Renting a car in Cork can be confusing, so hopefully our experiences can make your experience a more positive one.
If you are arriving at the airport (Cork International Airport, aka ORK), there are many options within the airport terminal. Nearly all rental car companies charge renters a €25 charge per rental from an airport location. Companies at ORK include: 353, Argus, Avis, Budget, Dan Dooley, Dollar, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, Irish Car, National/Alamo, Sixt, and Thrifty.
If you are already in Cork City when you wish to rent a car, you are probably looking for city rental locations. In your search, you may have seen a few companies list ‘Cork City‘ as a possible rental location. This is misleading since there is only one car rental company in Cork City Centre, Great Island Car Rental on McCurtain Street. Three companies listing ‘Cork City’ locations are Thrifty and Dollar (in Farmer’s Cross) and Argus (in Wilton). Renting from a non-airport location means bypassing the €25 airport rental fee. In the end, you will need to get to Wilton, Farmers Cross, or ORK to pick up your rental car and get home after returning it. Taxis cost about €10 to €20, depending on where you are and where you’re going. SkyLink Bus travels between Cork City Centre and Cork International Airport every day of the year, except Christmas Day and tickets are under €4 each way. There is usually one every 30 minutes and it is only about 15 minutes drive between the two. It has two routes, making a constant loop and you can ask to be let on or off the bus at any City Centre SkyLink stop (noted on the route details online). Bus Eireann offers routes #226 and #249 between ORK and Cork City and #249 between ORK and Kinsale.
No matter which company or location you choose, be mindful to specify manual or automatic transmission. Most rental cars are manual, automatics cost more. Though it might be tempting to rent a five-speed car to save money, if you are not well-versed in driving this transmission don’t spend your holiday learning.