Wednesday 4th of May 2016
South of Ireland, away from the noisy hub of Dublin lies Cork Harbour and the City of Cork. Where the sea has eaten into the South West Coast, follow the river through Lough Mahon and into Cork. A University city with its centre on an island in the River Lee, Cork is famous for its’ cathedrals, historic buildings, vibrant shopping centre, gaelic football and markets.
The reason we chose this location was because Cork Airport is one of Ireland’s main airports. It is situated on the south side of Cork City in an area known as Ballygarvan. Over 15 airlines fly to over 68 destinations with over 60 flights a day. Scheduled Airlines using Cork airport include Aer Lingus, Aer Lingus Regional operated by Stobart Air, CityJet, Flybe, Iberia Express, and Ryanair.
Our Dublin branch does well to serve Dublin Airport for customers flying in looking for low cost car rental in Ireland and now we’re bringing the same unbeatable rates down to the South of Ireland.
Once you have your car you’ll want to explore the nearby attractions and then the city itself. Some of the must-see sights are listed below…
|Name||Why it’s worth it||Cost||Location|
|St Fin Barre’s Cathedral||Incredible architecture, awe-inspiring interior||€ 5||Bishop Street|
|Blackrock Castle||It’s got a great science centre for the kids||€ 6.50||South Bank|
|English Market||The best local produce, meats, cheeses and street food||Princes St, Central Island|
|Cork City Gaol (Jail)||Very moving and interesting audio tour||€ 8||Convent Ave|
|Butter Museum||Interesting history and world’s largest butter market||€ 4||O’Connell Square|
|Crawford Art Gallery||Over 2000 sculptures, paintings and glass works||Free||Emmet Pl|
The two main shopping centres you can drive to, are Merchant’s Quay in the city centre or Wilton Retail Outlet 10 minutes drive out of town. The most recent and modern development in Cork has been the establishment of Opera Lane – an outdoor shopping mall and new street constructed to house some of the leading names in fashion. Many visitors to Cork like to visit Blarney and its famous castle and stone. The long established and impressive Blarney Woollen Mills Gift Store is another major attraction for visitors.
There are many ‘good eat guides’ for Cork, as a city that’s not just caught up with food trends but often pioneers them. For vegetarians and vegans, Cafe Paradiso in Lancaster Quay is perfect. Gourmet Burger Bistro on Bridge St is a chic, minimalistic spot for incredible american-style burgers.
If you’re in Cork for the best of Irish cuisine (and of course, why wouldn’t you be?) Electric at 41 South Mall offers a market-sourced menu in an art deco bank from falafel wraps to succulent steaks. Highly reviewed, the upstairs balcony, riverside deck, mediterranean-style fish bar and cathedral views pull in huge volumes of tourist in the city centre and afterwards, why not take a stroll into Bishop Lucey Park nearby? Walk off all the decadent food you’ll be consuming.
For those with a sweet tooth, some of the best chocolates and puddings can be found right in Aunty Nellies Sweet Shop dotted around the south coast. Best known for traditional Irish sweets, fudge, truffles and licorice, you’ll be coming out with bags of goodies.
This totally modern hotel has a wonderful location by the River Lee. Overlooking Cork City Hall, it’s close to the business, shopping and entertainment areas. The lobby atrium is decked out in futuristic glass and chrome and scattered with fuchsia pink modular chairs. The 191 practical and deeply comfortable minimalist rooms, all non smoking, have light oak wood interiors, sensitive lighting and plush duvet-covered beds dressed with Egyptian cotton sheets. Bathrooms are black granite. Food at Clarion’s Sinergie restaurant is a melange of classic and popular European dishes and the setting is self-consciously vibrant. Kudos has fresh cooked Asian dishes straight from the wok, while Savour is a coffee shop with wireless broadband. Children are welcomed.
Café Paradiso as previously mentioned above has just three simply appointed rooms in townhouse accommodation directly over the eponymous restaurant, each with a unique character and design. Breakfast is in served in classic Paradiso style, using the local produce with a seasonal twist.
The Imperial claims to be Cork’s oldest hotel. It is housed in architect Thomas Dean’s Commercial Rooms of 1813 and the Waterford crystal chandeliers, marble floors and brass fittings of the lobby and public area make sure you don’t miss that. The 125 rooms are more muted and tranquil, ensuring this hotel’s popularity with the business community, which regularly gives The Imperial awards. Timber-sided bathtubs are a nice touch. The hotel has four stars, and the fine dining offer is at Pembrokes, where you can choose from a seasonal menu mixing the Irish and Mediterranean cuisines, using fresh local produce.
This much extended hotel is one of Cork’s only five-star properties, and it lives up to its rating. Basically a Georgian property, it is set in acres of grounds on a hill overlooking the city, and is only a ten-minute walk from the town centre. Expect a warm, folksy and brogue-infused welcome at the main doors – the doorman has been known to break into song. This is the place to leave behind the exigencies of travel and indulge the exceptional service or simply unwind. All 88 rooms have orthopaedic king size beds, air-con, marble bathrooms with Elemis products, 42″ flat screen TVs and high speed internet access. Fine dining featuring contemporary Irish cuisine is served in Orchids restaurant, while Perrott’s Garden Bistro favours a more relaxed and international menu.
Ballymaloe House is a County Cork institution, set in a river valley 40 minutes’ drive from the city. It’s a graceful old house, ablaze with wisteria in spring, and has spawned the Allen family, who between them run the hotel, restaurant, cookery school, farm and new events venue The Grain Store, as well as appearing on TV. The Allens have been into Irish produce – much of it their own – for 40 years. The food is superlative, there are rambling grounds and the rooms have a fresh, country charm.
The Ring of Cork takes you through 66 miles of harbour, coastal and stunning rural landscapes throughout South and East Cork. This route will take you on a journey where you will encounter castles, villages, parks, visitor attractions as well as some of the most breath-taking unspoilt scenery.
The route travels along at times quiet country (regional) roads which connect at various stages to national routes for your convenience. You will never be too far at any stage of the route from one of the major towns of Cobh, Midleton or Youghal.
Choose where you want to begin the route. However, if you are coming from Cork City follow the route beginning in Fota/Cobh. If you arrive from Waterford your natural starting point on the route will be in Youghal.
Find out for yourself just what South and East Cork really has to offer – a warm welcome, stunning sandy beaches, some of the country’s top visitor attractions and landscapes.
The Wild Atlantic Way drive along Cork’s coast takes at least 2 – 4 days to complete. However with so much to see and do, you should try to spend at least 2 weeks on this stage to soak up views, the craic (fun) and give yourself time to do walks and other activities. Some of the best towns, villages and islands to visit on the Cork route include Kinsale, Clonakilty, Rosscarbery, Skibbereen, Baltimore, Sherkin Island, Clear Island, Ballydehob, Schull, Whiddy Island, Mizen Head (See Photo above), Bantry, Sheeps Head, Glengarriff, Castletownbere, Bere Island, Dursey Island and finishing in Kenmare.
Don’t forget it’s unilimited mileage in our Hire Cars and you can bring the tank back empty! All the more reason to explore the city to your heart’s content.
So let’s go and explore!
You now have a wonderful list of all the things you need to experience Cork. And weather, money, nor travel concerns need not be an issue because you’ve got Easirent on your side with all the knowledge and availability you could wish for from a car hire company. We’re not just a car rental service, we’re also a travel-experience service. With branches up and down the length of the UK and Ireland, we have a pretty extensive reach. Contact us for any information and we’ll see what we can do for you!
If you need any more ideas, inspiration or information Twitter is the best place to go, have a browse using the #traveltuesday hashtag, explore the tourist board or take a look at Discover Ireland‘s twitter feed.