Car Rental in Cork
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Cork?
A cozy city with a proud and hospitable spirit, Cork is a great place to explore. Whether you’re looking for history, Irish culture, or a fun night out, this place has something for everyone. The freedom of your own wheels will let you go on long trips to explore the rest of southern Ireland.
One-Way Car Rentals in Cork
The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Cork and drop off in another city include:
- From Cork to Dublin - 93 offers from $25.25 per day
- From Cork to Shannon - 74 offers from $25.25 per day
- From Cork to Belfast - 58 offers from $39.51 per day
Top ways to enter Cork
- Cork Airport. Small, but growing, Cork Airport serves nearly 2.5 million travelers every year. The airport is served by 12 airlines, some of them low-cost carriers, and is located just south of the city center.
- Kerry Airport. Located in the nearby Count Kerry in Southwest Ireland, Kerry Airport is served by Aer Lingus which offers a domestic connection to the capital, Dublin. It is also served by Ryanair that has flights to and from London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Alicante, and Faro. Kerry Airport is about a 90 minute drive west of Cork.
- Shannon Airport. A cozy airport that serves both Limerick and Galway, two of the largest Irish cities, Shannon Airport offers a number of air connections. There are flights to large European capitals, resorts in Italy and Spain, and even a number of cities on the East Coast of the U.S. Shannon Airport is located less than a two hour drive north of Cork.
Cork has an oceanic climate with cool summers and mild winters, with the air temperature rarely going below 0 °C (32 °F) or above 25 °C (77 °F). The precipitation is high between October and January and evenly spread out throughout the rest of the year.
With a population of about 222,300 within the city limits and another 80 thousand inhabitants in its larger urban area, Cork is the second most populous city in the Republic of Ireland and the largest city in the Irish province of Munster
Top destinations and activities
- Elizabeth Fort. The 17th century fort was built to protect the original settlement of Cork. Nowadays it is one of the most famous landmarks of Cork, offering impressive views of the city below. If you visit it on Sunday, you’ll also have a chance to visit the Elizabeth Fort Market Festival, a joyful event with performances and local crafts and foodstuffs on sale.
- Lewis Glucksman Gallery. An art gallery of the University College Cork and a unique building, it houses three levels of display spaces. You’ll find both permanent and rotating exhibits and shows that provide a good insight of the fascinating contemporary art of Ireland.
- The Lough Park. A protected refuge since 1881, the Lough Park is one of the nicest green areas of Cork. Despite its close proximity to the city center, the area is home to many birds and animals, as well as to nice hiking paths, and picnic spots on the coast of the park’s lake.
- The Butter Museum. One of the many local oddities, this small museum explores the millennia-old past of butter making in southern Ireland. Despite being historically accurate, the museum doesn’t ignore present tendencies, either, and frequently hosts butter-making workshops within its premises. Visit its official website to learn more.
- Cork City Gaol. Often mistaken for a Gothic castle, the penitentiary is famous because on a frosty night in 1923, 42 prisoners tied clothes and sheets to snuck over the wall. They then ran away almost naked in the snow. Cork City Gaol was mainly a women's prison, used during the War of Independence. You can also visit the gloomy cells.
- Franciscan Well Brewery. Once a Franciscan monastery, famous back then because of a healing well, this place is now a popular brewery. You can choose from a range of lager, ale, stout and wheat beers. Local musicians play Irish songs to entertain the patrons. On sunny days, you can enjoy your pint in the beer garden.
- St. Anne's Church and Shandon Bells. The locals call this clock tower "the four faced liar", because each face tells a different time. Visitors can even ring the church bells by pressing a button. St. Anne's Church is very much loved by the locals. Cork's colors are in fact red and white. Like the red sandstone and white limestone used at St. Anne's.
Traffic and parking
- Driving takes place on the left side of the road in the Republic of Ireland.
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limits are 120 km/h (75 mph) for motorways, 100 km/h (62 mph) for national roads without motorway status, 80 km/h (50 mph) for local and regional roads, and 50 km/h (31 mph) for urban zones and built-up areas. Unlike in neighboring Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, the speed limits are indicated in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour.
- Most road signs are displayed in both English and Irish. However, in some Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) areas, the road signs are only in Irish. This is important to keep in mind because some Irish city names are different from their English names - for example, the Irish name of Cork is Corcaigh.
- Locals can often refer to a location in the city as “by the river.” However, that can lead to some confusion as there are two large rivers and a number of quays in Cork. Getting a vehicle with a good satellite navigation system is a good idea, both for driving in Cork and in the nearby countryside.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.02% for novice drivers. Exceeding the limit can lead to large fines, an EU-wide license ban, or even imprisonment.
- The proof of insurance and car registration needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
There are 11 toll roads in the Republic of Ireland. There are also two toll tunnels and two tolle bridges. One of the toll bridges is the Suir Bridge on the Cork-Rosslare Highway.
The payment for using any of the toll roads, bridges, or tunnels can be made with cash at the toll gate. The toll fees for some roads are payable with a credit card. You can pay online to drive the M50 road. Some rental cars are also equipped with an electronic toll tag that will make the toll payment automatically. Some car rental providers might charge an additional fee for this service. Ask your car rental provider about it in advance.
For more information about the toll roads in the Republic of Ireland and for the toll road map, visit the Republic of Ireland’s official toll road website.
Ideas for day trips
- Kinsale. Located just a half-an-hour’s drive south of Cork by car, Kinsale is the seafood capital of Southern Ireland. With a truly impressive amount of restaurants per capita, it is the best place to try many delicacies from the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Even if you don’t like seafood, visit Kinsale anyway as it’s a joy to walk along its beaches or explore its forts and castles. One of the most famous is Blarney Castle.
- Killarney National Park. One of the nicest national parks in Ireland, Killarney has everything from woodlands and hills to pristine lakes. Red deer, golden eagles, and many other types of wildlife live in the area, and you may even be lucky enough to spot some of them. The national park is about an hour’s drive west of Cork.
- West Cork. The green hills and fields of West Cork is how many tourists imagine Ireland to be like. Go on to explore its rugged peninsulas, relax on its beaches, then visit the churches and the restaurants of cozy little places like Skibbereen or Clonakilty. Bandon, perhaps West Cork’s most famous town, is just half-an-hour’s drive southwest of Cork.
- Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to name either of these two driving routes among the most scenic in all of Europe - and from Cork, you can easily reach both. The former’s distance is 179 km (119 miles) and it crisscrosses the neighboring County Kerry, while the latter is about 15 times longer and follows all of Ireland’s Atlantic coast.
- Cobh. This small village is only 22 km (13.67 miles) from Cork. About half an hour by car in normal conditions. While it is tiny, it's absolutely worth a visit. The picturesque, pastel-colored houses are popular among the instagrammers. Cobh is also famous because it's one of the towns (back then it was known as Queenstown) where the Titanic stopped during its first and last cruise. You can learn more about the Titanic and the Lusitania at Cobh Heritage Center, which also includes an interesting section about the emigration history of the area.
- Rock of Cashel. Located at 93.9 km (58.34 miles) from Cork by car. Consider about one hour to get there if there isn't too much traffic. The Rock of Cashel served as the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster. While few remnants of the early structures survive, what you can visit is still remarkable. Cormac's Chapel in fact contains the only Romanesque surviving frescoes in Ireland.
Most popular cars
The most popular rental car in Cork is the Toyota Corolla, which is closely followed by the Ford Fiesta and the Toyota Avensis. The most popular rental car types in Cork are intermediate, economy, and standard.
For more about traveling around Ireland with a rental car, check out our complete guide.
Dublin. The capital of Ireland is located 258 km (160 miles) from Cork, and you can get there by car in about 3 hours. With its museums, castles, and cathedrals, Ireland’s capital is a world-class travel destination. Unlike many other large and modern cities of Europe, it still retains much of its original character. From Cork, it can be reached by car in only three hours.
Galway. Located 204 km (126 miles) from Cork by car., Galway takes about two and a half hours to drive to. A university city, Galway is is a truly fun and vibrant Irish city. A place of countless events, festivals, and cultural performances, it has been rewarded by being named the European Capital of Culture in 2020 (a title it will share with Rijeka in Croatia). Galway is also an important hub of the Irish language, which is still spoken as a first language in many of Galway’s nearby villages. Galway is about 196 km (122 mi) from Cork and can be reached in about two and a half hours.
Waterford. Located 121 km (75 miles) from Cork by car, Waterford is a two-hour drive away, more or less. Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford is a dream for everyone who wants to learn more about the old Celtic culture and way of life. Visit its many museums, participate in local sports matches and cultural activities, or drive to explore the nearby Comeragh Mountains. Waterford is less than a two hour drive northeast of Cork.
Mizen Head. Located 124 km (77 miles) from Cork by car, it can be reached in about two hours in normal conditions. This is Ireland's most south westerly point. While technically on the Wild Atlantic Way, it represents the perfect day trip from Cork by itself, if you like driving and taking pictures. The scenic road is spectacular: you'll journey along narrow, winding roads on the Mizen Peninsula, overlooking the world famous cliff scenery.
Dingle Peninsula. Located 150 km (93 miles) from Cork, it will only take you about two hours and a half to get there. Along the way to the Dingle peninsula, you can also stop at Blarney Castle or Muckross House. Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula are popular spots in Ireland. Famous for its hardware pubs, for the gorgeous Kerry coastline and its historic remnants. Dingle peninsula is a loop trip of about 47 km (30 miles). It must be driven in a clockwise direction.
Car Rental Prices in Cork
- Station wagons - from $75 per day
- Large cars - from $38 per day
- Medium cars - from $37 per day
- Vans - from $121 per day
- Premium cars - from $213 per day
- Small cars - from $31 per day
- SUVs - from $41 per day
Try these tricks to land a great car rental deal in Cork:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Cork is the cheapest in September when renting a car is about 42% cheaper than the yearly average and a whopping 78% than renting a car in May. Come visit Southern Ireland in early autumn!
Top 18 Cities near Cork
72.8 km / 45.2 miles away
Kerry Car Rentals from $45.38 per day80.1 km / 49.8 miles away
Limerick Car Rentals from $41.65 per day91.6 km / 56.9 miles away
Tralee Car Rentals from $49.98 per day95.2 km / 59.2 miles away
Waterford Car Rentals from $41.65 per day96.2 km / 59.8 miles away
Shannon Car Rentals from $31.46 per day100.1 km / 62.2 miles away
Kilkenny Car Rentals from $41.65 per day122.3 km / 76.0 miles away
Galway Car Rentals from $41.65 per day164.9 km / 102.5 miles away
Athlone Car Rentals from $41.65 per day179.2 km / 111.3 miles away
Naas Car Rentals from $28.90 per day195.7 km / 121.6 miles away
202.8 km / 126.0 miles away
Dublin Car Rentals from $29.70 per day230.9 km / 143.5 miles away
Knock Car Rentals from $36.13 per day231.1 km / 143.6 miles away
Cavan Car Rentals from $49.98 per day250.9 km / 155.9 miles away
Sligo Car Rentals from $41.65 per day266.0 km / 165.3 miles away
Letterkenny Car Rentals from $41.65 per day349.6 km / 217.2 miles away
Donegal Car Rentals from $62.14 per day356.3 km / 221.4 miles away
Wexford Car Rentals from $40.70 per day2894.8 km / 1798.7 miles away
Top 7 Locations near Cork
Cork Airport Car Rentals from $31.46 per day
Kerry Airport Car Rentals from $45.38 per day80.1 km / 49.8 miles away
Shannon Airport Car Rentals from $31.46 per day100.1 km / 62.2 miles away
Downtown Car Rentals from $28.90 per day195.7 km / 121.6 miles away
Dublin Airport Car Rentals from $29.70 per day230.9 km / 143.5 miles away
Knock Airport Car Rentals from $36.13 per day231.1 km / 143.6 miles away
Donegal Airport Car Rentals from $62.14 per day356.3 km / 221.4 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Cork?
This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.
What’s the usual rental length in Cork?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Cork?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||4|
|Popular suppliers||Budget, SIXT, Easirent, Flizzr, Enterprise|
|Popular car categories||Small cars, Medium cars, SUVs, Large cars|
|Lowest price||$31 per day|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Budget||Renault Clio||4||2||Medium cars|
|Easirent||Ford Fiesta||5||2||Small cars|
|Budget||Toyota Corolla||5||2||Large cars|
|Budget||Volkswagen Polo||3||1||Small cars|
|Easirent||Fiat 500||3||2||Small cars|
|Budget||Ford Ka||2||1||Small cars|
|SIXT||VW Polo||5||1||Small cars|
|SIXT||Ford Fiesta||5||1||Small cars|
|Easirent||Ford Fiesta||5||1||Small cars|
Our Customers' Reviews
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