Four Top Reasons why you Should Visit Monaco

If you have never visited Monaco before, then you are certainly missing out. It is full of things to do and you may even find that there are many adventures to be had as well. The country is surprising to say the least and it is very unique and full of things to do and see. It is also one of the most beautiful destinations around. If you want to find out more about Monaco and the wonders that are there, then this is the guide for you.

The Viewpoints are Stunning

One of the many reasons why Monaco is so great is because the viewpoints are stunning. If you want to explore somewhere truly magnificent then Monaco is the place to be. If you want to make the most out of your trip, then you should know that the view of the Port de Fontvielle is not to be missed. It’s also one of the best photo spots in Monaco as well. You will get a fantastic overview of the stunning houses and the stunning blue water. If you want to see this in the best light, then make sure that you pay it a visit around noon.

It’s the Second-Smallest Country

sea city water ocean
Photo by Clive Kim on Pexels.com

Monaco is a sovereign state. What’s impressive about the state is that it is also the second-smallest country in the world. The only one that is smaller than it is Vatican City. That’s not all though. It’s actually the country with the most people per square mile. For this reason, it’s not hard to see why Monaco is incredibly unique and on top of this, it’s an amazing holiday destination. The country is so small, that you can travel from one end to the other in a very short space of time.

The Sunsets are Amazing

The sunsets in Monaco are truly beyond beautiful. If you love sunsets, then Monaco is the place that you need to visit. There are some great viewpoints in Monaco and being able to see the sunset at a place like this is magical. The sunrises are stunning as well. If you don’t mind getting up early, then it is highly recommended that you see one. It’s very easy for you to explore the many beautiful neighbourhoods in Monaco too, especially if you are interested in buying a property there.

There are Fantastic Beaches

Another great reason why you should visit the country of Monaco is because of the fantastic beaches. The Larvotto Beach is one of the best around. The waters are very blue and if you go swimming there, then you will soon see that there is so much fun and excitement to be had. You can also see the buildings on the beach as well. There is no entrance fee, and the local restaurants make it a very convenient place to visit. If you love beaches, then you won’t want to miss out on Monaco.

So as you can see, Monaco is truly unique and it has a lot to offer as well. Why not pay it a visit for yourself?

Thanks for reading my blog, Aimee x

couple travelling queenstown
Thanks for reading!


What you need to know about Renting in Ireland

You’ve made the decision to move to Ireland – in this blog post I list the best cities to live in Ireland, the best websites to search for rental properties and how much rent you can expect to pay per month.

In July 2020 my husband & I re-located from living in Queenstown New Zealand to my home country of Ireland. Having lived abroad for over 10 years (also living in Whistler Canada and Sydney Australia) it was a huge deal for us moving to Ireland. Despite me being an Irish citizen (I’m from the cool city of Cork) & living in Ireland from the age of 3 up to 23 (when I moved to Australia) – there was still a lot for me to get my head around in moving to Ireland.

We faced a lot of hurdles finding a suitable rental property in Ireland and so I’ve put together this incredibly detailed blog post to help you successfully find a place to rent in Ireland. I also have a blog post on renting in Cork, it’s an incredibly detailed guide.

Finding a home to rent in Ireland

As you can imagine, it can be very difficult to find decent housing in Ireland. It is a very competitive market and rent can be quite expensive (depending on the area you wish to move to). Before starting your search there are a couple questions you should ask yourself first –

  1. How much rent can I afford?
  2. What area do you want to live in? Try to narrow it down to at least 5 areas.
  3. What does your ‘ideal rental property’ look like? How many bedrooms does it have? Does it have a garden? Parking? etc.
river liffey dublin ireland
Pink skies over the River Liffey in Dublin!

What you need to do to be successful in finding a place to rent in Ireland

How much is Rent in Ireland

It can be quite expensive to live in Ireland especially if you plan on living in one of the big cities like Dublin or Cork. Dublin especially can be extortionate for rent, depending on the area expect to pay up to €2,000 per month!

Average rent in South County Dublin is €2,156 per month, followed by South Dublin City at €2,094 per month, Central Dublin at €2,016 per month and North Dublin City at €1,847 per month.

In Cork on the other hand the average rent in the city is now €1,574. In Cork county areas, the average rent is now €1,131. At the other end of the scale counties like Leitrim, Donegal, Longford & Roscommon are significantly cheaper.

kinsale cork colorful houses
Me enjoying an icecream in colorful Kinsale, Cork!

Best cities to rent in Ireland

Below is a list of the most popular counties (that is what states are called here in Ireland) with expats. They are popular for various different reasons e.g most of the jobs are located in Dublin or Cork, Dublin has a lot of tech jobs and Cork a lot of Pharmaceutical jobs. Whereas counties like Mayo and Donegal are more rural and scenic and offer a more relaxed lifestyle – rent is also cheaper in these counties.

Cork

Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland, it is known for the stunning West Cork area (gorgeous beaches!) and it’s lively city center filled with bars, restaurants and shops and of course the famous English Market. There are a lot of jobs in the Pharmaceutical industry here thanks to large companies like Pfizer and Novartis located in Ringaskiddy in the county. Tech giant Apple’s European Headquarters is located on the Northside of the City. The best areas to rent in Cork include Douglas; Ballincollig; Carrigaline and Cork City. The average rent in Cork City is €1,574 and in Cork county is €1,131.

Dublin

Dublin is the capital and the largest city in Ireland. It is where most people aim to live when moving to Ireland but rents here are notoriously expensive – same for buying property. You will struggle to find an affordable rental property in the City Center with average rents in the CBD at just under €2000 per month. Area’s like Howth and Skerries are desirable and $$$ because they are pretty, safe seaside areas. Cheaper areas to rent in Dublin include Swords, North City Central and CityWest. The average rent in Cork City is €1,574 and in Cork county is €1,131.

Galway

Galway is a quirky city and is a big student town (the National University of Ireland is located here). It’s one of my favorite cities in Ireland and it’s filled with artists and Irish music. Galway is also the gateway to the stunning Aran Islands. The most desirable areas to rent in Galway include Galway City, Clifden (very beautiful area), Oranmore, Cong and Spiddal. Average rents in Galway City are €1,021 for a one-bedroom, whilst in the suburbs (the other areas I’ve listed above) a 2 Bedroom House averages at €1,114 and a 3 Bedroom House at €1,277.

Limerick

Limerick is the third largest city in Ireland and I have to admit the city had a bit of a bad reputation and was nicknamed ‘stab city’ but that seems to be in its past and now Limerick is a popular student city. I attended the University of Limerick and loved living in Limerick during my student years. Some of the most desirable areas to rent in Limerick include Castletroy (where the University of Limerick is located); Croom; Adare and Ennis Road. The average monthly rent in Limerick is €1003 which is very reasonable. In fact, the people of Limerick have one of the highest amounts of disposable income than anywhere else in Ireland.

Mayo

Mayo seems to be a particularly popular area with expats – particularly those of retirement age or close to retirement. It’s located on the Wild Atlantic Way and has gorgeously wild beaches as well as charming towns like Westport. The best areas to rent in Mayo include Westport; Ballina and Claremorris. The average price of rent in Mayo is a super-reasonable €487 per month for a one-bedroom apartment!

Donegal

Located in the very North of the republic of Ireland and bordering Northern Ireland – Donegal is one of the cheapest areas in Ireland to rent and to buy property. It’s home to some of the best beaches (and surfing) in Ireland and is becoming more and more popular with expats. The best areas to love in Donegal include Ballyshannon; Bundoran; Donegal Town and Letterkenny. The average listed rent is now €595 in Donegal.

Where is the cheapest rent in Ireland

Rents are consistently high across the country, with the cheapest found in Leitrim – at €517 a month. Along with Leitrim, the cheapest places to rent in Ireland also include Longford, Donegal and Roscommon, at €572, €593 and €595 respectively.

cobh, cork, irish colourful town
Colorful houses in Cobh, Cork

Best websites to search for rental properties in Ireland

  • Daft.ie is great for houses and apartments for rent
  • Myhome.ie has a small selection of houses for rent in Ireland
  • Let.ie is another good rental property website

If you’ve found the place you want to rent, then, there are several documents you will need to give to the Letting Agent or Landlord. Make sure to have these with you at every property viewing to give you better chance at being successful (first in best dressed as they say).

Applying for a rental property in Ireland

The documents you should have at every viewing include:

  • A form of I.D like your drivers licence, passport and your PPSN (Personal Public Service Number)
  • References from past landlords
  • A current work reference
  • A current payslip or bank statement that shows your income
white and brown houses near green grass field under blue sky
The area of Salthill in Galway! Photo by Clive Kim on Pexels.com

What you need to know about paying for utilities in Ireland

Utilities are typically not included in the monthly rent price in Ireland so make sure you have additional savings to pay electricity/gas and WiFi.When renting in Ireland, you need to set up the utilities accounts (gas, electric, WiFi etc.) in your own name. Ask your landlord which companies supply your gas and electricity, as it’s easier to stick with the same companies. You can of course shop around to get the best deal.

WiFi and TV providers are competitive in Ireland so make sure you shop around to get the best available deal. As well as the above you will also need to pay for waste collection (we pay around €30 a month in a rural area, it’s typically cheaper in urban areas).

You don’t need to pay water charges in Ireland.

The best short-term apartment rentals in Ireland

I think the best thing you can do when searching for an apartment in Ireland is rent a short-term apartment for a week or more so that you can get a feel for the area and decide if this really is the right area for you to rent in. Below I’ve listed some of the best short-term apartment rentals available in each area.

Thanks for reading my blog, Aimee

wild atlantic way west cork

I hope this blog post has helped you to get your head around renting in Ireland Hopefully now you’re well equipped to go out and find your dream rental property.

Thanks for reading and if you’re interested I have lots more blog posts on Ireland – like the coolest airbnbs in Ireland. things to do in West Cork and Ballyhoura in Limerick much more!

Finding a place to rent in Cork Ireland

So you’ve decided to move to Cork Ireland – in this blog post I list the best areas to live in Cork, where to search for rental properties and how much rent you can expect to pay per month.

This July my husband & I re-located from living in Queenstown New Zealand to my home country of Ireland. Having lived abroad for 10 years (with stints living in Whistler Canada and Sydney Australia as well as New Zealand) it was a big deal for us moving to Ireland. Despite me being an Irish citizen (I’m from the cool city of Cork) & living in Ireland from the age of 3 up to 23, when I left for Australia – there was still a lot for me to get my head around in re-locating to Ireland.

We faced a lot of hurdles finding a suitable rental property in Ireland and so I’ve put together this incredibly detailed blog post to help you successfully find a place to rent in Cork. I also have a blog post on moving to Ireland (everything about work visas, finding a job and more)! I’ve also written a detailed blog post about renting in Ireland!

Finding a suitable home to rent in Cork

Colorful houses in North Quay Cork City!
Colorful houses in North Quay Cork City!

As you can imagine, it can be very difficult to find decent housing in Cork. It is a very competitive market and rent can be quite expensive (depending on the area you wish to move to). Before starting your search there are a couple questions you should ask yourself first –

  1. How much rent can I afford?
  2. What area do you want to live in? Try to narrow it down to at least 5 areas.
  3. What does your ‘ideal rental property’ look like? How many bedrooms does it have? Does it have a garden? Parking? etc.

What you need to be successful in finding a place to rent in Cork

  • Join the local housing groups on Facebook such as Cork – Rent a house, Rent in Cork and Rooms to rent Cork to find apartments and rooms for rent.
  • Register your interest with local letting agencies like …. that way you will be alerted when a new property is advertised and can be first in.
  • Ensure you have good previous rental references (even if they are from overseas) and enough money for a deposit (typically one months rent) and your first months rent.
  • Utilities are typically not included in the monthly rent price in Ireland so make sure you have additional savings to pay electricity/gas and WiFi.
  • Try to arrive in Cork before you plan on starting a long-term rental, stay in short term accommodation like this one so that you can search for properties without rushing/panicking and get to know the areas. You may fall in love with a specific area that you never previously thought of.

How much is rent in Cork?

colorful houses overlooking the Cork Marina
Doesn’t it look like a model village (near Cork Marina)

It has recently been announced that the average price of renting a house in Cork is now €1574!!!

But rent prices can vary massively throughout Cork – the further away from the city you go the cheaper rental prices become. For example the area of Macroom a 40 minute drive from Cork City is significantly cheaper than say Douglas a desirable neighborhood less than 15 minutes from the CBD.

For properties in Cork City expect to pay at least €1200 per month for a small one-bedroom apartment. A small drive from the City in Douglas a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment is currently for rent for €1800 per month. Whereas in Bandon a large town in West Cork (a 35 minute drive from the CBD) you can rent a 3-bedroom house for €1200 per month.

If you really want to save money on rent, you can rent a room in a house for about €500 per month in Ballincollig and other similar areas like Douglas and Carrigaline.

The best areas to rent in Cork

girl at colorful store front Kinsale Ireland
Me in the colorful town of Kinsale!

There are loads of different areas in Cork, below I’ve listed the 6 most desirable areas to rent. All the areas below also have decent public transport into the City Center.

  • Cork City – the properties here are typically smaller and more expensive but you’re paying for convenience being in the hustle and bustle of the city. Cork is a vibrant and compact city with loads of great restaurants, fantastic shopping and is overall quite safe. The famous English Market, Shandon Bells and St Finbarrs Cathedral are some of the must-visit attractions in this city.
  • Ballincollig – on the west side of Cork City, Ballincollig is a large spread-out town with a big population. There’s a shopping center as well as a few restaurants and bars. There are several supermarkets here – Dunnes, Tesco and two SuperValus. The lovely Regional Park on the outskirts of the town is a great place for a walk.
  • Douglas – another large town with lots of shops (there’s two shopping centers here), restaurants and Cafes. It has outgrown its size however and traffic here can be a nightmare! There’s some great pubs here like O’Sullivans and Barrys – in fact it’s a great alternative to Cork City for a night out. Supermarkets here include Tesco, Dunnes and a newly opened Aldi.
  • Carrigaline – the largest town in Cork by population size, this town has grown significantly over the years thanks to its proximity to the large pharmaceutical companies in nearby Ringaskiddy. There’s several Cafes, restaurants (mostly takeaway or casual options) and hairdressers/barbers. Supermarkets here include Dunnes, Lidl and SuperValu. Carrigaline is a 25 minute drive to Cork City (it’s a single lane motorway after Douglas and traffic at peak hours can be at standstill)
  • Kinsale – possibly the prettiest (and most touristic) town in Cork, Kinsale is the gateway to West Cork and all its fantastic beaches. It’s also the foodie capital of Ireland so there are plenty of great restaurants. Supermarkets here include an excellent SuperValu, Lidl and Centra. This is an extremely sought-after area (particularly with overseas residents) and so rental prices are expensive and places get snapped up very quickly. Driving to the city from here will take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Glanmire – just 9 km from the center of the city it’s a small town with some pubs, takeaways, hairdressers and supermarkets like Aldi and SuperValu. This area is particularly popular with families. There are good and regular buses into Cork City.

Best websites to search for rental properties in Cork

  • Daft.ie is great for houses and apartments for rent
  • Myhome.ie has a small selection of houses for rent in Cork
  • Let.ie is another good rental property website

Applying for a rental property in Cork

The River Lee with St Finbarres Cathedral in the background!
The River Lee with St Finbarres Cathedral in the background!

If you’ve found the place you want to rent, then, there are several documents you will need to give to the Letting Agent or Landlord. Make sure to have these with you at every property viewing to give you better chance at being successful (first in best dressed as they say).

The documents you should have at every viewing include:

  • A form of I.D like your drivers licence, passport and your PPSN (Personal Public Service Number)
  • References from past landlords
  • A current work reference
  • A current payslip or bank statement that shows your income

The best short-term apartments to rent in Cork while you search for your long-term property

Cork City Center Self Catering Apartments ( €3000 per month approx.)

Located near Cork City Hall and Saint Finbarres Cathedral this modern apartment is very centrally located. The one-bedroom apartment is 26m2 and has a kitchen (including fridge, microwave and oven), dining room and separate bedroom. Free WiFi is also included in the rate.

BOOK IT HERE

River View Apartment ( €2705 for two weeks)

A luxurious apartment with river views and a terrace just a few minutes walk from the city center. It comes with a fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities. This is a quiet part of town.

BOOK IT HERE

Oakleigh House ( €2105 for two weeks)

This popular one-bedroom apartment is a 6 km walk from the city center and is spacious with a full kitchen. Past guests have been impressed with how bright, clean and spacious it is. This apartment tends to sell out quick, FYI!

BOOK IT HERE

College View Apartments (approx. €100 per night)

Located directly opposite the University (UCC), this apartment is just a 5 minute walk from the center. The apartment is large and bright and comes with a full kitchen.

BOOK IT HERE

The Grasslands Holiday Home (approx. €130 per night)

Nestled in a slightly rural location but just a short drive from Fota Wildlife Park and Cobh – this property is a great way to get a feel for the smaller communities of Ireland. The house has 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living and dining area and 3 bathrooms. As well as a large garden.

BOOK IT HERE

Thanks for reading my blog, Aimee

wild atlantic way west cork

I hope this blog post has helped you to get your head around renting in Cork (and Ireland in general). Hopefully now you’re well equipped to go out and find your dream rental property.

Thanks for reading and if you’re interested I have lots more blog posts on Ireland – like the coolest airbnbs in Ireland. things to do in West Cork and Ballyhoura in Limerick much more!

The best beaches you must visit in West Cork

In this blog I list 14 of the most stunning beaches in West Cork, Ireland. When the weather is nice there is honestly no better place in the world than Ireland. The saying goes among locals “if you could put a roof over Ireland it would be the best country in the world”. So, for those nice or even not-so-nice days here are the best beaches for you to visit.

In fact one of the best things to do in West Cork is to go in search of stunning beaches!

14 of the Best Beaches in West Cork, Ireland

West Cork is well-known for having the best beaches in Ireland. From the surfing beach of Garrettstown to extraordinarily long Inchdoney beach, there’s certainly a beach in West Cork for everyone.

P.S I’m a Cork girl, so my locals guide on what to do in Cork may be handy too!

1. The Warren beach, Rosscarbery

A family enjoying the gorgeous Warren beach in West Cork
A family enjoying the gorgeous Warren beach!

The Warren Beach just outside Rosscarbery town is a small-ish sandy beach backed by sand dunes. The area around the beach has been designated as a Natural Heritage Area. It’s a popular swimming and walking spot and even has a pitch and putt course looking over the strand.  There’s also a lovely loop cliff walk here.

There’s a narrow road out to the beach from the main road and it is often full of parked cars on either side (esp. during Summer). So, be careful, there’s a carpark at the end of this road if you can manage to find a space.

There’s a lifeguard on duty during the Summer months.There are public toilets and showers in the car park as well as a coffee truck during the busier months.

Getting to The Warren Beach from Cork City: will take you 1 hour 13 minutes (65 km) via the N71

2. Barleycove beach, Schull

blue skies at Barleycove beach in West Cork
Blue skies all-round at Barleycove beach!

Often named by the media as the ‘most beautiful beach in Ireland’. Located a 20 minute drive from the town of Schull, and backed by numerous sand dunes – Barleycove is certainly a spectacular beach.

These sand dunes were thrown up in the tidal wave that swept Europe after the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755. They are classed as European designated Special Areas of Conservation.

Grab a pint or some food at the Barleycove Beach Hotel or even spend the night here – it sure is a stunning location for a hotel!

Getting to Barleycove Beach from Cork City: will take just under 2 hours and follows the N22; N40 AND R586

3. Inchydoney beach, Clonakilty

A lady walks her dogs at Inchydoney beach in West Cork
A lady walks her dogs at Inchydoney beach!

A whopping seven miles in length, Inchdoney is especially popular with overseas visitors. It’s the perfect spot in West Cork for a nice long beach walk. The popularity of this beach is probably due to the stunning Inchydoney beach hotel which overlooks the beach. I highly recommend spending the night here if you can if not there’s a fab restaurant at the hotel that welcomes outside guests!

It’s only a 10 minute drive from the cute town of Clonakilty! The waves here are some of the best in the country so why not check out the surf school on the beach

Getting to Inchydoney Beach from Cork City: will take you just under an hour via the N71

4. Garrettstown beach, Kinsale

wild atlantic way west cork
Looking down on Garrettstown beach on a sunny day!

A popular surf beach, you can try your hand at surfing with G Town Surf School . Garrettstown is also very popular with local families, as it is one of the closest beaches to Cork city. Grab some food and refreshments from the food trucks along the beach or walk to Stranded Cafe for a sit-down lunch.

There are two beaches for the price of one here, the “first beach” aka Garrettstown beach is popular for surfers, it’s where most of the food trucks are located too. It’s more sheltered than Garrylucas beach next door. Garrylucas or “white strand” has calmer seas and is popular with families. It’s not as sheltered though so I don’t recommend going here on a windy day.

Getting to Garrettstown Beach from Cork City: under 50 minutes via the N71

5. Red Strand beach, Clonakilty

red strand beach on a windy day
Red Strand beach – look at those waves!

About ten minutes drive from Clonakilty lies one of Corks most underrated and less-visited beaches. Which is a pity as the views from the beach include the iconic Galley Head lighthouse. And the water here is exceptionally clean!

The beach is small and there are no restaurants or hotels within walking distance. There are public toilets however.

Getting to Red Strand beach from Cork City: 1 hour 7 minutes via N71 and R589

6. Owenahincha beach, Rosscarbery

rock pools at owenahincha beach west cork
The rock pools at Owenahincha beach!

Backing onto sand dunes, this wide and open beach is not far from the village of Rosscarbery.

Owenahincha is also a great surfing spot, however the sea can get quite rough at times and is therefore not suitable for beginner surfers. There is a public car park and toilets facilities are provided and there is a lifeguard on duty during the Summer.

There’s an excellent campsite near the beach.

Getting to Owenahincha from Cork City: 1 hour 4 minutes via the N71

7. Tragumna beach, Skibbereen

sunrise at tragumna beach west cork
Sunrise over Tragumna beach!

Tragumna Beach, West Cork is located just a few miles from Skibbereen town. Tragumna is a favourite small swimming spot with stunning views over the tiny Drishane Island, just 100 metres offshore. This a popular spot for families!

Top tip – visit the nearby Lough Hyne for kayaking and easy hikes.

Getting to Tragumna from Cork City: 1 hour 30 minutes via N71

8. Long Strand beach

sunset at long strand west cork
Sunset at Long Strand!

A gloriously wild beach between Rosscarbery and Clonakilty. There’s sand dunes, glistening ocean and the Galley Head lighthouse in the distance. The waters here are beloved by surfers (lots of big waves!) but it’s not so safe for inexperienced swimmers. There is a lifeguard on duty during the Summer!

Be sure to pay a visit to the Fish Basket for some awesome fish and chips. Also, nearby is the beautiful Castlefreke Woods a great place to walk off the aforementioned fish and chips!

Getting to Long Strand Beach from Cork City: 1 hour 7 minutes via N71

9. Shelly beach, Mizen Head

shelly beach mizen head cork
Shelly Beach next to Mizen Head!

Shelly beach is the secret spot locals don’t want you to know about! Only adding to its charm is the trek to get there – hike through fields and down a narrow boreen. Pretty white shells dot the sand here and the views are spectacular! For some reason this beach reminds me of somethings from The Chronicles of Narnia.

Of course whilst here you must visit Mizen Head the most Southwesterly point in Ireland. Catching the signal station at sunrise or sunset is sure to make for an exceptionally pretty photo!

Getting to Shelly Beach from Cork City: 2 hours via R586

10. The Dock Beach, Kinsale

The small but lovely Dock Beach in Kinsale!

Possibly the smallest beach on the list – the Dock Beach is favored among Kinsale locals. Being a walk from the charming town and accessed by the sandy pathway next to The Dock pub. Walk if you can as it is incredibly difficult to find parking here. It’s well-sheltered and a safe place to swim and has views over Kinsale Harbour.

Getting to The Dock Beach from Cork City: 39 minutes via R600

11. Silver Strand, Sherkin Island

silver strand sherkin island cork
Silver Strand at Sherkin Island!

The stunning Sherkin Island is home to this hidden gem of a beach! It’s hard to reach making it even more appealing and wild-like and is accessible only by ferry from Baltimore. Silver Strand is a 40 minute walk from where the ferry drops you off on Sherkin Island. (FYI – the ferry is €12 per adult and takes only 15 minutes)

It’s a beautiful sandy beach with magnificent views of Cape Clear Island and the Atlantic ocean. This is one of Cork’s most remote beaches and the wildness of it and the sense of isolation you feel here can’t be beat!

There are two restaurants on the island – Sherkin House & Jolly Rogers. Plus, if you fancy staying the night you can choose from Sherkin House (with its 21 ensuite bedrooms).

12. Allihies, Beara Peninsula

allihies village county cork
The colorful Allihies village!

The Beara peninsula may just be Ireland’s best-kept secret. The rugged and rocky coastline is apparently too rocky for much sand to accumulate or so you would think. The beach at Allihies is more of a small wind-sheltered inlet with golden sand. It offers stunning views of the Atlantic. If you’re a keen walker or hiker there are lots of great walks all around the Ring of Beara.

Allihies village is colorful, tiny and very photogenic. Some of the best things to do here include walking the Allihies Copper Mine Trail, drive the Beara Way and visit the neighboring village of Eyeries. Restaurants in this small village include O’Neills; The Lighthouse Bar and Jimmys Bar. As you can see they’re all pubs too – so they’re great spots for a few drinks to take in the stunning scenery.

When you’ve come this far, why not spend the night at Allihies Seaview is a wonderful 3-star option with 10 ensuite bedroom as well as self-catering cottages.

Getting to Allihies from Cork City: 2 hours 20 minutes via R585 and R572

13. Garnish Strand, Beara Peninsula

Garnish Strand is located just over 10km from Allihies village.  It sits at the very tip of the Beara Peninsula. The beach forms an inlet within the larger Garnish Bay area and is a white sandy beach with beautiful views over Dursey Island and Garnish Bay.

Getting to Garnish Strand from Cork City: under 90 minutes via R585

14. Galley Cove

galley cove lighthouse cork
Galley Cove lighthouse near the beach!

Galley Cove beach is located on the eastern side of the Mizen Head Peninsula in West Cork, approx. a mile (1.5km) from the little village of Crookhaven. It’s a gorgeous golden sand beach and is backed by a rolling hill – very Irish! The beach is sheltered as it’s east-facing.

You’ll find picnic tables on higher ground behind the beach which offers stunning views.

Getting to Galley Cove Beach from Cork City: under 2 hours via R591

Where to stay in West Cork

  • The luxurious Kinsale Hotel and Spa has great views over Kinsale and the harbour and is a few minutes from the town
  • A firm favorite with locals and tourists the stunning Inchydoney beach hotel overlooks the very long Inchydoney beach and is a short drive from Clonakilty
  • Allihies Seaview is a wonderful 3-star option with 10 ensuite bedroom as well as self-catering cottages. It is located in the colorful little village of Allihies on the Beara Peninsula
  • The Atlantic Apartments in the village of Schull overlooks the sea and is a great family-friendly option
  • Originally an old farmhouse Rolfs Country House in Baltimore that is quaint and family-run since 1979. It’s a great place to stay for access to Sherkin Island

Thanks for reading my blog, Aimee x

Garrettstown Cork Ireland

Thanks so much for reading. I hope this guide has helped you find an awesome beach in West Cork! If you found this blog helpful, be sure to browse around some more! I have guides on Blarney Castle, Ballyhoura, as well as tips for moving to Ireland and so much more!

P.S if you’re planning a move to Cork I’ve written a detailed blog post about renting in Cork that you may find helpful!A lot of the tips in it can be applied to Ireland as a whole so if you’re moving anywhere else in Ireland it will be handy too.

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West Cork is well-known for having the best beaches in Ireland. From the surfing beach of Garrettstown to extraordinarily long Inchdoney beach!
West Cork is well-known for having the best beaches in Ireland. From the surfing beach of Garrettstown to extraordinarily long Inchdoney beach!

What they don’t tell you about moving home after living abroad

I’ve lived abroad for 10 years with stints in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. We’ve lived a great life so far, with lots of exotic travel (47 countries in total!). We moved home to Ireland this July, in this piece I’ll explain why it may have been our hardest move yet.

1. You will always wonder ‘what if’.

If I stayed abroad would I have a better job/apartment/life? Would I be happier? These are the questions you will ask yourself for the rest of your life. Home is where the heart is, and your heart may continue to be in two places for the rest of your life.

The grass is always greener as the saying goes. The sacrifice for living abroad is that your heart will always belong to two places (your home & your adopted home abroad).

As Miriam Adeney says,

“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

2. People will ask you why you left

In our case, moving home to Ireland in the middle of the COVID pandemic – from New Zealand (one of the ‘safest’ countries in the world) everyone though we were mad. In fact, delivery men, shopkeepers, and most strangers we met exclaimed to us “you’re off your feckin game”. For those not from Cork this means simply ‘you are crazy’.

When people react like this to you moving home, you once again question your move – ‘are we mad for leaving?’.

Crosshaven Cork Ireland

3. You will feel different to your friends/family

Having experienced a different way of life to your friends and family you may feel that you don’t have as much in common now as you did before. You had this whole other life abroad – experiencing many different things to those they’ve experienced here at home.

You will in time fall back into a normal routine with them.

No longer is the excitement around the short visits home when you lived abroad. You will slowly move back into an everyday routine with your friends and family. It may be mundane to you in the beginning but it will soon become the norm, a comfort. After all, isn’t it those little mundane moments you missed the most when you were abroad?!

You won’t be the foreigner any more

My accent now sounds the same as everyone else, once upon a time it was a novelty and nearly always evoked the reaction “ah I love your accent”. I worked in luxury hotels for years and I was the designated ‘complaint-handler’ because of my gorgeous Irish accent – nobody could get too mad at me. The American guests especially loved it and a conversation about how some far-away relation was Irish usually followed.

Alas, now I’m no longer the foreigner in the room.

Youghal Cork

You may not feel the urge to go exploring for a while

When we lived abroad we always made a point of exploring the city we lived in because it was new to us. Since moving home I’m ashamed to say we haven’t really explored Ireland at all, obviously COVID has a lot to do with that.

I think it’s different moving to your home country, because you think ‘ah I’ve been there before’ so you don’t bother with the day-trips to other towns/scenic places as much. In 2021 that will certainly have to change!

Someone said to me before we moved home “you have to see it as a new adventure rather than just ‘a move home’ and that has really stuck with me.

4. The first few supermarket shopping trips will be a novelty

I remember for a good 10 years (that’s how long I was abroad), I craved things that are everyday to you – Galaxy chocolate, McDonnells curry sauce, Tanora and so many others. The cost of buying these ‘international food items’ as they’re labelled in the supermarkets abroad is extortionate.

After a few months at home, my cupboards are filled with these cravings for fear I’ll run out.

You will eventually feel ‘at home’

You will eventually feel at home, but still different. Your life abroad is an important part of you now, it’s become part of your personality. When you overhear people talking about Sydney/ Vancouver/ Whistler/ New Zealand (all places we’ve lived) you will want to jump in and proudly say ‘I lived there’. You will want to offer them the insider tips on what to do & see there. But alas, most people won’t really be interested in your life abroad.

Telling strangers I just moved home from Queenstown typically evokes a positive but short reaction. An “ah, that’s a lovely place” type-of-thing. And in this COVID-era it usually includes a quick conversation about Jacinda Ardern. But that’s about the extent of it.

Nobody is going to be as interested in your life abroad as you and your spouse.

Currabinny Cork Ireland

Is it easy to move back?

Moving is always hard but this has been the hardest move we’ve ever taken. Having lived abroad you will see the negatives of being home that others may not see. And on that note, you will too see the positives they don’t see. Like how warm Irish people are, how much better a chipper is here, how nothing compares to a trip to Penney’s.

So, here we are a couple months in to life in Ireland and we’re finally feeling settled. It was for us the hardest country to set ourselves up in – my husband being a British citizen found getting a PPS number, getting a bank account, getting his tax set up a pain in the arse. More on that here.

Currabinny Woods Cork

Abroad you told stories of life in Ireland, now at home you will tell stories of your life abroad. You will always question your move, especially when the going gets tough. Of course you’re delighted to be home among your friends and family. The ones you’ve spent so long away from. But there’s always the ‘what if’ hanging above your head. I’ve heard this tug-of-war will continue for the rest of your life.

So, yes moving home may have been the hardest move yet for us, only because it feels the most final. The end of an era. We have a baby daughter now (and hopefully more kids on the horizon) so the carefree days of backpacking & moving country every few years are behind us.

Right now, we’re motoring through – we’re excited to travel Europe again when we can, we’re excited for our first Christmas at home in years and we’re excited for a relatively normal 2021 here at home in Ireland.

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moving home after living abroad