By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Cork?

Do you need a car in Cork > Should you rent a car in Cork Ireland > Cork ( ORK )

It’s entirely natural to assume that because Cork is a relatively small city and because it is surrounded by so much open countryside, then a hire car would be essential.

James says - a few trip notes:

I briefly visited Cork in 2007, and picked up a hire car at Cork International airport. I drove west towards the Ring of Kerry.

Do you need a car in Cork? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

A hire car in Cork is still extremely useful. However, if you are visiting Cork and you are unsure about whether or not to hire a car, it certainly worth having another think.

Why should you rent a car in Cork?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Cork?

Cork Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]



Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]




Free parking score

Total 160 - of which 107 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • For any kind of road trip outside the city of Cork, a hire car will probably still be useful.
  • Outside Dublin, rail services are very limited in Ireland.
  • Local and regional buses serve most towns, but schedules and routes are still limited.

Why not? Visiting Cork without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Cork public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score



Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Cork. 


Cork is well known further having so many great pubs, and staying within the city and walking around or using taxis and local buses might be more than enough.

  • Cork is a great weekend break city – no need to get out of town, and no need to drive in town.
  • When it comes to heading West and towards the Ring of Kerry, the natural inclination is that a hire car here is going to make more sense. For many visitors it undoubtedly will. However, it is also still perfectly possible to visit the Ring of Kerry and the Kerry National Park without a car. Head first to Killarney. The best way to get to Killarney without a car is by bus, although you can also do it by train with one change.
  • Another attraction in Cork which is unique in Ireland is the Fora Wildlife park, part of Fora Island. It’s also served by its own railway station. However, you might find it easier to doing excursion to the wildlife park by bus. Note that this park has to be visited on foot – it isn’t adrive-thru facility.
  • Another easy excursion by train is to take the commuter line to the port of Cobb.

Cycling in Cork

  • Cork also now has its own local bicycle hire system.
  • There are a number of cycling trails heading out of the city, including a short section of former railway along the coastline.


Car rental in - Cork Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Cork?

  • Based on comparison with transit and walking/cycling?

Is it worth hiring a car in Cork?

  • Based on value for money?

Should you rent a car in Cork?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Cork if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

What about for families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Cork if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

What if we are staying in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Cork if I prefer not to drive?

What if we are easy either way?

What if I prefer to drive?



What is our final score for Cork on the Carornocar scale?


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Do you need a car in Cork? For a short city break, a hire car is far from necessary. However, that should be obvious enough. If you want to stay here longer, or if you want to see beyond the city, then your options are limited if you are just using public transport. Although Cork is nothing like as “car focussed” as some visitors might expect, this is still a “car” destination.

Would you hire a car in Cork?

Have you driven in Cork? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Cork?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:



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