I’ve been waiting a long time to write this post, and if you’re a Student in Cork or working abroad in Cork, I bet you’ve been waiting to actually start appreciating the beauty that Ireland can offer. This post does not contain advice about Kinsale because everybody and their grandmother knows that Kinsale is an awesome weekend destination. This post will recommend places and activities that you might not have thought about before. I can proudly say that I worked very hard throughout my Masters, but I also took advantage of Ireland to the fullest. I can safely say, being located in Cork is probably the best advantage you could have asked for.
You Might Think You Know About Killarney, but Do You Actually?
I find the best way to get to Killarney is by train. I find them romantic and relaxing, but that might just be me. Since the buses are so expensive in Ireland, I would recommend the train whenever you can because the prices are basically the same and you get a much nicer form of travel. When you get to Killarney……just leave Killarney. The town is nice, but it’s difficult to find the authenticity in between all of the tourist shops. Go straight through the town and head to Killarney National Park. Now, if you have a bike, bring it on the train, but if you don’t, go and rent one.
Once you have a bike, the world is your oyster!
Some destinations that I would suggest are the Black Valley, The Gap of Dunloe, and the Start of the Kerry Way. The Kerry Way is Ireland’s longest trail and circumvents the Iveragh Peninsula. If you have a whole weekend to kill, the first two days of the hike are beautiful. The first day, the hike takes you to the Black Valley where you can stay in a hostel. The second day, you can loop around to Kenmare, one of the largest towns in Kerry. Kenmare has multiple buses back to Cork any day of the week. Also, if you don’t want to camp in the rough Irish weather, all of the small towns have bed and breakfasts, as well as some hostels. Even the Black Valley has a hostel.
A True Irish Village: Ballydehob
It’s true, it’s quite difficult to get to West Cork. The buses aren’t very often and are expensive, the roads are very curvy, people are hard to understand and if you’re not a local, you stand out like a sore thumb. So, if you’re a student in Cork, maybe wait for a holiday weekend to travel to the West. If you feel up the challenge, the village of Ballydehob is one of the most relaxing spots you can find. There are restaurants, pubs, cafes, trails to the beach, music, art and it’s all located on a street that you can walk up and down in 5 minutes.
Ballydehob as a Base
While, I could spend my whole weekend in Ballydehob having lovely food and drinks, maybe reading a book by the fireplace, or talking to the old men in the pub. You might not be as boring as me and you might want to go exploring. Lucky for you, Ballydehob is the gateway to the Mizen Head Peninsula, one of the most sparsely populated areas of Ireland. It’s also one of the most beautiful. Also, in close proximity is Baltimore and the famous Baltimore Beacon, which overlooks massive cliffs to Sherkin Island.
To say the least, you will not run out of things to do when staying in the lovely Ballydehob. For places to stay, I would recommend staying at a B&B or an Airbnb, The Irish are known for their hospitality and there is no shortage of it in West Cork. So, get out of the city and go relax in the countryside!
Get on that Horse and Ride!!!
I’ll be the first to tell you that there are sooooo many more trips than these two from Cork. These just happen to be two that I would try and do whenever I had the chance. If these didn’t tickle your fancy though, there’s a good bet that you can find some other holiday ideas. Also, try and find your own favorite place. Everybody has their own style and if you can’t find what you like around Cork, well then…..You obviously don’t have any style! Nahhh, but seriously, there are so many things to do around Cork and if you’re running out of ideas, the Irish are friendly and will help you. It’ll actually be harder to stop them from giving advice. \
The Obvious American