Nohoval Cove in Cork is a tricky one.
Although it’s one of the more photographed beaches in Cork, it can be a nightmare if you arrive up when there’s anything more than 4 cars ‘parked’ here.
However, if you land here when it’s quiet, you’ll be treated to one of the most beautiful and secluded corners of Cork’s coastline.
Some quick need-to-knows about Nohoval Cove
Getting to Nohoval Cove isn’t overly complicated, but there are a few things to bear in mind before you head out.
Nohoval Cove sits on the south coast of County Cork, about 30 km south of Cork City. You can normally drive there from the city in around 40 minutes or so. It’s also about a 20-minute drive east of Kinsale. Access to the cove is down a series of small dead-end tracks, so it’s one to avoid if you’re in the camper!
2. Parking at the beach
If you look at the photos above, you’ll get a sense of the parking situation at Nohoval Cove. You follow very narrow country roads until you get to the area on the left where there’s room for 4 cars max. The problem that can arise here is if you reach this parking area when someone else is trying to back up/turn around as they couldn’t get parking. It’s extremely tight.
3. Avoid swimming here
With no lifeguard service and an extremely remote location, plus crashing waves and jagged rocks, you should avoid swimming at Nohoval Cove. The risk is simply too high. Instead, enjoy the rocks and the magnificent views.
4. One of Cork’s finest
This place is truly spectacular. The landscape looks as if it’s barely been touched by mankind for the past hundred years or so. A natural wonderland, it boasts sea stacks and arches and rugged cliffs. On busy days it does draw a bit of a crowd, so try to plan your visit during a calmer period if possible.
About Nohoval Cove
Although its one of the closest beaches to Cork City, Nohoval Cove is a veritable hidden gem, pretty much only known by locals. But it’s becoming increasingly popular and once you see it, you’ll understand why.
The shale rocks and cliffs stand dark and proud, rising out of the turquoise waters. Sea stacks and arches are a defining characteristic, jutting out in jagged formations that’ll capture both the eye and the imagination.
Towering cliffs border the small cove, which mainly consists of boulders and shale ledges. It’s a great place to scramble around, finding the ideal vantage point for capturing your photo of the year (just please do so safely).
There are plenty of options and it’s particularly stunning at sunrise or sunset.
An industrious past
Nohoval Cove in Cork was, surprisingly, once a hub of industry, though now long since abandoned. As you approach the cove, you’ll see a number of old lime kilns, although you’d be forgiven for mistaking them for castle ruins.
The area was also home to a slate mine, the ruins of which you’ll also see as you make your way to the cove.
As crazy as it sounds now, in years past, ships would navigate the treacherous waters here to off-load lime and pick up slate.
However, all of that has long since passed, and apart from the occasional ruin, few traces remain.
Slippery when wet
Access to the cove is down a rocky slate slope. It’s pretty steep, and when it gets wet, it can be a real nightmare to traverse.
Take care, as one misstep could see you sliding down into the sea if the tide is in!
Plus, once you’re back in the village, you can enjoy refreshments at the brilliant Finder’s Inn.
Things to do near Nohoval Cove
One of the beauties of Nohoval Cove is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Cork.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Nohoval Cove.
1. Charles Fort (20-minute drive)
Sitting on the edge of Kinsale town, the 16th-century star-shaped Charles Fort is an imposing structure that, for many years, guarded the entrance to Kinsale Bay. It’s a superb place to visit and stroll around, taking in spectacular views of the surroundings as you go. Remarkably well-preserved, there’s also a visitor centre and various exhibitions to check out.
2. Kinsale (25-minute drive)
There are heaps of things to do in Kinsale. The narrow historic streets are lined with an exciting assortment of shops, cafes, restaurants, and pubs, as well as a number of attractions. It’s also a great place for walking, with the famous Scilly Walk starting in the town.
3. Great food, pubs and things to see and do
There are tons of great places to grab a bite to eat or a pint or two. Finders Inn in Nohoval village is a top spot for a fantastic dinner. Kinsale is a short drive away, boasting plenty of great pubs and restaurants, while to the west, you’ll find the wonderful Roberts Cove Inn. The area is also jam-packed with fantastic beaches, with Rocky Bay just a stone’s throw away and activity centres offering everything from kayaking to rock climbing.
4. Cork City (35-minute drive)
Vibrant and bustling, Cork City is by no means a large city, but it’s full of life and is well worth a visit. Home to some of the best restaurants and dining experiences in Ireland, it’s also a hub for culture, with live trad music sessions, art galleries, museums, and amazing pubs. See our guide on what to do in Cork City for more.
FAQs about Nohoval in Cork
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where do you get a good view?’ to ‘Is it safe to swim?’ (it isn’t).
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is parking at Nohoval Cove a nightmare?
There’s only space for 4 cars at Nohoval Cove and it’s extremely tight. On a fine day, it can get chaotic here. We’d recommend to only visit off-peak.
Can you swim at Nohoval Cove?
No. With no lifeguard service and an extremely remote location, you should avoid entering the water at Nohoval Cove. The risk is simply too high.