County Cork

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County Cork Driving Routes

These driving routes in County Cork take you along the coast of the Wild Atlantic Way in this beautiful county at the South West tip of Ireland. The routes pass through the Beara, Sheep’s Head and Mizen Head peninsulas and pass several iconic lighthouses along the way.

Visit the museum celebrating the life of the great Michael Collins in Clonakilty, or the memorial for the people that lost their lives on the Lusitania in 1915, at the Old Head of Kinsale.

Take a boat trip to sea to observe the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, or do some deep sea fishing. Or visit one of the countless Islands along the coast, some inhabited and some only sparsely, for some real R&R, and a break from the hustle and bustle of normal life.

Or just enjoy some of the touristy spots along the way. Take a ride on the Dursey Island cable car, the only cable car over the ocean in Europe. Relax on some of the sheltered sandy beaches, or do some surfing.

Tragumna Beach
Tragumna Beach

Or just get to know the friendly Irish locals and enjoy the craic and a pint of Guinness in some of the wonderful pubs along the way.

Wild Atlantic Way driving Routes in County Cork

For County Cork, I have created three routes, which can be travelled North or South, depending on your preference. I travelled North to South along these routes, but you can choose your own direction.

Click on the blue link to go to the post describing the route and more photos and videos.

Route 1. Kenmare to Glengarriff Harbour

Approx. 137 kms distance, 2 hrs 51 minutes driving time

This route from Kenmare to Glengarriff starts in Kenmare in County Kerry and takes you into the beautiful County Cork.

The route follows the Wild Atlantic Way around the Beara Peninsula, passing the WAW Signature Point of Dursey Island on the way.

dursey island cable car

Take a cable car journey out to Dursey Island on the only cable car crossing the sea in Europe. Stay on Bere Island or visit Garinish Island and explore the gardens.

Or take a ferry out from the Blue Pool or Glengarriff harbour and see the seals.

blue pool pier
The Blue Pool

The Beara Way must be one of the most spectacular roads to ride along the Wild Atlantic Way, especially if you are on a bike.

beara way
Part of the Beara way

Or you can take a few detours off the WAW and do some scenic drives like the Healy Pass, Priest’s Leap or pop in to visit Gougan Barra.

Follow the relevant blog post to see pictures and videos along the way.

gougane Barra
The oratory at Gougane Barra

Route 2. Glengarriff to Baltimore

Approx. 170 kms distance, 3 hrs 17 minutes driving time

This Wild Atlantic Way driving route from Glengarriff to Baltimore takes you along the coast of two peninsulas: Sheep’s Head Peninsula and Mizen Head Peninsula.

Mizen Head
Mizen Head

The route passes through the town of Bantry and takes you to the most southerly point of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Signature Point of Mizen Head.


Start by visiting Garinish Island and the Blue Pool or walk the Sheep’s Head walking trail. Or visit some islands off this coast in the Carbery’s Hundred Isles, like Sherkin Island or Cape Clear Island.

blue pool

Hike to see the iconic Dunlough Castle or take a boat trip out to the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse.

fastnet lighthouse
The Fastnet Lighthouse
Baltimore Beacon
The Baltimore Beacon

There is plenty to see and visit along this route, so plan your trip wisely.

Route 3. Baltimore to Kinsale

Approx. 131 kms distance, 2 hrs 56 minutes driving time

This final route along the Wild Atlantic Way travels from Baltimore to Kinsale, or Kinsale to Baltimore, depending on your direction of travel.

The route passes through Clonakilty, where you can visit the Michael Collins house which is well worth a visit.

Michael Collins statue

The journey also takes you through Timoleague, the site of an ancient Franciscan Abbey dating back to the 13th century.

Timoleague Abbey
Timoleague Abbey

There is one Wild Atlantic Way Signature point along the route, the Old Head of Kinsale, which has a memorial to the RMS Lusitania that was sunk off this coastline. There is now a wonderful golf course at the Old Head itself which restricts access to the Lighthouse.

Old Head of Kinsale
Lusitania Memorial

The route has some spectacular scenery and the destination of Kinsale is a great place to finish your journey and have a Guinness overlooking the harbour.

start of waw


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Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Gav

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