continue west to the mighty Shannon River, and vist the early Christian site of Clonmacnoise. Admire its collection of churches, stone crosses, and round towers. After an afternoon stop in a traditional pub in one of the attractive villages, travel to Galway City to check into your base for the night. This lively student town has no shortage of good pubs and restaurants to enjoy in the evening. Day 2: From Galway City it’s only a short drive along the coast to The Burren, one of Ireland’s great natural treasures. Marvel at the limestone pavements, barren hills, and rare flora. See Christian settlements and ancient stone monuments. You will spend most of the morning exploring this unique area, stopping in Kilfenora for lunch. Known as the “Town of the Crosses,” there will also be time to visit the old cathedral before driving to the Cliffs of Moher. Marvel at this natural beauty, where the cliffs drop almost 700 feet into crashing Atlantic Ocean waves. Take a walk along one of the cliff top trails, and watch the seabirds at work. Alternatively, visit the award-winning environmental exhibition to learn about the region’s ecology. Then, travel south through County Clare, passing the famous golf course and beach at Lahinch to catch the ferry across the Shannon Estuary and into County Kerry. Go to the beautiful lakeside town of Killarney, your base for the next 3 nights. The pubs here are great for food and most have live music in the evenings. Day 3 Today, you will explore the Dingle Peninsula, one of the most scenic parts of Ireland. Your first stop in this heartland of Gaelic culture will be Inch Beach, a vast expanse of sand facing the Atlantic Ocean popular with surfers. From here, increasingly narrow roads lead onto the peninsula itself, through the town of Dingle and out to Slea Head. This is an area of ancient forts and dwellings that date back thousands of years. Visit some of the best examples along the way. Enjoy views of the Blasket Islands as they rise dramatically from the sea. Marvel at the mountains of the famous Ring of Kerry to your south. Weather permitting, time will be allotted for a walk on the beach or along the cliff tops. Learn why the area is important in Gaelic literature. Then, head back to Dingle town with its brightly colored buildings and busy harbor. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure, before returning to Killarney. If the weather is good you could enjoy an evening walk in Killarney National Park, just on the edge of town. Day 4: Today, you will take one of the world’s classic routes, the 100-mile Ring of Kerry. Depart Killarney and enjoy the views to Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain. Join the coast road through Glenbeigh and Kells to Cahersiveen. Possible stops along the way include Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace, and the ring fort of Cahersiveen. Go to the little fishing village of Portmagee for a lunch of local seafood. Alternatively, cross to the island of Valencia and visit the Skellig Experience to learn about the small community of monks who once lived on the nearby rock island of Skellig Michael. In the afternoon, stop in picturesque Waterville, a favourite holiday destination for Charlie Chaplin. Stop again at the top of the Coonmakista Pass for one of the best views in Ireland. From here, the road drops down to sea level, where you will visit Derrynane House, the family home of Daniel O’Connell. You can stroll in the gardens and down to the beach, as well as look inside the house itself. Continue around the Ring, stopping at Moll’s Gap and Ladies View. There will also be time for a short walk to the Torc Waterfall before returning to Killarney. Day 5: The final day of your tour heads east through the mountains of West Cork and the market town of Macroom. Then, drive along the Lee Valley to Blarney Castle. Visit the castle and take one of the woodland walks to the mystical Rock Close. Explore the village of Blarney, stopping for lunch and a bit of shopping. There may even be time to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, although in peak season it can be very busy. In the afternoon, head to the Rock of Cashel to see the medieval monastery complex high above the town. Finally, go to Kilkenny, a bustling city with a fine castle and park, as well as some lovely riverside walks. Visit the National Craft Centre, or just hang out in one of the pubs for a last Guinness. Hit the road again for the final leg of your journey, arriving back in Dublin at approximately 19:30.

6-Day Tour of Southern Ireland from Dublin

9. 6-Day Tour of Southern Ireland from Dublin

Embark on a 6-day tour from Dublin and discover Glendalough, Kilkenny, Waterford, Blarney Castle, Dingle Peninsula, Cork, Slea Head, Ring of Kerry, Killarney, the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and Connemara. Day 1: Dublin - Glendalough - Kilkenny Castle - Waterford City Begin the tour in central Dublin. Leave the capital behind and drive through rolling countryside to the Wicklow Mountains. Your first stop is the monastery ruins at Glendalough, the Valley of Two Lakes. Admire the natural beauty and enjoy the local walks and trails with views of ancient Celtic crosses and round towers. Afterward, continue to the medieval city of Kilkenny with its cobbled streets and famous red ale. Not far from Waterford Harbor on the southeast coast, Dunmore East is a relaxing spot to spend the evening with a handful of pubs and some great seafood restaurants. Day 2: Waterford City - Waterford Crystal - Blarney Castle - Dingle Peninsula Your day begins with a visit to the world-famous Waterford Crystal factory. Stock up on fine-cut glass at the outlet store or simply pause a while to watch the artisans at work. Continue with a scenic drive through County Waterford and a panoramic drive through Cork city. The highlight for many today is the world-renowned Blarney Castle. After lunch, continue on your journey to the Dingle Peninsula, where you will stay overnight at one of the westernmost points of Ireland. Day 3: Dingle Peninsula - Slea Head - Killarney Take the short drive to Dingle, a charming Irish-speaking fishing village. Famed in many films like Far and Away and Ryan's Daughter, Dingle is celebrated for having the most pubs in Ireland for a town of its size, 52 pubs and 2000 people. Then it's off on a wonderful pleasant trip around Slea Head with amazing views of Sleeping Giant Island, the Blasket Islands, and Beehive Huts. Day 4: Killarney - Ring of Kerry - Killarney Discover the amazing scenery of the Ring of Kerry. Begin with a horse and cart ride through Killarney National Park (optional) or a horseback ride through the park for the energetic and adventurous (optional). Your afternoon is packed with many highlights including Moll's Gap, Ladies View, Leprechaun Crossing, Killarney National Park, Lakes of Killarney, Torc Waterfall, and much more. Day 5: Killarney - Cliffs of Moher - Galway Visit the town of Killarney and Bunratty Castle in the morning. Then in the afternoon, continue north along the Wild Atlantic Way. Stop at the iconic Cliffs of Moher and the village of Doolin. Stay overnight in Galway, known as the city of the tribes and Ireland's cultural capital, with a vast array of fine seafood eateries, and home to an endless selection of traditional Irish music venues. Day 6: Galway - Connemara - Dublin Discover the rugged beauty of the Connemara region, located west of Galway city. Have time to visit Cong Abbey before heading off on your journey through the midlands back to Dublin.

Cork: Cape Clear Island Tour

10. 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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What people are saying about County Cork

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 385 reviews

Railtours is a great way to see Ireland if you want to avoid driving on the left side if the road. We had three different yellow jacketed tour guides for different legs of our trip. Brian, Andrew and David were all very informative and took time to speak individually with each person on the tour. The only criticism was that for the second day’s tour of the ring of Kerry we were escorted by another tour company under contract with rail tours. Tour guide was “meh” at best and the bus was uncomfortable. Days one and three involved transfers between trains and busses for the actual tours, which were fully escorted by Railtours. You might want to contact the tour company before booking to see what tours are completely controlled by Railtours. The subcontractors were not of the same caliber.

Any tour depends first on the guide. JEROME was OUTSTANDING. Rabbies (the local operator) provided great accommodations. The places we stopped for lunch were for locals--what I was hoping for. The trip was exactly as described on the Rabbies website (whether you like the amount of time in each location/activity is up to the individual). I never felt rushed but Jerome kept us on a schedule.

I loved Cahir Castle and appreciate that we stopped up the road to get a picture of the castle on the rock from a distance. Kissing the Blarney stone was not on my bucket list! Missing that 1.5 hour line to the top of the castle and walking through the beautiful grounds is the best way to enjoy this site.

Fantastic trip with excellent commentary. The dolphins we saw en-route were an added bonus. Would highly recommend.

It was a wonderful day! I have been wanting to see the Fastnet for years and it was a thrill. Cape Clear Island was