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
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.
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) //
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) //
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) //
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.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.