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The 2024 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

The 2024 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

Day 9 (Cork) – Exploring glorious West Cork

West Cork is hands-down one of my favourite places on earth, never mind Ireland.

The wild, remote, ever-changing landscapes, the isolation and the people make it an absolute gem of a place to spend a day or 5.

We won’t have enough time to explore a whole load of West Cork. For those of you that would rather spend more time here, here’s a guide to the best things to do in West Cork on a four day Ireland road trip.

1 – Spinning through Glandore, Union Hall and Skibbereen en route to Baltimore

// Clonakilty to Baltimore – 45-minute drive (take your time and arrive to Union Hall for Baltimore for 10:00) //

glandore in cork

Photo by Chris Hill

We’re going to take a little bit of time to spin around the gorgeous villages and towns of Glandore, Union Hall and Skibbereen.Cape Clear Island

We’ve no specific stops or places to visit in either town, but you can’t drive through this neck of the woods and not take some time to ramble around.

Give yourself an hour and stop-off anywhere that tickles your fancy.

I’m a huge fan of Skibbereen.

Often referred to as ‘the Capital of West Cork’, it’s a gorgeous, lively little town that’s a great base for exploring some of the best that West Cork has to offer.

Hop out for a ramble. Your first handful of many gorgeous little towns that we’ll be visiting on this Ireland road trip.

2 – Cape clear island and Fastnet Rock

// Ferry times will vary (check them out here) – we’re going to assume that you’ve followed the guide and gone for the 11:00 sailing // 

Our second stop of the day is going to be the base for a lot of the days activities.

We’re going to board a ferry to Cape Clear Island and head off exploring.

Cape Clear is the southernmost inhabited part of the island of Ireland and has a population of over 100 people.

The ferry takes 45-minutes to get to the island, so just kick back, relax, and gaze out at the beautiful waters of Roaring Water Bay.

cape clear island photo

Photo via Tourism Ireland

When you reach the island, a shuttle bus service leaves from the North Harbour, taking visitors to Cape Clear Heritage Centre for the Fastnet multimedia exhibition.

When you’ve finished up at the exhibition, make your way back down to the ferry.

The final lap of the trip takes you around Fastnet Lighthouse, often referred to as ‘the Teardrop of Ireland’, as it was the last sight of Ireland for emigrants sailing to America.

Here’s a fantastic look at the lighthouse from every angle, thanks to Tom Vaughan.

3 – Lunch at Mizen Head

// Baltimore to Mizen Head – 1-hour drive (arrive for 15:00) //

It’s been a long morning and afternoon, so fuel up with a hearty lunch at the cafe at Mizen Head.

If you haven’t packed any snacks or water, grab some here and pop them in your bag.

4 – Embracing the power of nature at Mizen Head

// Aim to start exploring Mizen by 16:00 //

Mizen Head Cliffs

Photo by Monicami/

I visited here during the summer of 2018, and it really is an experience and a half.

The Mizen Head Signal Station was built to save lives off the treacherous rocks at Ireland’s most south-westerly point.

Mizen Head

Photo by RR Photo (Shutterstock)

Kick your visit off by spending a bit of time wandering around the the Maritime Museum.

From here, take a stroll down towards the Signal Station – it’s a 15 minute walk along a gravelly path, down 99 steps (these were closed on the day that I visited) and across the beautiful arched bridge.

Take your time walking around and admiring the views that lay as far as the eye can see.

5 – Bantry for the night

// Mized Head to Bantry – 45-minute drive (aim to arrive for 18:30) //

That was a long day – still with me? Let me know in the comments below.

On night number 9 of our Ireland road trip, I’m going to recommend that you stay at the Bantry Bay Hotel.

When you’re ready to eat, take the 2-minute stroll to Fish Kitchen for a hearty feed.

We’re going to round the evening off with a few pints in Ma Murphy’s pub right across the road from Fish Kitchen.

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Leeann Nolan

Wednesday 15th of November 2023

Hi Keith Thank you so much for all the work you have done on The Irish Road Trip. I have used much of it to plan my 7 week trip to Ireland in 2024. It has been invaluable :)

Mick Bourke

Sunday 24th of September 2023

G’day Keith-thanks for your trip. My wife and I will be over there in late April and most of May (about a month in total before heading to Scotland for a couple of weeks). I think I’ll be using your trip (which is great (as also is the additional info at the bottom)) as the basis for ours, however, I would like to do abit more of the inland (like a figure eight of the island). Do you have any suggestions?

Keith O'Hara

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

Hey Mick,

Is there anywhere in particular you have in mind with the inland section?



MIchael Katekar

Tuesday 11th of July 2023

A big thank you for all of the time and hard work you have put into this blog. Great information. I don't think we can keep up with your pace but will certainly take up many of your suggestions.

Isabella Dennison

Sunday 26th of March 2023

Good day Keith,

Wow, what an amazing work you've done! I'm forever grateful!!! Please can you email this to me. We are planning to explore Ireland for the first time this year 2023, all the way from South Africa.

Thank you

Keith O'Hara

Monday 27th of March 2023

Thanks Isabell!

Sorry it's taken me so long to reply!

I've tried to get this converted to PDF on a number of occasions, but the result is very messy due to the volume of photos in it.

If there's any specific questions that I can help with, please fire them on and I'll do my best to answer them.


Jodie Wilson

Sunday 26th of March 2023

First retirement trip. Ireland for a month! Go big or go home. So excited to start this new chapter in our lives - and to hit the roads of Ireland. This guide is perfect - but I’d love a more readable copy if you could email it to me.

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