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The best outdoor experiences in Cork to try while social distancing
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Social distancing has become the new norm and the advantage of the great outdoors is that you can enjoy unforgettable experiences without worrying about your proximity to others. One county that has no shortage of amazing outdoor attractions is Cork.

If you’re ready for a new adventure, here are some of our top recommendations to try in the Rebel County.

1 Take the Ballycotton Cliff Walk
Soak up the stunning coastal views on the Ballycotton Cliff Walk.

A walk along this acclaimed 9km cliff walk from Ballycotton Village to Ballyandreen is a chance to soak up the stunning coastal vistas that are plentiful in Cork. There are lots of seated viewpoints where you can enjoy beautiful views of local landmarks like Ballytransna Beach or Ballycotton Lighthouse.

2Walk the Carrigaline to Crosshaven trail on the old railway line
Walk the scenic route from Carrigaline to Crosshaven.

The old Carrigaline to Crosshaven railway line has been reinvented as a family-friendly, scenic walking route that hugs the coastline of one of Cork’s prettiest inlets. The views are arguably better at high tide but it becomes a bird watcher’s paradise at low tide.

3Visit Nohoval Cove outside Kinsale

As you approach this little-known gem, you’ll be blown away by the sight of the turquoise waters, giant sea stacks and soaring cliffs at Nohoval Cove that make it such an eye-catching destination. Whether viewed from the clifftops or the rocky beach below, this secluded cove is a little piece of heaven and one of Cork’s best-kept secrets.

4Step into the Drombeg Stone Circle

Also known as the Druid’s Altar, Drombeg Stone Circle outside Glandore is arguably the most famous one in Ireland. Our top tip is to visit this mystical site early in the morning if you want to have it all to yourself. Don’t forget to check out the nearby fulacht fia, a communal cooking pit that lies besides the remains of two stone huts.

5Discover Castletownshend Village
Check out the stunning views at Castletownshend Harbour.

This picture-postcard village overlooks the water and it’s an ideal place to grab a coffee and take a stroll. The town is built around a steep hill lined by quaint 18th century houses and leads down to Castletownshend. The castle itself is certainly impressive but so is the view of the harbour when you get to the bottom.

6Go through the tunnel to get to Christ Church, Kilfaughnabeg

The famous Christ Church in Glandore is perched on a rocky outcrop on the edge of the water so the only way to reach it is to go through a tunnel that’s been carved out of a solid rockface. Walking through this remarkable tunnel is sure to bring a smile to your face, even before you get to this pretty church and the view on the other side.

7Hike along the Warren Beach cliff walk, Rosscarbery

From rocky headlands to sandy dunes, this 6km walk is a glorious trek through a landscape that’s all about sand, sea and green hillsides. You can take in views of Galley Head, the Black Islands and the Stags off Toe Head as you walk from Warren Beach to Owenahincha Beach.

8Take a walk on Silver Strand, Sherkin Island

There are hidden beaches and then there’s Silver Strand on Sherkin Island, which is a 10-minute ferry ride from Baltimore. This huge, white sand beach looks like something you’d find on an exotic holiday brochure. It’s the perfect place to kick off your shoes, go for a walk and feel the sand between your toes.

9Look out over Bantry Bay from Whiddy Island

Another off-shore gem in these parts is Whiddy Island, an oasis of tranquillity with some incredible views over Bantry Bay from the island. Pack a picnic, get the short ferry from Bantry Town and prepare to enjoy one of the most scenic meals you’ve ever had.

11Take a drive on Priest's Leap scenic mountain pass 

One of the best drives in the country, Priest's Leap is a 40km loop that takes you from Bonane in Co Kerry to Coomhola in Co Cork. You’ll pass through steep, winding mountain roads on a route that really showcases the untamed beauty of this part of the world. Make sure to stop for a while at the viewing points along the way with your camera in hand and savour those breathtaking views.

12Have a picnic at Gougane Barra
Discover the rocky mountains and forested valleys of Gougane Barra Forest Park.

Even by West Cork standards, the rocky mountains and forested valleys of Gougane Barra Forest Park are seriously impressive. The park has some of the county’s best hiking routes and scenery that will blow you away. Depending on the route that you choose, you can also get a fantastic view of St Finbarr’s Oratory, which peeks out of the tree-covered island on the lake below.   

Cork is full of memorable places so choose an activity and put on your walking shoes. Take a look at our Things to Do page for more inspiration on outdoor fun across Ireland and get planning your next trip.

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