An Unforgettable 18-Day Road Trip That’s Packed With The Best Places to Visit in Ireland

Day 4 – Saying ‘Howaya’ to Cork

Ahh, I’m actually excited for all of you doing this trip for the first time.

Day 4 is a BELTER.

Get a feed in Dungarvan and prepare yourself for one of my favourite legs of the trip.

Here’s everything you need to know about day 4!

What we'll be doingWhere we'll be sleepingWhat you'll need
    • Cruising to Cobh
    • The deck of cards and St. Coleman’s Cathedral
    • Ireland’s answer to Alcatraz
    • Fooooooooooood
    • A grand aul stroll around the Old Head of Kinsale
    • A ramble along Inchydoney Beach to round off the day in style
O’Donovan’s Hotel, Clonakilty
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Some snacks for the hike
  • Water

Day #4 Stop #1 – Colourful houses, a grand aul Cathedral and a prison in Cobh

Dungarvan to Cobh – 1 hour and 5-minute drive (leave Dungarvan at 9 and land in Cobh for 10:05)

One of the mistakes people make (myself included) is that they head for Cobh solely to see the colourful houses below.

Cobh is a gorgeous little town, with plenty of stuff to see and do, so we’re going to spend a good chunk of time exploring it!

When you arrive, head for St. Coleman’s Cathedral’s and get to the car park (free parking #Yeooow).

First Cobh Stop – The Deck of Cards

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

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

houses in cobh
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

From here, it can be a little tricky based on your height, as you’ll need to peer over/climb up onto a wall which obstructs the view.

If you climb it, be careful! The view above is what awaits!

Second Cobh Stop – St. Coleman’s Cathedral

For those of you that are fond of architecture, nip back up to the 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 Spike Island.

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

Today the island is dominated by Fort Mitchel, a fortress that became a prison holding over 2,300 prisoners.

Day 4 Stop #2 – Kinsale for a ramble and a bite to eat

Cobh to Kinsale – 48-minute drive (spend 3 hours in Cobh and arrive to Kinsale for 13:50)

Our second stop of the day is the gorgeous little fishing town of Kinsale.

I’ve been here a handful of times before, but I keep coming back as it’s always a lovely little town to have a ramble around and grab a bite to eat.

colourful street in kinsale
Photo © The Irish Road Trip
kinsale town cork
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

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

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

Day 4 Stop #3 – a stroll around the Old Head of Kinsale

Kinsale town to the Old Head of Kinsale – 22-minute drive (leave Kinsale at 14:50 and 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.

the old head of kinsale loop walk
Photo via Failte Ireland

This walk is a handy 6 km (roughly 1.5 hour) loop walk that takes in remarkable 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 clatter you from every angle.

Day 4 Stop #4 – a stroll along the sand to round off the day

The Old Head of Kinsale to Inchydoney Beach – 58-minute drive (arrive to Inchydoney for around 17:38)

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.

Now, I’ve parked in the hotel car park beside the beach before as I wanted to use the bathroom, but there are signs up specifically stating that the car park is for customers use only.

Inchydoney beach cork weather
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Use it at your own risk or grab a coffee or a bite to eat in the hotel first.

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.

Well worth dropping by.

Day 4 Stop #5 – Clonakilty for the night

Inchydoney Beach to Clonakilty – 8-minute drive (arrive to Clonakilty for around 18:30)

I’ve stayed in O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty previously, loved it and would 100% recommend it.

The hotel, décor and the place in general was pretty dated, but that, and the wonderful staff, gave the place a charm that I find rare to come by in hotels in Ireland.

It was also a couple of seconds from this pub…

teach beag clonakilty
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

When I was here in the winter of 2017, the hotel bar was virtually empty.

I moseyed on down, grabbed a table and ordered fish and chips and a pint of Guinness.

The evening consisted of myself, two local aul lads and the barman, all sat back, in comfortable silence, eating and watching a re-run of a David Attenborough documentary.

And it was perfect.

Where the road trip will take us on day 5 (places that put the ‘Wild’ in Wild Atlantic Way

We’ve a cracking day lined up tomorrow.

We’ll have a nice little spin around West Cork (taking in one of the wildest places that I’ve ever visited) before tipping on to Kerry.

Move onto page 6 below to check it out!