Best Cork City Scenic Walks.
Best Scenic Autumn Walks in Cork City
Get out and enjoy the best walks in Cork City this autumn and winter. These series of best walks in Cork will allow friends and families to meet outdoors in the coming winter. Some are suited to groups of family and friends, others would work for running or cycling and a few need a higher level of fitness, in other words, hikes. Most of these places are public spaces, free and suited to all the family. With autumn and winter arriving there are lots of walks and greenways in the city.
There may be walks we have forgotten to add to the list – so please let us know so we can all enjoy getting out walking in the winter of 2020. Details of the Best Sheeps Head Walks and other walks in Co Cork are being added to this series of blogs. Most of these places are public spaces, free and suited to all the family. With autumn and winter arriving there are lots of walks and greenways in the city.
1. Fitzgerald’s Park
Fitzgerald’s Park lies between the River Lee and University College Cork. There are residential lanes down to Fitzgerald’s Park from the Western Road or parking outside the city’s main park. The Cork City Museum is housed in the park and there are sculptures, a rose garden, a play area and a stage for concerts. This is a great city space and the museum has free entry and is full of exhibits on Cork city’s history. Beside it is the Mardyke Walk from which you can get nice views of the newly restored Shaky Bridge and access to the Mardyke Arena which is the university’s sports complex. The garden designer Diarmuid Gavin won a gold award for his Irish Sky Garden in 2011, but as it was suspended 0ver 80 feet above ground this was felt to be too unsafe for the Cork residents. The Eye shaped sculpture now sits overlooking the River Lee and you can sit in it, though without the lush planting of the designer!
2. The Lough Walk, Cork City
The Lough in Cork city, about 10 minutes walk south of University College Cork, has been a protected wildlife reserve since 1881. It has been a popular walking area and a place to promenade since then. The shallow freshwater lake has a limestone base and a maximum depth of 1 meter. The path goes all around it giving a walk of just over 1 km. It’s suited to all the family and has a wide range of wildfowl living on and around it. In summer swans, ducks, ….. who are joined by Canadian Geese and other migratory wildfowl in winter. They are so used to humans they can be slow to move out of the way on the paths and grass and co-exist happily with walkers.
3. Lee Fields
The Lee Fields is on the western edge of the city by the County Hall. There is parking before the Kingsley Hotel or a 1/2km along the Lee Fields Road. It’s a great place to walk the dog, have a run along the river Lee and watch the wildfowl in the river. The route is due to be extended from Fitzgerald’s Park in early 2021.
4. Blarney Castle, Blarney, Cork City.
Blarney Castle is quieter now than ever with practically no overseas visitors, tickets bought online are cheaper. The locals know it as the best place to go for a walk in the area with its expansive gardens and walking trails. There are over 10km of paths, a sculpture garden, waterfall and willow tunnel, play area and seats to rest on. The gardens are a joy at any time of the year with abundant planting of local and exotic flowers. The trees give a backdrop to all walks and the fern garden in a hollow is great fun for children. For the garden experts, there are lots to see including a stumpery, a poison garden beside the castle and if you wish to kiss the Blarney Stone climb to the top of the castle battlements. Open 10.30 to 3.30 for entrance during the winter months. There is a side gate to get out of the gardens, so you may have the gardens to yourself. Entry fees apply and dogs are not allowed.
5. Clogheenmilcon Walk And Waterloo Walk, Blarney, Cork
Blarney village has 2 local amenity walks – the Clogheenmilcon Walk and the River Martin Walk. The Clogheenmilcon Walk is beside the busy approach road to Blarney village off the N20 road and is a tarred pathway ideal for any type of user and 6.5km long. There is access to the playground from the car park at the Blarney end of the walk
The River Martin walkway is the more attractive walk in the wooded valley of the River Martin. It has been partly tarred from the main car park as far as the old millrace pond but the surface beyond is good and there is a footpath by the road as far as Waterloo. For the more adventurous you can take the Newcastle Road and after about 200m turn left up a laneway which takes you through Knocknasuff and back to near the main car park.
6. Ballincollig Amenity Park, Ballincollig, Co Cork
Ballincollig Regional Park lies between Ballincollig village and the River Lee. The best access is from the western end – take a right at the lights by Supervalu. There is ample parking beside the old windmill, just before Inniscarra bridge. The park contains the remains of one of the biggest gunpowder producers in olden days. You can see the ruins of about 60 buildings scattered along the various paths and storyboards fill you in on the history. The walking trails launched in 2014 include tarred paths and more naturally surfaced trails, some of which will take you right to the river. There are also a skateboard area, basketball courts and play area. It’s a fantastic facility for all the family with a 1km walk in the park, a 5km Powdermill Trail and it’s also suited to joggers. Dogs are welcome on a lead.
7. Atlantic Pond
Drive to the Marina through the industrial area where the Ford and Dunlop Factories used to be and is now the Marina Industrial Park. Park beside the Lee Rowing Club or at Pairc uí Caoimh, the city’s main sports stadium which seats 45,000 people. The Marina road has been closed to traffic in 2020 so walkers and cyclists have the narrow road along the river to themselves. The Atlantic Pond is a rather sad body of freshwater, overshadowed by the GAA football stadium Pairc uí Caoimh. There is a path around the freshwater lake suited to young families who can cycle or push buggies around the pond.
8. Cork Harbour Greenway Walks from Blackrock Castle or Marina, Cork City
There are trails from Blackrock Castle (parking) along the River Lee Estuary or from the Marina, beside Pairc uí Caoimh (parking) with an off-road Greenway route all the way to the village of Passage. The route offers great views and is suited to walking, cycling or running. Suited to all the family. Blackrock Castle has an Observatory, tours and a cafe. Great place to visit for children interested in space exploration.
9. Curabinny Wood Walk, Carrigaline, Co Cork
To the south of Cork city take the N28 towards Carrigaline. At Shanbally Cross turn right onto the R613 and follow the signposting to the picturesque Curabinny Woods whose walk is a bit challenging in places. This overlooks Cork harbour which can be glimpsed through the trees. The walk from the car park allows everyone in the family to track to the top of the hill where you will find the Giant’s Grave. In autumn the paths from the hilltop are carpeted with leaves. Dogs welcome.
10 Greenway Walk Carrigaline to Crosshaven, Co Cork
To the east of Carrigaline and accessed from the edge of the town. Take a Greenway walk along the sea inlet from Carrigaline to Crosshaven on a 5km off-road route offering gentle gradients. Park at Crosshaven outside Cronin’s Pub or at Carrigaline Industrial Estate Carpark. Pass Drake’s Pool where Sir Francis Drake supposedly hid his 5 Warships in 1589, having been chased into COrk harbour by a superior Spanish Fleet. Suited to walking and cycling off-road for all the family. This walk will become part of the Cork Harbour Trail Walk.