Hiring a car in Cork

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Hiring a car in Cork

Pick up your hire car at Cork airport and head for the cultural attractions and snug traditional pubs.

60-second guide to Cork

in its own head

"Cork is the real capital of Ireland. We've the best restaurants in the country and more pubs than you could visit in a lifetime. Eat your heart out Dublin."

but more realistically

Cork is about more than just food and drink. The European Capital of Culture 2005 is famous for its annual Jazz Festival and has an arts scene to rival any city.

the vibe

Once you've experienced the city's modern masterpieces, such as the rebuilt Cork Opera House, enjoy the more traditional side of Cork with a pint of Murphy's in an old snug pub.

the natives

Corkonians are a friendly bunch. You'll never be short of someone to speak to - ask a local for directions and you might end up chin-wagging for hours.

the weather

Whatever time of year you visit Cork, take an umbrella. Rarely does a week go by without rain on the west coast of Ireland.

the local speciality

What could be a better start to the day than a full Irish breakfast with black pudding from nearby Clonakilty?

the celebrity

Former Ireland football captain and Manchester United legend Roy Keane perfected his icy stare and hard tackles on the streets of Mayfield, just outside Cork.

did you know?

Cobh Harbour, just outside Cork, was the last port of call for the Titanic before it embarked on its ill-fated trip across the Atlantic in 1912.

they say

"Corkonians are natural extroverts, so music and theatre, song and dance have always flourished here." - Cork Tourist Board

5 to see in town...

1. Shandon Bells

The Church of St Anne in the district of Shandon is famous for its eight bells. At six tonnes apiece, there's no chance you'll miss their chimes.

where to park?

You can park your hire car at the Carrolls Quay multi-storey car park for €2.10 an hour.

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2. Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Island in Cork Harbour is probably the only place in Ireland you'll see ostriches, giraffes, kangaroos and zebras roaming around freely. Luckily, the cheetahs live in fenced enclosures.

where to park?

There's a free onsite car park.

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3: Fota Arboretum

Fota Island is also home to the largest collection of trees and shrubs in Ireland, set in the grounds of the 18th-century manor house.

where to park?

Onsite parking is available for €2 an hour.

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4: River Lee

The River Lee runs through the centre of Cork and some of the city's main shopping areas can be found along its banks. Nearby St Patrick's Street is Cork's answer to Barcelona's Las Ramblas.

where to park?

The Regional Park in Ballincollig has a free car park.

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5: Drake's Pool

The nearby village of Crosshaven is home to Drake's Pool, where Sir Francis Drake is alleged to have played hide and seek with the Spanish Armada.

where to park?

No designated parking is available for visitors but you can park anywhere on Carrigaline Road, the road that runs along the river.

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and 4 to drive to...

1: Schull

The picturesque village of Schull hosts the annual Fastnet International Regatta. Try your hand at various watersports, or if burying your toes in the sand is more your thing, visit nearby Barleycove beach.

how to get there?

It takes an hour and 45 minutes from Cork. Head south on the N71.

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2: Gougane Barra

The forest park at Gougane Barra is a spectacular place to take a stroll. Legend has it that St Finbar built a monastery on a small island here way back in the 6th century.

how to get there?

Gougane Barra Forest Park is three miles west of Ballingeary on R584 to Bantry. It will take just over an hour.

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3: Mizen Head

The most south-westerly point in Ireland offers some breathtaking views of the Mizen Peninsula. Check out the lighthouse and the old signal station, now a museum.

how to get there?

Head out of Cork on the N71, then branch left onto the R591. It should take just over two hours to get there.

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4: Killarney National Park

Just over an hour from Cork is the national park in Killarney, Ireland's version of the Lake District, home to the highest mountain in Ireland, Carrauntoohil.

how to get there?

Take the N22 north-east from Cork. It will take an hour and a half to get there.

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