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Selected Trips

    Self Drive

    West Cork Escape

    Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights

    From €970

    Travel Planning & Advice

    Book With Confidence

    Trip created by Patricia Doe
    View Patricia's Profile

    Region: South West – Cork & Kerry
    Trip Type: Self Drive
    Accommodation: Classic
    Deposit From: €242.50 €242.50

    Grading: Your Own Pace

    Carbon Footprint: 34kg ? What does this mean?
    Click here to find out about our carbon labelling project and what we're doing to be more sustainable.

    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    The undulating hills of West Cork meander across the narrow peninsula that stretches out into the Atlantic. Rugged coasts and sheep-shorn grass make for perfect walking country. West Cork is a region that values its food – particularly its cheese – above all else, making it a foodie’s paradise.

    Rich in ancient history, Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) villages, and tranquil coves, this often-overlooked region is actually one of the finest places for outdoor enthusiasts to explore. The narrow country lanes and rural villages make West Cork feel like the place at the ends of the earth. 

    This short break self drive trip is perfect on its own, or the West Cork Escape can be extended for those looking for a longer holiday. Looking to get even more amazing experiences? Check out the options to upgrade and extend your stay in West Cork. The minimum group size is 2.

    Trip Highlights

    • Hike the Sheep's Head Way, named a European Destination of Excellence
    • Explore the bustle of Cork city and the vibrancy of colourful Kinsale
    • Travel at your own pace on this short break
    • Meet local characters, listen to live traditional music and taste delicious local food
    • A short break with optional extras and upgrades

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 - Cork and Kinsale

    Cork, Ireland’s second city, has a vibrant centre and is a fun place to wander around. Ireland may once have been known for spuds and cabbage, but this little island has come a long way. The English Market, one of Europe’s oldest food markets, is a perfect place to discover fresh, local delicacies, from farmhouse cheeses and fresh seafood for which West Cork is world-famous, to locally-blended spices, and everything in between. Or hop in the car and head straight to the wee colourful town of Kinsale on the sea to breathe in the salty air. Relax to the crash of waves while enjoying a seaside lunch overlooking Kinsale’s marina before driving the coast road to your accommodation. 

    Day 2 - Hiking the Sheep’s Head Way

    The meandering emerald landscape in which you are staying is so impressive it has been named a European Destination of Excellence in the development of sustainable tourism. West Cork’s Sheep’s Head Way is a community undertaking allowing access to some of the most beautiful and unspoilt landscapes in Ireland. Today you will meet with a local guide, who will tailor the day’s walking on the Sheep’s Head Way according to your ability and preferences. The Atlantic is never far away and options include ridge and shoreline walking along borreens, empty beaches or windswept heathery uplands. (B, G)

    *Optional Upgrade: Visit a West Cork Cheesemaker

    See Upgrades section for full details.

    Day 3 - Bantry and the Beara Peninsula

    Today you are free to explore a final West Cork peninsula – The Beara Peninsula. In this breathtaking region, there are plenty of options for short walks, taking in some quiet coastal landscapes or the widening expanses of the Caha Mountains with views to Kerry’s Iveragh Peninsula and beyond. Spend time in the wee coastal village of Bantry where the spectacular views and the 17th century Bantry House are worth a visit. Perhaps you might take the ferry out past the seal colony to the exotic, paradisal gardens of Garnish Island where world-renowned garden design fuses with native West Cork plants.(B)

    *Optional Upgrade: Guided Walk with Archeologist

    See the Upgrades tab for full details.

    Day 4 - Depart

    You can choose to extend your stay in colourful Kinsale or head back to the airport. (B)

    *Optional Upgrade: Kinsale Extension

    See the Upgrades section for full details.

    Self Drive
    West Cork Escape

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    The phone number field is not required but if you would like us to give you a call to help find the trip for you, then enter your telephone number including the country code.

    Book Now

    Price from: €970
    Duration: 4 Days 3 Nights

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    This self drive trip features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort in West Cork. Expect small, comfortable and characterful lodgings. You will have the choice between cosy B&Bs or 3-star family-run hotels or guesthouses, with options and in towns or rural communities. Accommodation rooming is a choice of double or twin rooms, which are en-suite with a shower.

    Accommodation Upgrade

    You will also have the option to upgrade your accommodation standards to deluxe and luxury options in the same region. See more info in the Upgrades section.

    Meals Read More

    Each morning, enjoy a homemade breakfast of your choice at your accommodation. We will provide local suggestions for lunches and dinners, to be taken according to your own preferences.

    Inclusions Read More

    This trip includes the following:

    • 3 nights accommodation in hand-picked, 3-star family-run guesthouses, B&Bs & boutique hotels
    • Meals: All Breakfasts (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • Activities stated in itinerary, incl. a day-long guided hike
    • Detailed itinerary, guide book, and map
    • Hiking route suggestions customised to your preferences and ability levels
    • Expert local suggestions for restaurants, activities
    Trip Grading Read More

    At Your Own Pace

    On this adventure, you will be accompanied by a Wilderness Ireland hiking guide for several days, who will be able to suggest and lead you on a range of hikes from gentle, low-level rambles to challenging days visiting remote summits. Just let them know what type of hike you would like to do and they will be ready.

    On the other days of the trip, you will self guided and can explore at whatever pace you feel comfortable.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    Arrival Info

    At the start of your trip on Day 1, pick up your hire car. The closest airport is Cork Airport in Cork city, and the next closest is Kerry Airport. Both have good hire car options, though Cork is larger. Dublin is also an option, and is about a 3-3.5 hour from the trip starting point. Of course, you may also use your own vehicle.

    Departure Info

    Drop off your hire car on the final day of your trip, or choose to extend your stay.

    Upgrade and Customise Your Trip Read More

    *Day 2 | Visit a Cheesemaker

    West Cork has a proud tradition of dairy products. Get hands-on with a behind-the-scenes tour of an award-winning cheesemaker whose cheeses have become a symbol of West Cork. Visit the small farm for a look at the cheese-making process and perhaps have a taste of this delicious product.

    *Day 3 | Tour With an Archeologist

    Ireland has a rich tapestry of history going back thousands of years. While in West Cork, dive into history when you meet up with a charismatic archeologist and spiritualist who will take you to archeological gems. Conjuring up the stories of the ancient peoples of Ireland by visiting Neolithic monuments, beautiful churches, and stones that feature in popular Irish folklore.

    Extend Your Stay in Kinsale

    Kinsale is one of the most vibrant coastal towns in southwest Ireland. Extend your stay to experience small-town Ireland, a lively marina, great local food, and artesian shops. Start your visit with a guided walking tour to get your bearings and learn about the town’s rich heritage.

    Visit Cape Clear Island

    Ireland’s west coast islands are microcosms of Irish tradition. Meet your guide for the day and head over to Cape Clear island for a hike around this amazing place, still home to a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) community. Visit a goat farm on the island to taste the rich, creamy goat’s cheese produced by a local goat farmer.

    Sailboat Charter

    The southwestern-most region of Ireland has a long maritime history. From raiding pirates to fishing villages, this region was often the last view of Europe that immigrants to North America had. Enjoy a private sailboat charter – either full day or half day – to discover quiet inlets and beautiful coves. Or head further out into the ocean for the chance to spot whales!

    Accommodation Upgrades

    After a day spent exploring the raw beauty of West Cork, perhaps you’d like to retire to luxurious settings. Choose to upgrade to deluxe or luxury accommodations, including countryside estates and Georgian mansions.

    Car Hire

    Planning to hire a car here in Ireland? Make your life easier by leaving the car rental process up to us. Just tell us your preferences and we’ll do the rest.

    Photo Gallery

    Speak to an Expert

    Patricia Doe

    An avid cyclist and hiker, Patricia enjoys exploring Ireland’s wild landscapes every chance she gets. She particularly loves the under-appreciated regions of Mayo, Connemara, Sligo and Donegal. Having spent nearly a decade in the hospitality industry, Patricia is an expert on Ireland’s luxury and unique accommodations. As Wilderness Ireland’s General Manager and head of the sales team, Patricia is ready to help make your Irish adventure spectacular.

    Ask Patricia a Question

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    At your Own Pace

    Discovery journeys are self-drive with personal activity experiences tailored to your own personal activity level. They allow you to discover Ireland with one-to-one meet ups with local guides and experts who can lead you through activities and hikes at you own pace. They also include overnight stops at the very best local 4 and 5 star accommodations. For the days you are self-guided, we will provide you with suggestions of places to stop, eat and things to see along with maps and directions.

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