The Rebel County covers a lot of ground, taking up nearly a corner of Irish coastline and stretching from the Atlantic to the tip of the Irish Midlands
Little surprise, so, that this county has a truly inspiring variety of walks. Cork residents are rightfully proud of their county’s beauty and nature. So, we put together a list of some of the very best walks in Cork, some of which were suggested by OSI fans who have travelled these trails.
Thank you to everyone who took part in our Facebook discussion (there’s a link at the end of the article).
Let’s start on the coast…
The Ballycotton Cliff Walk
A good chunk of Cork benefits from glorious ocean views, especially if you happen to be elevated. The Ballycotton Cliff Walk offers a stunning Atlantic vista on one side, and lush green fields on the other.
Overlooking Ballycotton Harbour, this walk offers fresh sea air, dramatic cliff views and wonderful birdwatching: Skylarks, short-eared owls, waders, ducks and even falcons can be seen. And some lucky hikers have spied dolphins on those ocean waters.
This walk is about 8 kilometres long, so would take you about two hours or so. Don’t be put off by the altitude: This is a reasonably easy journey, on flat ground.
The Mount Hillary Loop, Banteer
This family-friendly walk through tracks, trails and greenery brings you to a 290-metre summit. From there, you will behold some of the best views that Cork has to offer (which is saying something): From the Derrynasaggart Mountains to the Valley of Duhallow via Galtee, this is a breath-taking vista of greens, untamed woodlands and beautiful Cork farmlands.
Kinsale to Charles Fort
Not only is this a lovely coastal stroll, but the Kinsale to Charles Fort walk also has attractions at either end of the journey: Kinsale is a popular spot for visitors, with a of wealth water-sport, shopping and dining options. And Charles Fort is a fascinating 17th Century sea-facing fort. (We talked about it in our ghost stories blog last year.)
In between these two sites is a pleasant, picturesque 5.5kilometre walk with remarkable coastline views. The waters and foliage deliver glorious colours that change according to the time of the year (or day!) you visit.
The Castle Walk, Kilbrittain Trails
Here’s one that combines historical interest with natural splendour. There are a few options when it comes to Kilbrittain Trails, but the Castle Walk is especially popular to its accessibility and variety.
Along this light, 3.7kilometre walk you’ll see woods, water (both fresh and sea), the park and the majestic local castle. Kilbrittain trails also includes some more taxing journeys, and a variety of views – from sandy beaches to rolling hills.
Hungry Hill, The Beara Peninsula
A whole different experience from the gentle Castle Walk, Hungry Hill is a 625metre spot in the Caha Mountains. Hungry Hill offers epic views, whether you’re standing at its summit or approaching its massive east face.
The Hill itself is a combination of green grass, glacier-scoured rock and even small segments of bog. Once you get to the top, there’s a stunning vista of Glenmore Valley and Glenmore Lake.
It stands on the border of Cork and Kerry, but Cork locals can be proud to say that the summit is Cork-side! With various routes to the top, it can be easy to get lost on Hungry Hill. So, if possible, try to pick a clear day to visit.
Crosshaven Railway Walk, Carrigaline
There’s something magical about walking along old train tracks – a route that was conquered by man, and then surrendered to nature after the route closed. In the case of Crosshaven, the last train travelled here in 1932 and, since the late 1990s it’s become a popular walking spot.
This walk changes with the tides, being an estuary in Cork Harbour. Most prefer to walk at high tide, to see the beautiful reflection of trees and sky on the water. Bird-watchers, however, prefer when the tide is low, the view is muddier, and local birds appear – hunting for worms in the fresh mud.
Whichever time of the day you choose, you’ll see rocky roads, Fort Camden and the forest of yacht masts at Cork Harbour.
Here are the Discovery series Maps you will need for the walks covered in this post with links to buy from our Online Shop.
Many of these walks were recommended by you, our readers, who suggested these trails (and others we didn’t have room for) on our Facebook page. So, thank you for your help in this article. Your passion and knowledge help make OSI a success. You can see the full discussion here.
And remember, all of these locations can be handily found in the OSI Discovery Maps listed above, which will always keep you on the right track.
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