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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Ireland > Cork

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Travel to Cork

Flying to Cork

Airlines offering flights to Cork from the UK include Aer Lingus and Ryanair. There are no direct flights from the USA, but plenty of connections through mainland Europe. Flight prices remain pretty consistent year-round, but try to book in advance during busy periods and holidays such as Christmas.

Flight times

From London - 1 hour 25 minutes; New York - 10 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles  - 13 hours 15 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 9 hours 35 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 28 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

The roads in Ireland have greatly improved in recent years, especially the motorways. Twisting country lanes can still be hazardous and slow moving thanks to farm traffic and animals on the road.

Traffic drives on the left in Ireland and signposts are usually bilingual. On motorways a speed limit of 120kph (74mph) applies, while on national roads and dual carriageways, the speed limit is 100kpm (62mph), dropping to 50kph (31mph) in towns and cities.

Those driving must be at least 17 years old and hold a valid national driving licence. A Green Card and Motor Insurance certificate are recommended too, but drivers do not need an International Driving Permit.

A country identification sticker is compulsory, as are seat belts. The Automobile Association of Ireland (tel: +353 1 617 9104; www.theaa.ie) provides information on reciprocal agreements with other motoring associations.

Emergency breakdown services

AA Ireland (+353 1 617 9560).

Routes

The main routes into Cork are the M8, which works its way southwest from the M7 out of Dublin, and the N20, which runs into the city from Limerick’s M20. Killarney is connected to Cork via the N22, while the Wild Atlantic Way is the scenic option from Kerry to Cork, affording great views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Coaches

The main coach operator to and from Cork is Bus Éireann (tel: +353 21 450 8188; www.buseireann.ie), which operates out of the bus station at Parnell Place. It runs frequent, direct coach services between most of the major towns and cities in the Republic of Ireland, including Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford. Routes to Belfast require a change at Dublin Airport.

Time to city

From Dublin - 2 hour 45 minutes; Galway - 2 hours 40 minutes; Limerick - 1 hour 30 minutes; Waterford - 1 hour 50 minutes; Cóbh - 30 minutes; Belfast  - 4 hours 15 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Train services to Cork are regular and reliable.

Kent Station (tel: +353 21 450 6766), Cork's main railway station at Lower Glanmire Road, is 10 minutes from the city centre. The station has free Wi-Fi.

Operators

Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) (tel: 1850 366 222, in Ireland only or +353 1 836 6222; www.irishrail.ie) is the main rail operator in Ireland. From Cork, it runs services to most of the country, including Kerry, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford as well as direct intercity rail services to Heuston Station in Dublin and commuter services to the town of Cóbh by Cork harbour.

Journey times

From Dublin - 2 hour 30 minutes; Galway - 4 hours 30 minutes (including change); Limerick - 1 hour 30 minutes (including change); Waterford - 3 hours (including change); Cóbh - 25 minutes.

Transfer

The easiest way to get to the city centre is by taxi and there is a taxi rank just outside Kent Station. Alternatively, buses 226 and 226A, operated by Bus Éireann, take around 10 minutes from the station to the city.

Travel by boat

The main port at Cork is the Ringaskiddy ferryport, 22km (13.5 miles) southeast of the city. 

There is also a dedicated cruise berth in Cóbh, 23km (14 miles) southeast of the city.

Ferry operators

Brittany Ferries (tel: +353 21 427 7801; www.brittanyferries.ie) operates an overnight ferry once a week (April to October) each way between the ferryport at Cork (Ringaskiddy) and the port of Roscoff in Brittany, France. Ferries from Cork to Roscoff depart on Saturdays, while return sailings from Roscoff to Cork run on Fridays. The average crossing time is 14 hours.

Transfer

The best way to get to Cork city centre from Ringaskiddy is via the bus service, which meets arriving ships. If travelling by car, take the N28 road towards Cork. The journey should take approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Trains run every half an hour from Cóbh to Kent Station in Cork, taking just under 25 minutes. If travelling by car, take the R624 north and join the N25 westbound, which takes you straight to the city in around half an hour.

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Featured Hotels

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Vienna Woods Hotel

If you're after the charm of countryside living, you'll find it behind the yolk-coloured walls of Vienna Woods Hotel. Surrounded by some 9 hectares (22 acres) of woodland, this 18th century rural retreat is a charismatic and comfortable mid-range choice that mixes vintage furniture with modern facilities. There's free Wi-Fi, beds to lose weekends in and an onsite restaurant that does hearty Emerald Isle grub .

Hotel Isaacs

Most people come to Hotel Isaacs for its infamous Greenes restaurant, which serves up fine Irish dining and excellent wines on a charming little patio. Its rooms don't quite compete with the foodie flamboyance downstairs, but they're clean, spacious and practical, with a price tag that won't melt the credit card. Pick from 47 rooms, which come with en-suite bathrooms, complementary Wi-Fi, cable TV and one of the best locations in the city.

Crawford House

Just a 10 minute walk from the city centre, this smart, modern guesthouse is excellent value for money. Amalgamating three traditional houses, all rooms come with its king-size beds, huge baths and excellent traditional Irish breakfasts, served up in the conservatory. The staff here are lovely too. The quieter rooms are found at the back of the hotel.

Fota Island Hotel

It may be a little bit out of town, but it would be hard for you to swing a golf club anywhere near this 5-star retreat if it were any closer to Cork. The greens on its Championship-standard courses are as fine as the sheets in its ample, luxurious rooms. It has a gym, tennis courts and yoga, if you want to keep fit, plus a fine dining restaurant, complete with terrace, if you don't. Stylish, sophisticated and truly welcoming, Fota Island Hotel is worth blowing the budget.

Castlemartyr Resort

It may be 30 minutes out of Cork, but if you book a room at Castlemartyr Resort, you couldn't have truly envisioned leaving its grounds. This vast country manor dates back from the 17th-century and has the formal gardens to prove it. They, though, don't quite do its elegance justice. Its grace is admired from up close: it's found in the ruins of its 800-year-old castle, in the soothing splendours of its spa, around the 18 holes of its challenging golf course and in the unforgettable dining experience of its Bell Tower restaurant. Rooms, as you may have guessed, are worthy of the most magnanimous guest too.

Clarion Hotel Cork

Down on the promenade, next to the River Lee, the Clarion Hotel Cork is a stylish accommodation choice that isn't shy of stepping into world of avant-garde design. Its sleek rooms are generous and ultramodern, with clean lines and munificent king-size beds, while its fitness centre (including swimming pool and spa) squeezes in everything from aerobics to yoga. Step into its imaginative atrium though, and it's a world of fake grass, flaky croissants, fluffy sofas and strange, egg-shaped seating coves.