The city of Cork—Ireland’s southern hub—is 161 miles (259 km) from Dublin. The fastest way to travel between the two is by train, which offers many direct departures and takes about 2.5 hours.
Because the two are connected by a main highway, another great option is to go by rental car or private transfer. This takes about 3-4 hours depending on your preferred route. Renting a car also gives you the freedom to explore more this scenic region of the country, especially its islands and hiking trails. This 7-day itinerary highlights some of Ireland's most beautiful coastline.
There are also a number of bus departures each day. Depending on departure time, you’ll arrive in Cork in 3-4 hours.
Duration: 2.5 hours
The fastest way to reach Cork from Dublin is by train. With numerous daily departures, you’ll zip through the countryside and arrive in Cork in about 2.5 hours. The ride is quite scenic as you curve west around the Wicklow Mountains. So although seat reservations aren’t mandatory, you might want to reserve one by the window on the left side of the train.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 3 - 4 hours
Another scenic option is to go by car, either rental or private transfer. The fastest route takes three hours and mainly follows motorways M7 and M8 straight to Cork. Wicklow Mountains National Park is worth the detour, especially if you’re interested in hiking. The small town of Cashel is another great stop along the way and includes the popular tourist attraction, the Rock of Cashel.
If you have a little extra time for the drive, there’s a more scenic route that hugs Ireland’s southeast coastline via motorway M11. Eventually, you’ll connect to roads N30 and N25. This drive takes about four hours and cuts through a few of the country’s favorite cities, including Bray, Wicklow, and Waterford. Any of these make for excellent lunch or coffee stops.
Duration: 3 - 4 hours
You can also opt for the bus, but it will take you a bit longer at 3-4 hours. The private company GoBus offers numerous 3-hour routes that include services such as onboard wifi. Bus Éireann—Ireland’s regional bus service—only offers four daily departures which take about four hours.