1. Fota Wildlife Tiger Forrest
A famous Cork attraction, Fota Wildlife Park is a wonderful experience for kids as well as adults. With free roaming animals, an educated staff, and worthy cause, you’ll want to leave yourself ample time to explore. Having only opened the June Bank Holiday weekend, tigers now join the animal ranks featuring the likes of cheetahs, giraffes, and a variety of monkeys. The Tiger Forrest is the first part of the planned 27 acre Asian Sanctuary. While the vast size of it will allow for 10 tigers, it is currently home to a 2 year old male Denar and 2 year old female Dourga, both of the highly endangered Sumatran Tiger species. According to the Irish Examiner, the area was “designed around an existing forest with a lime kiln at the centre, it has a tunnel and a raised walkway which will … allow visitors to walk up, around, and through the enclosure to experience the tigers close-up and below.” Check it out for a truly one of a kind experience!
2. Fitzgerald Park
Located on the banks of the River Lee, Fitzgerald Park has long been a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. With beautiful gardens, winding paths, musical fountain, and views of the river, it has a lot to offer. Whether you want to go for a stroll, relax over a picnic, or take in the history of the Cork Museum, it’s a fabulous haven in the heart of Cork City. And with its summer redevelopment project completed, it now has even more to offer. The re-opening brought with it an award-winning sky garden pod, a unique bandstand and sunken lawn, the quirky Mardyke Gardens, and even an upgraded cafe and seating area. See what others are saying about it because trust me, you don’t want to leave without stopping by!
3. Spike Island
Previously home to a defensive fort and later a prison, Spike Island has converted over to a tourist destination in the last few years. And set in the middle of Cork Harbour, the views are spectacular, particularly looking back over the town of Cobh, the last port of call of the Titanic. You can now take a ferry over and enjoy the gorgeous views of the harbour en route. Once there, consider walking the 1.6KM Glascis Walkway, outlining the perimeter of Fort Mitchell. History buff? Guided tours are also available on the island, and you can visit archaeologists studying different areas of the former prison. Looking for a bit more of an outdoor adventure, check out Spike Island Adventure, which offer various activities on the island. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates as Fáilte Ireland has sanctioned funding of €2.5m for the Spike Island tourism project. They’re looking at developing a 100 acre national park on the water, with the 40 acre Mitchell Fort at its centre!
4. Wild Atlantic WaySearching for a few other ideas on top places to visit during your Cork getaway? While not new, these romantic options, family friendly activities, and outdoor adventures are still goodies.
Being touted as the world’s newest coastal touring route, it’s easier than ever to experience the rugged beauty of Ireland’s west coast. The 2500KM of coastal road have been signposted with must-see designated discovery points along the Atlantic coast. And 350KM of that is right here in Cork! Some highlights include Sheep’s Head with fabulous walks and loops, the bridge walk to Mizen lighthouse, and the West Cork islands (Sherkin for beaches, Garnish for gardens). Hop in and out on the ones you’re most interested in or settle in for the long haul. Either way, the Wild Atlantic Way is not to be missed during your next holiday!