Official tourism website for Cork, Ireland

Family Fun on a Journey of Discovery

West Cork’s spectacular landscape holds many secret places, just ready to explore with the family. From fairy trails to dolphin watching, from boat trips to beach walks, there’s fun for all the family and so many things to do in West Cork.

Day 1


Kinsale is the start of the Wild Atlantic Way going from south to north. Meet your guide at the Kinsale Tourist Office for Kinsale Heritage Walks, which provide a unique insight into the history and heritage of Kinsale, a town that mirrors the history of Ireland. It is an illustrated town walk, with a selection of unique photographs and maps which bring the past to life for the visitors. 


On Wednesdays..

Or if you’re visiting on a Wednesday, pack a picnic at the Kinsale Farmers market and take it with you on the Kinsale Harbour Cruise. The boat trip is only an hour long so ideal for smaller children who can keep an eye out for sea life and point out all the places they have visited as they sail past.

Allow 1 hour for either experience


Charles Fort

Charles Fort is a short walk or an even shorter drive from Kinsale. Even small children should be up for the short Scilly Walk from Kinsale Harbour along the coast to Summercove and on to the impressive Charles Fort with incredible sea views towards the Old Head of Kinsale. It’s the finest surviving example of a ‘star fort’ in Ireland so there’s loads to explore here and you won’t want to miss the Family Trail around the fort or the seasonal themed treasure trails.

Allow 1.5 hours for this experience


The Old Head

As you leave Kinsale for Clonakilty make sure to travel on the coast road towards the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse – a Signature Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way. Here you’ll find the Lusitania Museum and Old Head Signal Tower which has a magnificent view of this iconic headland and the world class Old Head Golf Links located there. Inside you can learn all about the tragedy of RMS Lusitania and kids will enjoy seeing the old lighthouse machine cranked into action.

Allow 1 hour for this experience


Surfs Up

Head west for about 5 minutes from the Old Head of Kinsale and you’ll find two gorgeous beaches Garrylucas and Garretstown where it is well worth stopping for a picnic lunch ready to enjoy the sea air. Or if you prefer a woodland walk to a seaside stroll, head to nearby Ballinspittle Woods and pick one of the 3 walks to explore the magnificent wooded surrounds.

Allow 1 hour for this experience



If you have more time on your way to Clonakilty there are many detours to take, where you will see and experience some of West Cork’s hidden gems. One of these, Kilbrittain village is about 20 minutes drive from Kinsale. Here you’ll find Kilbrittain Woods with fabulous walks including a fairy trail for the little ones. 

Further on you’ll find Timoleague which gets its name and character from the historic Timoleague Abbey founded in 1240 AD which is well worth a visit. There’s plenty of parking here with nice river views and picnic tables if you fancy stopping for a family lunch.

Allow 1 hour for this experience


Courtmac & Clon

After which you can take the 10 minute coastal drive to Courtmacsherry, a small fishing village on the Wild Atlantic Way. Here the clean Atlantic waters warmed by the Gulf Stream add to the prolific marine life, as the village is home to Atlantic Whale and Wildlife Tours and Courtmacsherry Sea Angling one of Ireland’s premier angling centres.

Then continue onto the vibrant and colourful town of Clonakilty, shortened to ‘Clon’ by locals. It’s one of the best places in West Cork for families with beaches, an adventure centre and its famous model railway. Book into Clonakilty Park Hotel and if you fancy a freefall jump with the kids, you can try out the adventure centre on the hotel grounds. Trek through the air on high ropes, scream down the zip line and catch the view from the 65ft climbing wall as you navigate the course.


Day 2

Model Railway Village

Before setting away from ‘Clon’ visit West Cork Model Railway Village. Ireland’s only model village, it is definitely a must-see attraction. Here step back to the 1940s and explore West Cork’s towns, its people and railway in miniature, and finish off your trip with a 30-minute jaunt around Clonakilty on the Road Train.

Allow 2 hours for this experience


Beach Capital

Clonakilty is the beach capital of West Cork with 90% of the region’s beaches within 20km of the town. Why not try surfing with the Inchydoney Surf School before heading off on the coastal drive to Skibbereen featuring several points of interest including Galley Head, Castlefreke, Owenahincha and the beautiful village of Rosscarbery and its Warren Beach.


Glandore, Union Hall & Drombeg

Skibbereen can be reached in around 25 minutes directly from Clonakilty, but it is well worth stopping off in the pretty fishing villages of Glandore and Union Hall on the way, especially for the spectacular single lane bridge spanning the Glandore Estuary which links the two villages. Just before reaching Glandore make sure to stop off at the Drombeg Stone Circle which is dramatically situated on a rocky terrace with sweeping views of farmland out to the Atlantic Ocean. Drombeg is one of the finest examples of a distinctive series of stone circles to be found in Cork and Kerry.

Allow 2 hours for this drive



While exploring, food is important to refuel and there is no shortage of choice in this area, such as the CRAFT artisanal food truck or O'Callaghan-Walshe restaurant both located in Rosscarbery serving the best of local produce. Or if you prefer to put together your own picnic why not pay a visit to Field’s SuperValu in Skibbereen, a supermarket with an incredible range of local artisan foods contrasted with vast array of spices from the orient, and so much more. Fields supermarket is an experience in itself, an absolute heaven for foodies. 

Finish your day in Skibbereen, affectionately known as ‘Skibb’, it’s fair to say this town is buzzing with colourful streets and friendly locals. ‘Skibb’ is a great base to explore even further into West Cork and while you’re here you can hire some bikes for the kids at Cycle West Cork and spend your time exploring the town. 

Never miss an event or new attraction in Cork.