Car hire Cork

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Car hire in Cork

Hiring a car in Cork

Ask any local and they’ll tell you that [Cork}( is the true capital of Ireland. The city manages to perfectly balance tradition with style and flair, offering visitors a completely unique experience.

Cork is an enchanting city, with the centre located on an island in the River Lee, making it seem like something out of a fairytale. You can wander through the meandering 17th-century alleys or use your hire car to see what else the south side of the ‘Emerald Isle’ has to offer.

Whether you choose to spend your time steeped in Cork’s history or chatting with friendly locals in the lively pubs, you are sure to have a fantastic time.

What you need to know

Booking a hire car for you trip to Cork is pretty simple, as many of the top rental companies are on hand to provide you with a vehicle, including Thrifty, Hertz, Alamo and Avis. By using our booking tool you can make sure you find the best deal to suit your budget, as you can narrow your search with several different filters. When you book through us, our prices are clear and there are absolutely no hidden costs.

Where to pick up your car

Where you collect your car depends on your travel plans and what will be the most convenient location for you. You can pick up the vehicle at Cork Airport (ORK), if you choose to fly. Once you’ve picked up your luggage, head to the Arrivals Hall and you’ll see the car rental desks. In total, there are around six companies that operate in the airport. Booking in advance means that you’ll just need to sign a bit of paperwork and then you can be off.

You can also collect your car from Kent Train Station, on Lower Glanmire Road, which could be more convenient for you if you’re travelling to Cork from elsewhere in Ireland. You just need to figure out what the best option for you is and see which firm comes back with the most competitive price - something we can do for you!

Best Car Hire Companies Cork


Car Hire Reviews Cork

  • “The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
    Diane T

Where to go

There is so much to see and do in Cork and once you’ve picked up your car, the city is open to you. It’s worth checking out if there are any festivals on before you travel, as you could base your trip around these. In the summer, you can attend the Puck Festival and see a goat crowned king, complete with coronation ceremony and celebrations. As autumn starts you may be lucky enough to be visiting at the time of the All-Ireland Craft Beerfest, which features over 20 independent Irish breweries and cider producers.

You can also take a guided tour of the city, learning about its rich history along the way, or you can soak up the city’s culture in one its fascinating galleries. If you’re looking to rest your travel-weary body, you can duck into one of Cork’s warm and friendly pubs, eat some delicious home-cooked food and listen to some traditional Irish music.

Nearby Cork

A 20 minute drive from the city centre will take you to the historic Blarney Castle, famous for its stone that thousands of people every year come to kiss. If the legend is to be believed, planting your lips on this stone will give you the ‘gift of the gab’, making you a smooth talker. To reach the stone, you have to find your courage and climb the towering battlements. Even if you don't fancy reaching those heights, you can have a great day out. You can stroll through the Blarney Castle Gardens and Rock Close, check out the stables or enjoy a slice of cake in the cafe.

If you’re looking for something to keep the whole family entertained, you could drive to the Fota Wildlife Park, which is just half-an-hour away from Cork city centre. Here you can see some of the world’s most endangered and exotic creatures, including the Arabian Oryx, Golden Lion Tamarin and Californian Condor. There are education programmes, child-friendly activities and plenty places to eat and relax.

Longer drives

With luscious green countryside, majestic mountains and stunning coastlines, Ireland provides visitors with the perfect landscape for a road trip. The West Cork Looped Drive is something that can’t be missed if you’re staying in the city. It starts in Kinsale and takes you through charming villages and towns before looping back to the start. In total, the drive is 264 kilometres, but you can make it less if you’d prefer a shorter journey.

Along the way you’ll see dramatic coastal scenery, charming towns and lively villages. The first notable stop is the Old Head of Kinsale, which is a signature point on the Wild Atlantic Way - a driving circuit that cover 2,500 kilometres of Ireland’s western counties. Next, you can see the ruined Franciscan Abbey in Timoleague, before following the coast to Clonakilty and then Rosscarbery.

You can make time to stop at the harbour town of Schull and Mizen Head, another Wild Atlantic Way signature point. Here you can explore the Signal Station via a stunning arched footbridge that links the headland to the mainland. There are so many other beautiful villages and attractions dotted along the West Cork Looped Drive, it really is the best way to experience this part of Ireland.

Top attractions in Cork

It’s a hard task to whittle down the attractions and sights Cork has to offer, but here are three that shouldn’t be missed.

The English Market

While it might seem odd to suggest visiting the English Market while in Ireland, it’s well worth a look. The oldest market of its kind in Europe, every stall and shelf is full of Irish and artisan produce that looks as good as it tastes. Even members of the British monarchy have headed to the market in the past, so it has the royal seal of approval.

Shandon Bells

For a completely unique experience, you should make time to visit St Anne’s Church where you can ring the world-famous Shandon Bells. Once you climb the 132 steps to the first floor of the church, which was built in 1722, you can see panoramic views of Cork city.

Crawford Gallery

This gallery, which is located just off Patrick Street, is dedicated to the contemporary and historic visual arts. More than 2,500 works are housed here, ranging from 18th-century paintings and sculptures to modern video installations. The Belvedere Torso, The Laocoon and The Disc Thrower are just a sample of the amazing pieces of art that are on display at the gallery.