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Known to local residents as “the real capital” of Ireland and the People's Republic of Cork, the southern county is defined by the independent stance it takes on virtually everything (particularly when it comes to its closest neighbour, Kerry). Cork people do things differently, as you will discover if you take time to experience some of the following attractions:
Cork hums with an energy born of self-confidence. Packed into an island ringed by the River Lee, the city centre teems with elegant Georgian parades, winding 17th-century alleys, and cutting-edge new entries like the opera house. Cork’s character remains appealingly traditional, however, with cosy pubs and welcoming locals.
If you look at Cork on a map, it appears as a three-fingered territory reaching into the Atlantic Ocean. One of those fingers is the mighty Beara Peninsula, a spectacular stretch of rugged coastal scenery that also takes in part of Kerry. Take a drive around this region and prepare to be stunned by the awe-inspiring views.
The centre of culinary excellence in Ireland has come to settle in West Cork. Here you will find some of the finest local and seasonal produce, prepared to exceptionally high standards by committed and creative cooks. Cork’s southern coast is scattered with gourmet towns and villages from Kinsale to Clonakilty, and most play host to festivals that celebrate their specialty fare. Unsurprisingly, seafood features strongly, but there’s something to suit everyone.
Discover hidden magic away from Cork’s splendid coast. Gougane Barra is an inland gem, with pine forests, a glacial mountain lake, and a small 6th-century chapel built by Saint Finbarr, the founder of Cork. Located 10 kilometres west of Ballingeary on the R584 to Bantry, Gougane Barra Forest Park is a wilderness where you can get back to nature on rugged hill walks and appealin nature trails.
Surrounded in lush scenery that lends a tropical air, Glengarriff is a pretty village on Bantry Bay that acts as a gateway to the Beara Peninsula and links the towns of Kenmare and Bantry. A sheltered site influenced by the Gulf Stream means that Glengarriff enjoys a warm climate that fosters a holiday atmosphere and encourages tropical plants to grow in profusion on Garinish Island and in Bamboo Park.
Dating back to 1446, Blarney Castle is a tower house surrounded by beautiful gardens that are ideal for picnics, but the lovely grounds are not the main reason for its fame. The purpose of most tourists’ visit to Blarney is to receive the “gift of the gab” by kissing the Blarney Stone, a slab located at the top of the tower. Climb the steps and bend over backwards to kiss the stone. Or you could just enjoy the spectacular views.
The main drawback of going to most zoos is that the animals seem cooped up in their enclosures. Visit Fota Wildlife Park, outside Cobh, however, and you can enjoy the spectacle of wild animals roaming in a natural environment. Fota is set on 70 acres on an island in Cork Harbour just a 15- minute drive from Cork City. Animals and birds from all over the world live cage-free, so you should be prepared for impromptu encounters with monkeys and peacocks.
A Blue Flag beach is a pretty good indication that you are on a quality beach, but Inchydoney, a few miles from Clonakilty, does a lot more than pass a list of tests set by a council based in Denmark. In fact, this is probably Cork's finest beach. A golden semicircle of powdery sand flanks gorgeous waves, and Inchydoney’s location more than an hour’s drive from the city means that it rarely gets crowded.
The Titanic Trail in Cobh (14km from Cork City) is the perfect way to relive the history of the world’s most famous sunken ships. The one-hour, guided tour of the final port of call of RMS Titanic brings you along the historic streets of the town, recounting the events in Cobh on the day Titanic embarked on her maiden (and final) voyage.
One of Europe’s most immaculately preserved 17th-century star-shaped forts, Charles Fort is best appreciated by following the scenic trail around the bay from Scilly to Summercove, 3km east of Kinsale. Built in the 1670s to guard Kinsale Harbour, the fort was in use until 1921, and the ruins within are fascinating.
0.1km from Schull
Stay at one of these south-facing self-catering holiday homes on the edge of the West Cork village of Schull, overlooking the harbour. The three-bedroom self catering properties feature one double bedroom, one twin bedroom, and one single room. These holiday homes are an ideal base for touring the south west, or simply for relaxing and enjoying it all.
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0.2km from Cork City
Experience Cork city's reputation for culture in these beautifully situated self catering apartments.
Each apartment has two spacious and luxurious bedrooms.
Guests can relax and unwind in the comfort of electrically heated surroundings while enjoying a leisurely Irish breakfast. These superb 3-star self catering properties each contain a fully fitted kitchen and dining area, which are beautifully furnished throughout.
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1km from Youghal
Enjoy 4-star luxury in this family-friendly self catering complex in the beautiful seaside town of Youghal, East Cork. This complex features a selection of self catering properties available to rent for short and long-term breaks, including 2-, 3- and 4-bed villas and apartments. This particular property is a two-bedroom apartment that sleeps 4.
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0.4km from Cork City
The self catering apartments are equipped with a TV and a fully fitted kitchen with cooker, hob, fridge freezer and microwave. Bed linen and towels are supplied. This is a great location for holidaying families and business travellers. It offers complimentary internet connection and free use of the leisure centre, with its 25m pool, waterslide, gym, saunas, jacuzzi, rooftop hot tub, tennis courts, sunbeds and steam room.
3.6km from Clonakilty
This converted stone boathouse offers unique self-catering accommodation overlooking the bay near Clonakilty in County Cork. With its picturesque location, Clonakilty is an ideal destination for those who wish to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of city life.
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0.6km from Clonakilty
Conveniently located in the popular market town of Clonakilty in County Cork, this attractive self-catering townhouse offers 4 star accommodation. The family-friendly holiday home has three bedrooms, and bed linen is supplied free. The patio at the rear of the self-catering property is an ideal place for unwinding after a memorable day of sightseeing in the stunning surrounding area.
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12.3km from Skibbereen
Set among two acres of private gardens, this 200-year-old natural stone farmhouse has been lovingly restored to create a luxury 4-star holiday home. This Cork self-catering property consists of four spacious bedrooms, comfortable living areas, a well-equipped kitchen and utility, and a bathroom with a jacuzzi bath and shower.
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0.1km from Rosscarbery
This well-designed terraced self catering property offers 4-star luxury near the County Cork village of Rosscarbery. This three-bedroom property is a home from home, providing the ideal self catering for families or groups who want to make the most of all the facilities and breathtaking scenery the area has to offer. The holiday home accommodates 6 adults and 1 infant, with one double en-suite bedroom, 1 double room, and a third twin bedroom.
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17.8km from Bantry
With stunning views of Bantry Bay on the Sheep’s Head peninsula, this three-bedroom holiday home offers exceptional accommodation near the charming village of Kilcrohane in County Cork. The holiday home is set on a large site surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds and is tastefully decorated and well equipped throughout. West Cork is a magical part of Ireland and is one of the country’s most spectacular and well-known holiday destinations.
0.9km from Dunmanway
These beautiful holiday homes are located just a few minutes' drive from Dunmanway in West Cork. This is the perfect base to tour all that Cork has to offer, including such stunning towns and villages along Cork's west coast as Baltimore, Glengariff, and Clonakilty.
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