Cobh (for Cork) Cruises, Ireland
SHORE EXCURSIONS View all excursions
On this tour, you’ll experience Ireland’s sweeping countryside and busy city life in one hit, so you get a great overview of the nation. You’ll set off from Cobh port, before enjoying a scenic coach drive along the upper valley of the River Lee, passing sprawling green fields and dense woodland. You’ll then journey through the city of Cork – a melting pot of award-winning restaurants, glossy shopping malls and medieval ruins. Leaving the bustle of the city behind, you’ll make your way westwards to the picturesque village of Blarney. Full of green fields and little cottages, it’s one of the prettiest spots in Ireland. There’ll be a stop here, so you can call in at one of its little cafés for a drink. Then, the time is yours to spend as you fancy. So you can amble around the village’s dinky craft shops, or pay a visit to the Blarney Woollen Mill. The largest gift store in Ireland, this place stocks everything from chunky Celtic jewellery to cosy Aran knitwear.
Gorse, brambles and lots of green, green grass. It couldn’t be anywhere but the Emerald Isle. In fact, Cork is such a classic slice of Irish countryside, you half expect a leprechaun to pop out of a hedge with his pot of gold. And that’s just some of the scenery you’ll pass on your way to Kinsale. A beautiful harbour town in the south of Cork, Kinsale is also the gourmet capital of Ireland. It’s home to more than a dozen award-winning pubs and restaurants. Plus with narrow streets, overflowing window-boxes and brightly painted shop fronts, it’s got chocolate-box good looks, too. Better yet, you’ll see the wine museum in Desmond Castle. But it’s Charles Fort that deserves special mention here. This star-shaped fort sits two miles outside the town centre, guarding the harbour. You’ll have a brief photo-stop here before you head into the centre of Kinsale to explore. This isn’t your typical tourist town and it’s not full of high street favourites. Instead it’s all about dinky boutiques selling crystal, knitwear and Celtic jewellery. On the drive back to the ship, keep an eye out for Innishannon. A character-packed village pushed into the spotlight back in 1755 when the tidal wave backlash from the Lisbon earthquake wiped it out. Here you’ll enjoy the day’s final photo-opportunity on the banks of the River Bandon.
Smooth talking. Silver-tongued. A real charmer. However you phrase it, once you’ve kissed the Blarney Stone you’ll never be lost for words – or so the legend goes. Whether there’s any truth in the story remains to be seen, but British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill certainly thought so. And he’s just one name in a long list of famous faces that’ve kissed this rock. To reach the stone’s precarious perch at the top of Blarney Castle, you’ll scale a spiral staircase that’s barely wide enough for one person. And even if you don’t fancy a close encounter with the boulder, the climb is worth it just for the view. You can see right over the Blarney River and the surrounding countryside from here. Blarney Stone aside, no visit to this part of the world would be complete without stopping at the Blarney Woollen Mills. This 200-year-old mill sells distinctive green Blarney Castle jumpers they make right here on the premises. It’s also the place to come for cashmere, crystal and, of course, all things woollen. Your day rounds off with a tour of Cork city centre taking in the Gothic splendour of St Finbarr’s Cathedral. All gargoyles and birds, the carved exterior of this place is really something. You’ll also see Cork’s old courthouse, the city hall and the Bells of Shandon.