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Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

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Washington DC...
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Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

Hello, we are planning a week-long trip to Ireland in the late spring. We want to spend a few days in each location so we are planning to visit only 2-3 cities during the week. We plan to arrive in Dublin but after that I'm not sure where else to go- it looks like there are so many great places to visit. We like cities but also want to see history and nature, moderate hikes and scenic drives.

I think Cork might be a good location but I'm not sure, so is there a better city than Cork if we only visit two?

I'm also considering the Ring of Kerry but I'm not sure what else is out that way that would fill up a 3 night trip.

Thanks very much for the assistance!

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1. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

You're right - there are Many great places to visit :-)

I'm not sure if I'd choose the city of Cork as a 2nd location, but then I'm not a "city" person and much prefer to stay in rural areas. West Cork is absolutely beautiful and you could easily spend 3 days or more exploring this region. Have a look at the pretty country town of Clonakilty in west Cork - about 4-hr drive from Dublin:


Things to see/do in west Cork:




From the pretty seaside village of Baltimore you can take a boat to either Sherkin or Clear:



This is a lovely spot :


And there are some scenic walks along Sheep's Head:



Mizen Head is a great place for bird watching and you occasionally see whales and dolphins:


You might want to break your journey to/from co. Cork; Kilkenny is a beautiful medieval city (small) surrounded by rural landscape and with many interesting historic sites nearby:





Near Kilkenny:




And it would be a shame to be so close and not visit :




Bear in mind that your last night will probably need to be spent near Dublin airport if that's your departure point. Most flights leave early-mid morning and a 3-hr check-in is required for transatlantic flights.

If you're considering visiting the ring of Kerry, then a stay in Kenmare or Killarney would be ideal. It will take a similar amount of time to drive down to Kerry as west Cork, and you need a full day to drive around the Ring. Other than the Ring, there are many activities and sites that could keep you occupied for a week or more:





From Killarney you could also take a day trip to Dingle Peninsula, or even stay a night:




Kenmare is smaller than Killarney and is a good base if you want to visit the lesser known but equally beautiful Beara Peninsula:









So, plenty of options, and really, you can't go wrong with any of them. Just try not to rush around too much: your idea of 2-3 locations for your week is the best way to go.

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2. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

With respect to The republic, I'd choose Galway.

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3. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

Hello. Consider both Kilkenny and Waterford as very interesting cities to visit. Also, there are many places to go and things to see right around both: around Kilkenny there is Kells Priory, Jerpoint Abbey, the Rock of Cashel, and Cahir castle, and around Waterford are Lismore, Ardmore, the fishing village of Dunmore East, and the Hook Head lighthouse is a ferry ride away. Both the cities have very nice walking tours, good restaurants and hotels, and good museums, and both counties are fun to drive through with very pretty scenery. Food for thought. Hope this helps, and enjoy.

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4. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

Cork has never been on my list of places to go in Ireland. Dublin has always been enough of a big city in ireland for me--I much refer smaller places.

There is more than enough around the Ring of Kerry to fill up three days. We spent 4 days touring around the Ring of Kerry and could have easily done more. For history, tour Muckross House in Killarney NP, visit the ring forts in Sneem and Cahirciveen, and tour Daniel O'Connell's home at Derrynane NP. For hiking, walk part or all of the Gap of Dunloe, hike around Muckross Lake and do some of the walks at Derrynane, where we came upon the ruins of a ringfort in the undergrowth. For sheer scenic beauty, take a daytrip to the Beara Peninsula.

I recommend staying in Kenmare. We loved Abbey Court B&B.

5. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

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Whitney, Texas
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6. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

if it's big cities you're wanting then you can't get any bigger and find more traffic that Dublin and cork city.....

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7. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

If I was splitting my time into two locations I would not choose Dublin and Cork, why the two biggest cities in the Republic? Why not divide between Dublin and a smaller location? There is a lot more to Ireland than traffic jams and shops.

Cork, Ireland
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8. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

Even as someone who lives in Cork, I broadly agree with fuchsiagirlEngland

The main reason to go to both Dublin and Cork is if you are using public transport to get around as it's easier to stay in public transport hubs then.

Otherwise, if you want to see the South-West, go down to Killarney, Kenmare, Glengarriff or Schull which are better bases for the rural areas.

Yes, Cork will present a better selection of bars, restaurant, shops and cultural options than a smaller location, it does have things to see, and it does have a different atmosphere relative to Dublin, but it would be a pity to miss out on seeing the more scenic locations.

Edited: 31 October 2013, 12:00
Washington DC...
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9. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

WOW! Thank you all so much for the thoughtful and information-filled responses!!

I selected Cork because I called one of the Ireland tourism offices and asked what location would be a good place for our second city after Dublin and they suggested Cork. I know little about Ireland (just started planning our trip).

I'm a pretty thorough vacation researcher so I'm going to take a look at every suggestion in this thread and try to plan the trip that way.

We live in Washington, DC and frequently visit New York City so we are familiar with cities. Maybe it would be a nice change of pace to get out of the city and skip Dublin? Suppose we were to skip Dublin entirely and just do a week-long history/nature tour of two areas. Where would you suggest in place of Dublin? We would prefer to spend 3 nights in each location so we can really get a feel for the area rather than hopping from place to place.

Thank you all again for the thoughtful responses!

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10. Re: Is Cork a good 2nd city after Dublin for a taste of Ireland?

If you are skipping Dublin, you could spend 3 nights in the southeast, lots to see and do.

Then you could spend time in either West Cork or West Kerry.

Get answers to your questions about Cork