19 Reasons Why A Summer Staycation In West Cork Will Make You Happy

Food, walks, hikes and more

west cork road trip
Photo left: Fabiano's_Photo. Right: RR Photo

There are certain places in Ireland that you visit, whether it be on your own or in the company of family or friends, that have the knack of etching themselves onto your mind.

Time will elapse, but the memory latches on, almost as if it has somehow managed to burrow itself into a little hole in your mind.

West Cork has had a permanent home in my mind for 3 long, happy years. I spent 4 days there one balmy June and I’ve thought and talked about it ever since.

In the guide below, you’ll find a clatter of reasons that’ll hopefully convince you to take a spin to West Cork over the summer months, when things get back to normal.

1. There’s an endless amount of things to see and do, regardless of the weather

Healy pass
Photo by Jon Ingall (Shutterstock)

West Cork boasts an ample number of activities that’ll keep even the trickiest to amuse member of your party occupied.

2. You can kick-start your day with a coffee in the sun in one of West Cork’s many gorgeous little towns (if the weather’s fine…)

Baltimore village cork
Photo by Lukasz Warzecha via Tourism Ireland

3. Before hopping on a ferry to Cape Clear (you’ll get a look at Fastnet Rock on the journey over and back)

fastnet lighthouse cork
Photo by Corey Macri (Shutterstock)

Find out more about Fastnet Lighthouse

4. If it’s lashing down, you can take a spin up to Brow Head. Places don’t get much wilder than this!

brow head cork
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

5. Then tip onto Mizen when it starts to dry out a bit

Mizen Head
Photo by RR Photo (Shutterstock)

6. Round-off a day of exploring in style by climbing aboard a kayak and gazing at stars on Lough Hyne

lough hyne kayaking
Photo by Lukasz Warzecha by Tourism Ireland

7. Or keep your feet firmly on dry land as you eat and drink your way around Clonakilty

Clonakilty village
Photo by Marcela Mul (Shutterstock)

8. You can work off a big aul feed on one of West Cork’s many scenic walks and hikes

toe head west cork
Photo by George Karbu (George Karbus Photography) via Failte Ireland

9. From short rambles up places like Knockomagh Hill

Knockomagh woods skibbereen
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

10. To lengthier walks along the magnificent Beara Way 

allihies west cork
Photo by Hillwalk Tours

11. West Cork’s also home to some of the best beaches in the country

Inchydoney beach cork weather
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

From Barely Cove Beach near Brow Head to Inchydoney Beach (pictured below), there’s an endless number of sandy shores to stroll along.

12. And there’s plenty of hotels and pubs where you can nurse a drink and admire some scenery in style

barleycove beach hotel
Photo via Barleycove Beach Hotel

13. For those that fancy staying in the car, you’re in luck, as scenic drives and West Cork go hand in hand

ring of beara
Photo by LouieLea/shutterstock.com

14. Scenic drives… and bendy beautiful roads

healy pass cork
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

15. Fancy doing something really unique? Then take a spin in Ireland’s only cable car

Dursey Island Cable Car
Photo by Babetts Bildergalerie (Shutterstock)

16. And then spend some time exploring Dursey Island

duress island cork
Photo by Hillwalk Tours

17. Fond of a festival?

wet cork festival
Photo via West Cork Music

From food and music to literature and more, West Cork plays host to an abundance of festivals throughout the year.

18. How about a very unique experience?

bull rock island cork
Photo on the right: Deirdre Fitzgerald. Left: J.A. Ross (shutterstock)

Take a spin out to the often-missed Bull Island (more info on the island and how to get there here!)

19. Or hit the water and head off in search of whales and dolphins

whale watching west cork
Photo via the Irish Air Corps

Planning a trip to West Cork?

Here’s a handy guide to the best things to do in West Cork that you can steal.

Have you visited the area before? Let me know what you’d recommend doing in the comments below!

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!


  1. Mixed head, Ballydehob, skull, crosshaven, heir island, sherkin island, Bantry, clonakilty, rosscarbery


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