If you are looking for the ultimate private driver tour of Cork, VIP Chauffeur has over 30 years experience of chauffeur tours around the county of Cork, Ireland.
The ‘real’ capital of Ireland, Cork offers some unforgettable experiences and unmissable stops along your journey around Ireland.
Cork city itself is one of the most charming cities where the local people greet everyone with a great humour and a warm friendliness. The city is a food haven, boasting some amazing restaurants, relaxing cafes and of course excellent local produce. This is most apparent in the famous English market, an arcade of food stalls located in the heart of the city centre. The busy atmosphere coupled with the abundance of fresh aromas of the market make this a must-see during your visit to Cork.
Located just a few minutes outside the city, Blarney Castle and Gardens are a wonderful addition to your itinerary. The ruins of Blarney Castle date back to the 15th century which replaced the original 11th century building which was destroyed by fire. You can still visit some rooms such as the Great Hall and climb to the top turret to see the spectacular views of the surrounding gardens. It’s at this point where, if you’re up for it, you can kiss the famous Blarney stone and see for yourself if it lives up to the legend! The gardens themselves are worth the visit, with walkways through the woodland, well-kept flowerbeds and the lake. The Poison Garden is definitely one to keep your eye out for, where you’ll see plants you may recognise from the Harry Potter series.
On the way back from the castle grounds, stop off for some retail therapy at the Blarney Woolen Mills store. From elegant crystal pieces, traditional Aran sweaters and cardigans, Celtic jewellery and gifts, it’s the ideal place to pick up some souvenirs to take home with you to family and friends. The cafe next door is a great spot to enjoy a real cup of Irish tea and home baked scone after your day of exploring.
To the east of Cork city, the town of Midleton is home to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery. This is where all Jameson whiskeys are now produced, since opening here in 1975. Take a tour of the distillery and see how whiskey is made from grain to glass and of course, enjoy a premium whiskey tasting at the end. Just outside the town, you can visit Ballymaloe House, opened as a restaurant and later a hotel by Myrtle and Ivan Allen. The Ballymaloe House restaurant has gained international recognition as a forerunner in modern Irish cuisine and has earned many accolades since opening in 1964. You really can’t find a better place to sample the very best in Irish food. They also offer cookery demonstrations to inspire your own culinary skills.
Just south of here you’ll find Shanagarry potters, home to the world renowned Stephen Pearse pottery range of earthenware. The clay used is dug in the nearby banks of the Blackwater river. Each piece of pottery employs traditional techniques and 18 hand processes before they’re finished. These are available to purchase in the craft shop located here.
A trip to Cork wouldn’t be complete without taking in the rugged coastline of the county. Kinsale town is one of Ireland’s most picturesque towns on the gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way. Colourful shop fronts and winding streets offer the perfect place to explore and discover. Named Ireland’s gourmet capital, look no further for a foodie destination with countless restaurants, pubs and cafes offering the best the west has to offer. Take a stroll along the waterfront to see the yachts or why not visit the Old Head of Kinsale Golf Links to take in 18 holes with spectacular views including the traditional lighthouse located on the course.
Another must-see town along the coast is Cobh. The final departure point of the Titanic, the town is steeped in history. Visit the heritage centre at the Victorian era railway station to learn about the emigration that Cobh saw down through the ages. Just a quick boat tour from the town is Spike Island, an award-winning tourist destination. This island was host to a monastery, a fortress and a prison at different stages during its 1300 year long history and is well worth the journey.
Following the coastline west, you’ll discover some unforgettable views. Glengarriff is a scenic village located in the heart of Bantry Bay along the Beara Peninsula. Just minutes outside of the village is the stunning Garnish Island. World famous for its beautiful gardens and walkways, it’s an unforgettable stop on your journey along the south coast of Ireland.
On your drive through the West Cork landscape, one stand out highlight has to be The Healy Pass. 12 kilometres of winding road through outcrops of rock on the Caha mountain range, this route is dotted by lakes and sheep farms. One of the more overlooked driving ways, this one is not to be underestimated for its harsh beauty and incredible views.
The picturesque Gougane Barra settlement is another highlight on your tour of West Cork. The current settlement dates back to 1700 but according to local folklore, the patron saint of Cork, St Finbar, built his monastery here in the 6th century. The amazing scenery of the hills and forest park surrounding it make it a popular destination for visitors to Cork.
Just south of here is the Sheep’s Head Way, an alternative to the popular Beara Way. This peaceful and unspoiled peninsula offers breathtaking views of the rocky coastline offered on both sides of the narrow headland. The area is scattered with welcoming guesthouses and friendly local pubs where you can enjoy an authentic Irish experience of a pint with the locals. The walkway has won awards nationally for the views it offers so it’s definitely one not to be missed.
To complete your tour of Cork, the best finishing point is the most southwesterly tip of the country, Mizen Head. The harsh rocky coastline, carved by the Atlantic Ocean, is a spectacular sight at any time of year. The headland is home to a vast array of birdlife and wildflowers making it particularly picturesque. Fastnet Rock, just 4.5 miles southwest of Mizen Head, is often called Ireland’s Teardrop. This would have been the last land mass seen by emigrants on their way to America down through the centuries.
To start planning your private driver, chauffeur tour of Cork, contact Tom from VIP Chauffeur today. Let’s get started on planning your perfect, tailor made trip around Ireland.