Welcome to the “People’s Republic of Cork” and to the island’s largest county. Sprawling all over the south-west, this is the place that gave us revolutionary political leader and Clonakilty man Michael Collins, and Republic of Ireland soccer legend Roy Keane.
This is the county that takes in everything from Cork city to some of the island’s most fertile farmland, its wildest peninsulas and its most colourful islands. It even has its own black stuff (or Murphys Stout if you prefer).
“The scenery is every bit as enchanting as the best bits of Ireland, particularly along the long Mizen Head, Sheep's Head and Beara Peninsulas, where you can tackle mountain passes and touch Ireland's ancient past.” LONELY PLANET
Touring Cork is a tale of one town running into the next, with each as individual in character as the next. There is the gourmet getaway of Kinsale, the market town of Skibbereen, the bustling hub of Clonakilty.
And then there are long stretches of wilderness, such as the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, bothered by little but the wind whistling through the abandoned Atlantic Copper Mines.
At the centre of it all, of course, lies Cork city itself. “Dublin isn’t the real capital of the Republic of Ireland,” as one local quips. “We just let Dubliners think it is. We let them entertain the dignitaries. But when the dignitaries are on their days off, they come down here to be entertained properly.”
"The best of the city is still happily traditional – snug pubs with live-music sessions, restaurants dishing up top-quality local produce, and a genuinely proud welcome from the locals. LONELY PLANET