trips planned today
out of 5
Trustscore rating

Best things to do in County Cork

Itinerary planner
+ Add destination
2 adults
- +
- +
- +
You have 2 trips in progress.   See all
Where in the world: Europe  /  Ireland  /  Province of Munster  /  County Cork

Top 15 things to do in County Cork

1. Titanic Experience Cobh, Cobh

Located at the site where 123 passengers boarded the infamous ship, Titanic Experience Cobh offers an in-depth look at the fateful departure from Queenstown on April 11, 1912. Your visit begins with an audio-visual tour of the area, which allows you to step into the shoes of passengers awaiting their trip to America. The next audio-visual tour gives you the experience of life on board the ship. This tour is a highlight for people interested in the history of the Titanic, or for anyone who wants a more personal understanding of the tragic event.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Titanic Experience Cobh

2. Fota Wildlife Park, Carrigtwohill

Without a cage or fence in sight, Fota Wildlife Park houses dozens of species of mammals and birds from habitats as diverse as deserts, savannas, tropical forests, wetlands, and oceans. Designed with unobtrusive barriers, the zoo's paddocks allow visitors to observe wild animals in natural settings closely resembling their native habitats. To explore the park's 30 hectares (75 acres) in mere minutes, hop on a tour train, whcih circles the grounds and makes stops at the education center created with the youngest visitors in mind. For a more personal experience with the animals, follow the 2 km (1.2 mi) circular trail as you watch for ring-tailed lemurs and squirrel monkeys, which are allowed to roam freely and interact with visitors.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Fota Wildlife Park

3. Charles Fort, Kinsale

A fine example of a star-shaped military structure, Charles Fort once served as an important part of a waterfront defense system designed to resist cannon attacks. Built in the 1670s on the site of a medieval castle, the fort remained in use until 1922, playing a key role in some of the most important battles in Irish history. Two giant bastions, the fort's main features, overlook the water, while three others face inland. To learn the history behind the fort's weather-beaten walls and see what remains of the old military barracks and support facilities, join a daily guided tour, available year-round. The tour involves a walk on rocky terrain, so bring appropriate footwear.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Learn more about Charles Fort
Tours including Charles Fort:
Plan your trip to County Cork
  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.

4. Blarney Castle & Gardens, Blarney

Steeped in legend, Blarney Castle & Gardens boast a mystical stone claiming supernatural power to endow anyone who kisses it with the gift of great eloquence. You can test this legend by kissing the stone while hanging upside-down from the top of the castle's tower. Once you capture the power of this magical stone, tour the castle's extensive gardens, featuring several natural rock formations with whimsical names like "Druid's Circle" and "Witch's Cave." As you follow the grassy paths, try to spot different kinds of ferns growing here, some of which are the tallest of their kind in Ireland. Check online for a printable map of the castle's grounds, and take advantage of discounts by booking your tickets in advance.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Learn more about Blarney Castle & Gardens
Tours including Blarney Castle & Gardens:

5. Spike Island, Cobh

View a defensive fort, prison cells, and gun emplacements at Spike Island, an island considered to be "Ireland's Alcatraz." In the seventh century, this island was the site of a monastic settlement. Over the years, it took on different roles because of its strategic placement in the harbor. It has been used as a location for smugglers and prisoners and as a military base. Take a ferry from the mainland to tour this famous island. Learn about the area's many historic sites, including its fort and prison where IRA prisoners were held until their escape in 1921.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Spike Island

6. Cork City Gaol, Cork

At Cork City Gaol you can experience what it was like to live in a 19th-century Irish prison. The facility opened in 1824 and closed in 1923, but the museum was not available to the public until 1993. Tour the grounds, view furnished cells, and walk the halls of this historic prison. At different points over the years, both male and female prisoners were jailed here. Many Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War Republicans were held in this prison, including the famous writer Frank O'Connor. Though the prison has a somber atmosphere, take the time to appreciate the beauty of the structure, designed by architect William Robertson and built by the Deane family.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Cork City Gaol
Tours including Cork City Gaol:

7. Jameson Distillery Midleton, Midleton

With Jameson Distillery Midleton, learn about the history of whiskey in Ireland at Jameson's old distillery. Begin your tour with an audio-visual presentation, then see firsthand how Jameson made whiskey on-site from 1825 to 1975. Admire the spaces and equipment used by the company in the past, including kilns, mills, maltings, a water wheel, and still house. Finish off your tour at the bar with a free glass of Jameson.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Jameson Distillery Midleton
Tours including Jameson Distillery Midleton:

8. Cobh Cathedral, Cobh

Witness the beauty of the Roman Catholic Cobh Cathedral, which took 47 years to complete. E.W. Pugin, George Ashlin, and Thomas Coleman began construction in 1867, and it was not completed until 1915. Officially named St. Coleman's Cathedral, this religious site is known for spectacular neo-Gothic architecture. Tour the cathedral and admire its exterior and interior beauty. The cathedral houses the largest church carillon in Ireland, featuring 49 bells. You can also attend Mass, as the cathedral remains in operation.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Cobh Cathedral
Tours including Cobh Cathedral:

9. The English Market, Cork

Beloved by the people of Cork for centuries, The English Market has recently gained popularity for its multicultural vendors selling international foods. Though a market has been on this site since 1788, the current structure didn't open until the 19th century. This market has always been known for its fish and butchers, which provide ingredients to many of the area's best restaurants. Stroll through through the space, talk with locals, and purchase some fresh produce or other goods along the way.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about The English Market
Tours including The English Market:

10. University College Cork (UCC), Cork

Stroll among old buildings and vibrant, well-kept grounds and gardens, and take in the history of University College Cork (UCC). Find the visitor center to pick up an audio guide, which will take you to some of the most notable spots on campus. Visit the president's garden, a formerly private space now open to all, which contains mature oaks and giant redwoods, which were planted in the 1840s at the college's inception. Walk the stone corridor and examine the Ogham stones—a series of grave markers for prominent Celtic tribespeople dating from the second or third century. Explore the Crawford observatory, which contains an equatorial telescope, a transit telescope, and a siderostatic telescope.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about University College Cork (UCC)

11. Barleycove Beach, Dough

Suggested duration: 1 hour
Learn more about Barleycove Beach

12. Nano Nagle Place, Cork

Nano Nagle Place is an historic oasis in the centre of bustling Cork city. The lovingly restored 18th century walled convent and contemplative gardens are home to our heritage centre, exhibition space, archive, garden cafe, community hub and design store. The heritage centre explores the fascinating history of 18th century Cork, the ‘Venice of the Atlantic’, with its merchant princes and slum housing. It tells the extraordinary story of how one woman, Nano Nagle, worked tirelessly to help and educate the poor and destitute of the city and how the order she founded, the Presentation Sisters, travelled across the globe to continue her work.

History, heritage, education, culture, community, spirituality, nature, great food & coffee and a very warm welcome – discover all that’s best in Cork right here at Nano Nagle Place.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Nano Nagle Place

13. Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale

Old Head Golf Links offers a luxury golfing experience on a promontory of emerald green hills that look out into the Atlantic Ocean. The course is a walking course of 18 holes with a par 72. Stroll the green as a member or a visitor and experience the complexities of the course caused by the winds from different directions across the promontory. At the 18th hole, visit the clubhouse where you can have a drink at the bar and enjoy a five-star meal. Advanced bookings are essential, visit the website for details.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Old Head Golf Links
Tours including Old Head Golf Links:

14. Cork Whale Watch, Union Hall

Cork Whale Watch offers wonderful opportunities to observe whales and dolphins and a host of other marine wildlife in West Cork. These productive coastal waters provide critical feeding habitat for a diversity of species including cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), basking sharks, seals and sea birds, along with prolific fish life.

If you've seen film footage or natural history documentaries on whales from anywhere in Co. Cork or Waterford, the chances are it was filmed with Colin Barnes from the MV Holly Jo. Among these contributions are RTE's "Wild trials" series over several years since 2002, "Wild Journeys", "Living the Wildlife" and in recent years Colin has worked with both BBC Autumnwatch (2011) and Winterwatch (2012) and most recently BBC's "Great British Year" (2013) to film large whales along the Irish South coast.

As a former fisherman of 40 years experience observing whales in West Cork, Colin is Ireland's longest established and most experienced whale watch operator and has been enthralling whale watchers and wildlife enthusiasts in West Cork since 2001. Colin has contributed to and co-authored scientific publications on fin whale photo-identification and humpback whale distribution (2014) with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, and contributes to the All-Ireland Cetacean Sighting Scheme, by reporting sightings directly to IWDG. Colin is a rare breed of conservationist, who has evolved from the fishing industry, his passion and understanding of local marine ecosystems is second to none.

We operate out of Reen Pier, just 5 minutes outside of Union Hall. So, if you are staying in Skibereen, Leap, Rosscarbery, Clonakilty, Bandon, Kinsale or Cork City, then Cork Whale Watch are your nearest whale watch operator, offering plenty of free car parking space within easy walking distance of the pier, ensuring you start your whale watch trip fresh and "stress free".

Colin is available for longer filming and research charters during summer and winter.

Summer Timetable (Trips are a minimum 4 hour duration)

Our rates are as follows:

• Adults €50

• 3rd level students €40 (valid student card),

• Children (under 18 yrs): €40 (1st child), €30 (2nd and others)

Trip times: April - September (4-5 hours duration, subject to weather & demand)

10.30am to 2.30 pm

3.00pm to 7.00 pm

Winter Timetable October - March (Trips generally 4 hrs+ duration)

10.30am to 3.30 pm

How to get to Reen Pier?

Go into Union Hall and drive through the main street until you reach the church (St. Brigid's) on your left (heading away from village). Take left at the church, where Reen Pier is signed. Take 1st right after 200 mts (again signed for Reen Pier) and stay on this road, keeping the lake on your left, and you can't miss Reen Pier. It's a 5 minute drive from Union Hall to the car parking area. A local map showing Reen Pier is available on our website www.corkwhalewatch.com in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section. We have additional street signage from Leap and Union Hall.

You can book your place by:

1. Phone: +353 (0)86 3850568 or 353 (0) 86 3273226

2. email: info@corkwhalewatch.com

3. On Facebook
Suggested duration: 4 hours
Learn more about Cork Whale Watch

15. Eire Bass, Cobh

Suggested duration: 4 hours
Learn more about Eire Bass