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See: Why rent a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.

That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at [table “1” does not have that cell /]
car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare [table “1” does not have that cell /]
with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

Should I rent a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. 

We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Cork is in car rental price band: 1/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Cork? 

Yes. Extremely cheap car hire, if booking economy vehicle outside peak holiday period.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Cork between the peak and the off peak season?

3/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 5/10

Non car score:6/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


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? Visiting Cork using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Cork ?

  • 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 don't you need a car in 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.

Ratings: How does Cork compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Cork? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Cork, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?



Do you need to hire a car in Cork? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Cork (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Cork? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel


Car hire basics:


Public transportation basics:


Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):


As you start ....

Does Cork airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No






Has our advice for Cork car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 6

Average score - 5



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.


Do you or don't you need a car in Cork ?

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