County Cork (Irish: Contae Chorcaí), in Southwest Ireland is the largest county in the Republic of Ireland and also the location of the country’s second largest city. This means that its inhabitants have a reasonable sense of their status. It also has a very long coastline and many items of interest for the visitor.
- North Cork is a renowned destination for anglers, with several long rivers – notably the Blackwater, providing plentiful fish in a beautiful setting. This part of the county is the least touristed.
- East Cork is known for the quality of its agricultural produce, the cookery school at Ballymaloe near Cloyne (the Enlightenment philosopher Bishop Berkeley lived in Cloyne) and the pretty seaside village of Ballycotton.
- West Cork is more touristed, and it’s easy to understand why – the southernmost coast of Ireland stretches for over 100 km from Cork Harbour through verdant farmland, to three peninsulas jutting out into the Atlantic. It may not quite have some of the drama of Kerry or Donegal, but the little villages and coves and rocky islands are surely some of the prettiest places in Ireland, or anywhere else. When the weather is bad it can be spectacular, or you can retire to the local pub for a Murphy’s or a Guinness. When the weather is good, there are few better places to be. This is one of the most scenic parts of the country with a reputation as a quirky and relaxing area. West Cork extends along the coast through a variety of small towns and villages to the wild and rugged Beara peninsula, finally terminating in a barely inhabited island reached by a cable-car. There are many opportunites for pursuing of watersports, hill-walking and general relaxation. It is an area of small towns, a long and varied coastline, with drowned river valleys, long peninsulas, and offshore islands and an area renowned for its mild climate and exotic and luxuriant vegetation. As you travel west from Cork City the landscape gradually becomes more dramatic. It has become a popular area for holiday and retirement homes and amongst people seeking to live alternative lifestyles but this has been a slow development and the resulting houses are scattered and very individual.
- 1 Cork (Corcaigh, “marsh”) – southern transport hub and commercial, administrative and cultural centre for the county and the South of Ireland