Blarney Castle and its gardens can be found about five miles from Cork City, and is home of the world famous Stone of Eloquence, otherwise known as the Blarney Stone, which is said to grant the gift of great eloquence to anyone who kisses it. The Castle dates from the twelfth century but, after being destroyed 1446, it was rebuilt by the Lord of Muscry. Aside from the Stone, the Castle ruins have well-preserved battlements, accessible rooms, the nineteenth century Scottish baronial mansion of Blarney House, and quite extensive gardens that include natural rock formations such as Druid's Circle, Witch's Cave and the Wishing Steps.
Gougane Barra Park:
Just west of the Co. Cork town of Macroom is Gougane Barra, which has been undergoing an extensive forestation program since 1938. This has allowed it to develop into a gorgeous forest park with over twenty different species of tree, including Spruce, Scots Pine and Japanese Larch. Over six miles of walking trails criss-cross the park, taking in the beauty of the surrounding lakes, waterfalls, valleys and a picturesque medieval chapel. There are also the ancient ruins of a monastery on the island, which was a popular location for Roman Catholic Mass to be held during the Penal Laws.
The stunning and extreme peninsula of Mizen Head is the most south west point in mainland Ireland, and is well-known for its incredible cliff scenery. The furthest tip of Mizen head is actually separated from Ireland by a thin, but deep, chasm with a bridge connecting it. The bridge gives access to the existing signal station, weather station and lighthouse that are placed on the rocks in the sea. The signal station has now been converted into a museum dedicated to the early days of transatlantic shipping and communications. The original access was from the fabled '99 steps', but has now been supplemented by extra paths and spectacular viewing platforms.
Sheep's Head Peninsula:
Sheep's Head is a peninsula in Co. Cork, between Dunmanus Bay and Bantry Bay, which offers astonishing views in every direction. Sheep's Head is extremely popular with walkers, who enjoy the amazing scenery, freshest of air, and the 55 mile, long distance walking trail that loops around the peninsula. It's divided into eight section which should each take half a day to complete. Combining cliff walks with hill trails and coastlines, it's a very accessible and undemanding walk, suitable for anyone and any time of year.
Dolphin and Whale Watching:
Just off the coast of Co.Cork is the rare and magical opportunity to watch dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. Many of the south coast towns and villages offer boat trips out, and the chartered tour operators are experienced in exactly the where best spots are to get up close with these marvellous sea-going mammals. Disappearing out on to the open sea allows visitors to enjoy the serenity of the vast deep ocean, while whales and dolphins of all different species come so close you won't even need binoculars.