Best Ireland Road Trips – Cork Adventures

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Summer has finally arrived and here, at Hotel Isaacs, we are basking in the delights of sunshine and the newfound warmth the days are bringing.  We have added some fresh seasonal additions to our fine dining restaurant-Greenes and of course, what better way to check out our pretty courtyard with its very own waterfall than with some of the sensational cocktails on offer at Ireland’s number one cocktail bar, Cask?

Of course, one of the many wonderful things about a stay at Hotel Isaacs is that you really are in the heart of the action.  Step outside our gates and embrace the hustle and bustle of the Rebel City with its thriving night-life, countless arts and cultural attractions, picturesque parks, unbeatable shopping and unique cuisine offerings.  Or, hop in your car or one of the many nearby public transport options and go explore the great outdoors.  Whether countryside, coast or mountains are your thing-you can be guaranteed, there is a road trip calling your name.

We have put together just a small sample of some of our favourites:

Blarney and North Cork

Don’t want to venture too far but still want to see some of the renowned Irish countryside and its majestic castles? Nestled just 8km from Cork City, the quant village of Blarney is steeped in history, folklore and legend with Blarney Castle Estate standing proudly in its centre. Home to the Blarney Stone famous for bestowing the gift of eloquent speech on all those who have the courage to kiss it whilst hanging from the castle battlements, the castle grounds also contain many interesting features including a poison garden, woodland walk and stunning lake-side views.  The charming town itself is full of great pubs and restaurants including the Muskerry Arms.  Don’t forget to drop into the Blarney Woollen Mills Factory– the largest Irish store in the world.  An emporium of glass, linen, jewellery and all things Irish, it is the one-stop shop for finding that perfect gift for people back home.

In the mood to venture further?  Drive further north to Doneraile Estate, check out the Donkey Sanctuary or get a workout in on the Claragh Loop trail starting in Millstreet…not for that faint hearted!

Fota Island

Another firm favourite with both locals and visitors alike, just 16 kms from the city or a 10 minute journey on the train lies Cork’s very own pleasure island.  Encompassing a world renowned golf-course and a fabulous regency style great country house along with extensive gardens and an arboretum, there really is something for everyone.  Best of all is Fota Wildlife Park, where young and old can marvel at the giraffes, monkeys and lions roaming freely.  Check their website for details of upcoming themed events including outdoor play performances, up close and personal encounters with the animals and the highly popular Super Milk Wild Air Run obstacle course, suitable for people of all ages.


25 kms from Cork, Midleton is the home to the largest selling Irish whiskey in the world: Jameson.  Visit the home of Jameson Irish Whiskey and other well-known brands including Paddys, Powers, Redbreast and the famous Midleton Very Rare.  Entry is by guided tour only.  The standard tour lasts approximately 1h20 and includes a complimentary glass of Jameson.  Marvel at the largest pot-still in the world; explore the mill building, maltings, brewhouse and cooperage before breathing in the aromas of a live whiskey maturation warehouse. Browse in the well-stocked gift-shop to find that perfect gift for the whiskey aficionado in your life or savour one of the delightful food offerings from the Malthouse Restaurant.


Known as the gourmet capital of Ireland, the colourful town of Kinsale has an abundance of top-quality bars, restaurants and pubs.  It is the perfect place to spend a leisurely evening or a full day-trip.  Admire the countless yachts on Ireland’s “Riviera”, delve into the local museum, partake in one of the town’s many walking tours or take the more challenging pathway to one of the town’s old forts:  Charlesfort and James Fort.  Breath-taking coastal views are guaranteed. The Old Head of Kinsale and its world-famous golf course is a short drive away.

Kinsale is also the gateway to scenic West Cork and the start/finish point of the Wild Atlantic Way, one of the world’s longest defined coastal routes. Clonakilty and the surfer’s paradise of Inchydoney are two places you don’t want to miss out.


The last port of call for the doomed Titanic, located 23kms from Cork, Cobh is a pretty port town that boasts the second largest natural harbour in the world along with a rich maritime history.  Families will love the Titanic Experience whereas those looking for a more comprehensive history of the town will appreciate “The Queenstown Story”, which not only provides a history of the town as a centre of mass immigration but an interesting exhibition with real artefacts found on board the Titanic.  Stroll along the promenade, dine in one of the promenade’s many fine eateries, visit the impressive St Colman’s Cathedral for spectacular views of the harbour or take the short boat journey out to nearby Spike Island.

Ballycotton, Garryvoe and East Cork

Everyone has heard of the charm of West Cork but don’t be fooled-East Cork is another jewel just waiting to be discovered.  Some of our favourite spots are Ballycotton and its famous cliff-walk offering stunning views of the Lighthouse (boat tours to the island are running again for the summer too).  A further 10 minute drive down the road from Ballycotton is one of East Cork’s best beaches-Garryvoe.  Whilst you’re in the area- make sure you check out the Shanagarry Design Centre too.

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