Things to do in Cork

If you’re in search of the best things to do in Cork, the guide below should come in handy.

Best Things To Do In Cork City and Beyond

If you’re in search of the best things to do in Cork, the guide below should come in handy. Here are the top 12 things to do in Cork City and County Cork, Ireland, in your lifetime.

Cork in Ireland is one of the most remarkable destinations you could ever go to. The vibrant city offers a wide range of unforgettable and breathtaking landscapes for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. 

Lovers of history and architecture will be thrilled with the picturesque castles and historic landmarks around every corner. Nature lovers can take a stroll on the world-famous cliff walk in the seaside town of Kinsale. 

The West Cork area boasts some of the best surfing beaches in Ireland as well as kayaking opportunities in the pristine waters of the river Lee. The energetic and lively atmosphere of Cork City with its numerous universities and students is truly contagious. 

The local pubs offer some of the best traditional music sessions in the country, and visitors can enjoy the local cuisine that showcases the region’s excellent seafood and unique culinary traditions. 

Cork is just one of those charming, magical cities that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime; so don’t wait any longer and immerse yourself in adventure and inspiration!

Beautiful towns and villages

With rugged beauty and a wild spirit, West Cork in Ireland beckons all those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. It offers a chance to disconnect and revel in the simple pleasures of yesteryear. 

Imagine days spent swimming in crystal-clear waters, soaking up the sunshine with a good book in hand, and enjoying a perfectly poured pint with an indulgent dinner. Such moments of peace and tranquility may seem a distant memory, but they are not lost forever. A journey to West Cork can transport you to a place where time stands still and allows you to rediscover the joy of simpler times. 

With breathtaking landscapes, hidden gems, and charming accommodations to choose from, it is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you feeling renewed and refreshed. Come, let us whisk you away to the magical land of West Cork, where time travel is no longer a myth, but a reality waiting to be experienced!

Beautiful towns and villages

About Cork

Cork, also known as Corcaigh in Irish, is a substantial city and the second-largest in the Republic of Ireland, situated in the province of Munster. According to the recent 2022 census, its population is approximately 222,526. 

The city is located on an island between two channels of the River Lee, where the quays and docks lead outwards to Lough Mahon and Cork Harbour, a natural harbor recognized as one of the largest in the world. The city originated as a monastic settlement, and it was eventually taken over by Viking invaders around 915. 

The charter for Cork was granted by Prince John in 1185. Today, Cork exhibits remnants of old medieval architectural landmarks, particularly around South and North Main streets. Its cognomen of “the rebel city” is derived from its support for the Yorkist cause during the Wars of the Roses. 

The city’s inhabitants commonly refer to it as “the real capital” alluding to its opposition to the Anglo-Irish Treaty in the Irish Civil War.

When is the Best time to visit Cork

“Let the magical city of Cork fill your heart with joy, no matter when you go! May, August, and early fall are perfect times to explore this wonderful place. The Guinness Jazz festival in October promises to be a delightful experience for music lovers. Though July and August may see crowds of people, do not let that dampen your enthusiasm for exploring the city.

Remember, the weather may not always be sunny and warm, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the experience. As you pack, do not forget your positivity and an open mind, and let Cork mesmerize you with its beauty and charm.”

The Beara Peninsula


Nestled in the stunning southwest region of Ireland lies an enchanting haven known as the Beara Peninsula. Though it may be overlooked by the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula to the north, and the Sheep’s Head and Mizen Peninsulas to the south, this picturesque paradise is a must-visit destination for the intrepid explorer. 

The Beara Peninsula radiates with untold beauty, waiting to be explored by those with a sense of adventure and the courage to discover the unknown. Its winding roads lead to hidden gems and breathtaking vistas that will leave visitors awe-inspired and enchanted. Don’t miss out on the wonders of the Beara Peninsula – it’s an inspirational destination that will reward your daring spirit with unforgettable experiences.

Connect With Us

How many Days should I Spend in Derry?

For an authentic experience in Derry, it is suggested that at least 2 full days and 1 night be allocated to discover the city’s offerings. The duration of the visit is dependent on the visitor’s preferences and availability; however, we highly recommend the aforementioned timeline to ensure an in-depth exploration of the city. We highly recommend this 3-day itinerary from Belfast.

Experience Mizen Head on the glorious Mizen Peninsula in County Cork. Visit the Mizen Head Irish Lights Signal Station at Ireland's most south-westerly point.

Mizen Head Cork

Nestled amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of coastal Ireland lies a destination that is sure to captivate and inspire you beyond measure! A visit to the Mizen Head Signal Station will transport you to a world of wonder and amazement, where you can immerse yourself in the rich history and fascinating science behind this incredible feat of engineering and innovation. 

The sheer perseverance and unwavering dedication that went into creating this iconic landmark is a testament to the strength and ingenuity of humanity, and it is sure to leave you in awe! From the incredible navigational aids simulator to the geological marvels and the intricate workings of the Fastnet Rescue Tide Clock, every aspect of this historic site showcases the power of human achievement. 

But what truly sets Mizen Head apart is the breathtaking natural beauty that surrounds it! Cross the arched bridge and take in the stunning vista of the surrounding landscape, teeming with wondrous wildlife like minke, fin, and humpback whales, seals, kittiwakes, gannets, and choughs. 

Stroll through the former keepers’ quarters, explore the engine room, and discover the fascinating artifacts on display that tell the story of Marconi radio and boat history like never before! Truly, a visit to Mizen Head is an experience that should be on every traveler’s bucket list!

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle County Cork Ireland

Explore the magic of medieval times at Blarney Castle and Gardens in County Cork! Be swept away by the stunning backdrop of the 15th-century castle and the enchanting beauty of the gardens. 

Brave the heights and kiss the famous Blarney Stone, said to grant the gift of eloquence and persuasion. Explore the themed gardens, from the tropical Fern Garden to the intriguing Poison Garden, featuring deadly plants from around the world. 

Wander down to the ancient druidic settlement at Rock Close, and let your imagination take flight. After your adventure, unwind and allow yourself to be pampered with refreshments at the Castle stable yard café or browse the Court Exhibition Rooms and souvenir shops. A visit to Blarney Castle and Gardens is a sure way to create lasting enchantment and wonder.

Things to do in cork city ireland

Cork City
Popular Tours From Belfast

Giant Causeway Tour

Belfast Shore Excursion

Breath-taking beaches


Cork boasts a stunning coastline that is dotted with a plethora of sandy beaches, each with their unique charm. Our comprehensive guide to the best beaches in Cork will introduce you to some of the most spectacular stretches of coastline that Ireland has to offer. 

Whether you are looking to sunbathe, swim, surf, or simply unwind in the tranquillity of nature, there is a beach that will fulfil your desires. For those seeking a popular tourist spot, you can’t miss Inchydoney Beach or Garretstown Beach, each of which has something unique to offer. 

But if you are looking for a secluded and hidden gem, then make sure to check out Warren Beach – a spot known only to locals, where you can truly immerse yourself in the peacefulness of nature. Regardless of where you decide to go, a visit to a Cork beach is an absolute must-do experience.

Bantry House

Bantry House

Bantry House & Garden, the stunning stately home of the Earls of Bantry and their descendants the White Family.

If you are planning a visit to County Cork, ensure that Bantry House & Garden is on your itinerary! This magnificent stately home is steeped in history and has been the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry for generations. The title lapsed in 1891, but the house continues to be owned and lived in by the direct descendants of the first Earl. 

Today, the estate is open to the public from April to October and includes a charming tearoom where visitors can enjoy fresh local produce. The house boasts an impressive collection of art treasures, all of which were acquired by the 2nd Earl of Bantry during his grand tour. 

The gorgeous gardens were inspired by the 2nd Earl’s travels and take the form of an Italian style layout over seven terraces. The house also hosts a range of exciting events throughout the year, including music festivals, food festivals, and outdoor theatre.

 If you are looking for a stunning location for your wedding, Bantry House & Garden is also registered as an authorized civil ceremony venue. Whether you are a history buff, a lover of the arts, or simply looking for a picturesque destination in Ireland, make sure to visit Bantry House & Garden.

The Ballycotton Cliff Walk, Set off on a stunning coastal walk through rural Cork on an unforgettable stroll on the Ballycotton Cliff Walk.

Ballycotton Cliff Walk

If you’re looking for a breathtaking adventure, then Ballycotton Cliff Walk in Cork is a must-see destination. The raw beauty of this incredible wander through rural Ireland is truly inspiring, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Ballycotton Cliffs that will leave you breathless. 

The journey begins in the charming harbourside village of Ballycotton where you can take a moment to enjoy a warm cup of coffee and contemplate the day ahead along the breathtaking Cork coastline. 

From there, head to the trailhead near the Mary Stanford Lifeboat Station and prepare to be captivated by uninterrupted views of verdant meadows blending with the rugged coast and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. The area is truly magical, with ferries frequently traveling to the extraordinary Ballycotton Island, home to one of Ireland’s only two black lighthouses. 

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the playful pods of dolphins that frequent the area. Make sure to explore the full 9.25km route which can take up to 3 hours, and enjoy every moment of this unforgettable adventure.


Why not take a stroll around the historic port town of Cobh and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the place? With picturesque views of ships sailing by, the town offers a beautiful setting, one that is perfect for a leisurely walk. And while you are here, don’t forget to stop and admire the stunning architecture of St Colman’s Cathedral, one of Ireland’s most impressive buildings!

But Cobh has more to offer than just beautiful views. It is widely known as the last port of call for the Titanic and therefore is synonymous with the town. Visitors can also take a short crossing to Spike Island to learn about one of Ireland’s most infamous prison systems, where prisoners were shipped off to distant lands. Take the time to plan a visit to this fascinating port town and discover all it has to offer!


The Baltimore Beacon walk

The Baltimore Beacon truly stands out amongst the many remarkable Cork attractions that draw tourists from far and wide. A visit to this iconic site is an absolute must, as it is sure to leave you awestruck and feeling inspired. With the rugged and enchanting Irish coastline as the backdrop, the stunning views from the Beacon are truly unforgettable.

While the coastline may commonly be known for its dramatic cliffs and charming towns, the Baltimore Beacon offers visitors something truly unique and intriguing. Its distinctive cone shape is sure to pique the curiosity of any adventurer!

If you are planning a visit, this guide has got you covered – from helpful parking tips to the fascinating stories and history behind the Baltimore Beacon. Whether you are a seasoned explorer or just looking to try something new, the Baltimore Beacon is a remarkable destination that is sure to captivate and enchant you.

The Baltimore Beacon walk

Located amidst the breathtakingly beautiful landscape of the wild south-west coast of County Cork, stands the remarkable beacon. This magnificent landmark is a must-see for anyone travelling to Cork. Situated a comfortable 90-minute drive from Cork City via the N22.

The drive in itself is a delightful experience. The beacon is located 6 minutes south of the coast, and the route leading up to it offers picturesque views. However, for those who love nature and seek adventure, a breezy half-hour walk from the town will grant a truly unforgettable experience. 

Driving down south along Beacon Road from Baltimore, you’ll finally reach the end of the road, where you’ll find ample parking space to park your car to enjoy all the exciting activities. On top of that, the beacon is locally known as “Lot’s Wife,” giving it an air of mystique that would fascinate anyone visiting for the first time.

Lough Hyne

Lough Hyne

Lough Hyne, located in the beautiful County Cork, is an absolute must-see for any traveler, offering stunning and breathtaking views that truly showcase the wonders of nature. 

Whether you choose to go on foot or by car, the experience is equally rewarding. With its serene blue waters and captivating surroundings, Lough Hyne is more than just a scenic lake; in fact, it holds the distinction of being Ireland’s premier Marine Nature Reserve, brimming with unique flora and fauna, and offering endless opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers to explore, learn and discover. If you want to take things at a leisurely pace, you can park your car, sit back, relax and soak in the beauty of the lake. 

Alternatively, you can venture out on foot and explore the natural trail that runs nearby, which will take you on an adventure through the ruins of the area’s fascinating history and the holy wells that have been there for centuries. Whatever you choose, a visit to Lough Hyne will absolutely leave you breathless, mesmerized and wanting more.

Cork City Goal - Step back in time to see what 19th and early 20th-century life was like inside prison walls.

Cork City Goal

The Cork City Gaol is a magnificent castle-like building that holds a special place in the hearts of the locals as well as tourists. This structure once housed 19th-century prisoners and stands tall as a testament to the city’s colorful past. 

As you step inside this architectural marvel, you’ll be transported back in time, and you’ll feel like you’re walking in the footsteps of those who once called this place home. The shuffling feet of inmates and the jingle of the warders’ keys will create a surreal atmosphere that’ll leave you captivated. 

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to travel back in time and unravel the secrets of Cork’s intriguing past.

Opening Hours

Current Opening Hours

Open daily from 10 am to 4 pm

Guided Tour at 2 pm daily

See here for monthly opening hours.

Table of Contents

Connect with Us

Discover Irish Isle offers a range of resources to help visitors plan a trip to Ireland. Our blog post highlights the best things to do in the area and provides insider tips to ensure visitors have an unforgettable experience. 

We encourage you to explore our social media channels as well, where you can find additional information and travel inspiration. Trust our team of experts to guide you through the planning process and provide you with the tools you need to fully immerse yourself in the culture and attractions of Ireland.