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County Cork

Culture & history

Our most recommended County Cork Culture & History

Gap of Dunloe: Guided Boat, Jaunting Car, and Bus Tour

1. Gap of Dunloe: Guided Boat, Jaunting Car, and Bus Tour

Get the full Killarney experience on this comprehensive tour. Visit the verdant lake district where you will find Kate Kearney's cottage. Then hop on a pony and continue on through the Gap of Dunloe. Enjoy lunch and a ride in a traditional open boat. Your 14-mile voyage goes across all 3 of Killarney’s lakes with a pony and trap journey through the famous Black Valley and Gap of Dunloe. Enjoy an unforgettable adventure and the ultimate Killarney experience. The journey begins mid-morning at the world-renowned Kate Kearney’s cottage. Here you take a 7-mile jaunt on a pony and trap through the Gap of Dunloe where you can view a spectacular glaciated valley. Your pony and trap ride ends at Lord Brandon’s Cottage where you can enjoy a light snack (not included in the price). After lunch, get into a traditional open boat for an approximately 2-hour tour of the three lakes of Killarney. Pass by Innisfallen Island, Bricin Bridge, Colleen Bawn Rock, Torc Mountain, Old Weir Bridge, the meetings of the waters, and more, ending at the 15th-century Ross Castle. The tour is the perfect way to see the rich and varied vegetation and scenery Killarney has to offer. Your tour will end in the mid-afternoon.

Gap of Dunloe & Lakes of Killlarney Boat Tour

2. Gap of Dunloe & Lakes of Killlarney Boat Tour

The tour begins with a coach journey to Kate Kearney's Cottage. On arrival, you can arrange to take a jaunting cart ride through the six mile pass. This traditional Irish horse and cart ride will incur an additional cost which can be paid on the day. Alternatively, you can hike the six mile pass and enjoy the beautiful scenery at your own pace. Once through the gap, boats will be waiting on the Gearhameen River for the homeward journey via the enchanting upper, middle and lower lakes. On-board the boat, enjoy beautiful views of the national park and discover the famous Old Weir Bridge. Travel to the historic Ross Castle where coaches will be waiting to take you back to Killarney. Ross Castle is a 30 to 40 minute walk from the town center so there is an option of staying at Ross Castle after the boat trip and making your own way back to Killarney. 

Cork: Jameson Experience Whiskey Tour

3. 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.

Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour from Dublin

4. Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour from Dublin

Visit Ireland’s most famous castle on a full-day tour from Dublin. Enjoy free time to explore the city of Cork and visit Blarney Castle. Stroll in the footsteps of St Patrick at the Celtic Crosses and Round Tower. Meet your guide at Paddy's Palace in Dublin and hop aboard a comfortable and climate-controlled van for a scenic drive through green fields and dairy farms of the Golden Vale of County Cork. Enjoy panoramic views of the Galtee Mountains and County Tipperary. Stop in Cork on banks of the River Lee and spend an hour of free time exploring the city at your own pace. Have the option to visit the historic English Market, or marvel at the architecture of 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. Pucker up and kiss the stone or snap a picture.  Explore the castle grounds and gardens to discover the Witch's Cave. Take advantage of the tax free shopping at the Blarney Woollen Mills and craft shop. Step back in time at the evocative Celtic Crosses and Round Tower. Depart for Dublin on a path through the Golden Vale of County Tipperary and arrive back in the city at night. 

From Dublin: Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour

5. From Dublin: 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.

Ring of Kerry: Lakes of Killarney Scenic Coach Tour

6. Ring of Kerry: Lakes of Killarney Scenic Coach Tour

The Ring of Kerry skirts the Iveragh Peninsula and is undoubtedly Ireland’s most popular scenic drive. Begin by passing through Killorglin, home to the famous Puck Fair festival held in August every year. Stop at The Bog Village, a little cluster of thatched-roof cottages demonstrating what rural life was like in Kerry in the 1800’s. Continue through the village of Glenbeigh, with beautiful views over Rossbeigh Beach and the rugged hills of the Iveragh Peninsula. In the summer months, take in the spectacle of a traditional Irish sheepdog show at Kells. Sample fresh local produce while pausing for a deliciously traditional lunch in Cahersiveen town, The Scarriff Inn or Waterville. After lunch, explore the historic cove at Derrynane, a rocky inlet and notorious hideout for smugglers in the 18th century. It is the former seat of the O’Connell clan and home to Daniel O’Connell, a legend of Irish history. Enjoy the village of Sneem – perhaps Ireland’s most colorful village – before traveling through the rugged and haunting landscape on the road to Moll’s Gap. The viewing point here offers sweeping vistas of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Ireland’s highest mountain, Corrán Tuathail – 3,414 feet high. Continuing from Moll’s Gap to Killarney, watch the sun glisten across the broad valley of the Killarney Lakes. Return to Killarney at approximately 5:00 - 5:30 PM.

2-Day Cork, Blarney Castle and the Ring of Kerry

7. 2-Day Cork, Blarney Castle and the Ring of Kerry

Day 1 Check in Dublin Heuston (Customer Service Desk) for 7:00am departure of the InterCity train (breakfast available) to Cork. We transfer to Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone. After time for lunch and shopping we have a short city tour of Cork and then visit Cobh Heritage Centre home of the "Queenstown Story". We travel back to Cork station for train to Killarney where we are transferred to our comfortable Bed and Breakfast accommodation (with en-suite facilities). Evening free. Day 2 10.00am we embark on the famous Ring of Kerry tour, which is a large coastal drive around the Iveragh Peninsula, on one side of which is Dingle Bay. Lots of stunning mountain and coastal scenery including the famous Lakes of Killarney. Return train to Dublin departs Killarney 17.50 and arrives Dublin Heuston 21.15. Departs Daily (Monday - Saturday)

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

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

Escape the hustle and bustle of Dublin on a full-day tour south to the vibrant city of Cork. Kills the Blarney stone at Blarney Castle, admire Georgian buildings in the city center, and visit Cork Harbor to see a Victorian era train station and transatlantic terminal.   Depart by train from Heuston Station in the early morning 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. Relax with some free time to shop and enjoy lunch in Blarney village. Head 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 in the evening. 

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

9. 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.

Cork: Fastnet Rock Lighthouse and Cape Clear Island Tour

10. 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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What people are saying about County Cork

Overall rating

4.1 / 5

based on 385 reviews

Not typically a tour gal but loved this one!! Alex was our guide - he was fantastic. Witty, wise, and warm - had great stories and lots of Irish history and culture to share in such a fun and lovely way. Lots of people have said they didn’t have enough time in each place but we found it to be plenty, we just made good use of our time. We didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone, just enjoyed the gardens and views and still loved it. Highly recommend!

Everything went well. Very well organized. Enjoyed the trip both ways very much. Dux was awesome as a travel and boat guide! We learned sooo much. He was fun and entertaining and made the ride go fast!

Wonderful relaxing day with Donal. I loved the small group tour and felt very safe. Donal was friendly and took great care of our group. What a beautiful view around every corner.

It was a smaller size bus, which was great because we didn’t have a big crowd. Stopped at all the main sites we were interested in and had a good flow for timing at each spot.

Driver was very friendly, bus was comfortable and we got to see a lot in a day!