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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 8 (Cork) – Exploring the historic town of Cobh before tipping on to Kinsale

Day 8 will see you explore Cobh to your heart’s content.

We’ll be visiting a prison once called ‘Ireland’s Hell’, the ‘Deck of Cards’ made famous by a million Instagram photos and lots more.

1 – Coffee and Colourful houses

// I won’t be putting in times for the first half of the day. Get a lie in and head out for around 10:30 //

There are several different spots that we’ll be checking out over the morning, so grab a coffee to go from Cuppacity Coffee and get walking.

First Cobh Stop – The Deck of Cards

houses in cobh

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

If you want to see St. Coleman’s Cathedral and the Deck of Cards from the view above, you’ll need to head for ‘Spy Hill’.

Pop it into Google maps and you’ll find it easy enough.

You’ll need to hop up on a wall (be careful) to see the view above, but you can also walk down the hill where the houses are located and walk into a little green area on the right.

Second Cobh Stop – St. Coleman’s Cathedral

For those of you that are fond of architecture, nip back up to the St. Coleman’s Cathedral and take a look inside.

Named after the patron saint of the diocese, St. Colman Mac Leinin, the structure was inspired by the great cathedrals of medieval France.

Admire it from the outside as it towers over you and take a ramble inside and enjoy the magnificent design of its interior.

Third Cobh Stop – Ireland’s Alcatraz

Our third and final stop in Cobh is one that’s left out of many an Ireland itinerary – Spike Island.

Often referred to as ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’ online, Spike Island was named Europe’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards in 2017.

You’ll need to grab a ferry from Cobh which takes between 10 and 20 minutes to reach the island.

In the last 1300 years, Spike Island has hosted a 6th century Monastery, a 24 acre Fortress, the largest convict depot in the world in Victorian times and centuries of island homes.

The island’s history has included monks, monasteries, rioters, redcoats, captains and convicts.

Well, well, welllllll worth visiting!

2 – Kinsale for a ramble and a bite to eat

// Cobh to Kinsale – 50-minute drive (arrive to Kinsale for 13:50) //

Our next stop takes us to the gorgeous little fishing town of Kinsale.

things to do in kinsale ireland

Photo by Borisb17 (Shutterstock)

Take a bit of time to wander around the town and then head for food.

Drop into the Lemon Leaf Cafe for a feed (or choose from other great places to eat in Kinsale on our interactive Ireland map) and grab a cup of coffee to-go.

3 – Stretching the legs at the Old Head of Kinsale

// Kinsale town to the Old Head of Kinsale – 20-minute drive (arrive at 15:10) //

the old head of kinsale loop walk

Photo via Failte Ireland

Our next stop is the Old Head of Kinsale to stretch the legs and to soak up some of Cork’s gorgeous coastline.

This walk is a handy 6 km (roughly 1.5 hour) loop walk that takes in spectacular views at every turn.

The Old Head of Kinsale is a magnificent narrow promontory into the Atlantic Ocean which rises hundreds of feet from the sea with craggy cliffs.

Take your time and enjoy the gush of Atlantic wind that’ll crash against you from every angle.

4 – Rounding off the day with a stroll at Inchydoney Beach

// The Old Head of Kinsale to Inchydoney Beach – 1-hour drive (arrive to Inchydoney for around 18:00) //

Inchydoney beach cork weather

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The promise of a stroll on a beach like Inchydoney to round off a day of exploring is enough to help you power through the last of the journey from Kinsale.

I really do love this place. It’s amazing at sunset if you just fancy getting a bit of pre-bed sea air (the view from the grassy verge near the car park is great) and it’s even better if you want to go for a stroll.

5 – Clonakilty for the night

// Inchydoney Beach to Clonakilty – 10-minute drive (arrive to Clonakilty for around 19:00) //

teach beag clonakilty

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

I love Clonakilty. I’m not sure what it is about the place. But it’s brilliant.

I’ve stayed in O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty previously, loved it and would 100% recommend it (just keep in mind that it’s pretty dated).

It was also a couple of seconds from the lovely pub above.

Grab a feed in O’Donovan’s and then head into An Teach Beag for a pint.

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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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