Cork

Cork City Gaol

Why Visit Cork

  • Kiss the Blarney Stone at the Blarney Castle and get the "gift of the gab" (this is one of Ireland's most popular stops; arriving home, people will ask "did you Kiss the Blarney Stone")
  • It's the Culinary Capital of Ireland - great restaurants, festivals, delicious cheese, the world's best butter (and the pubs here are pretty awesome too)
  • The English Market is Ireland's most popular market with fresh, local products catering to all culinary tastes
  • Walk the streets of this "island city" and enjoy neighborhoods like Shandon and its historic clock, the monuments (like the one dedicated to ex-Jimi Hendrix Experience guitarist Rory Gallagher), the dozens of architecturally-different bridges, the shops and the cafes
  • Attractions like Cork City Gaol and the Butter Museum offer great insight into the city's history
  • Nearby are the coastal towns of Cobh (one of Ireland's emigration ports and the Titanic's last port of call) and Kinsale (known for its culinary expertise)
  • Enjoy scenic drives on the Cork peninsulas of Mizen Head, Sheep's Head and Beara

Cork's most popular things to See and Do

THE ENGLISH MARKET

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Created in 1788 by the Protestant or "English" corporation which controlled the city until 1841. The local gov't was then reformed and the city's Catholic "Irish" majority established another covered market, St Peter's (now the Bodega @ St Peter's Market) which became known as the Irish Market to distinguish itself from its older counterpart. The English Market's mix of traders is as diverse as at any prior time. Meats and fish, herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables, sauces and oils, chocolates and cakes, cheeses and pastas - the Market caters for all culinary tastes. 

CORK CITY GAOL

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A magnificent castle-like building which once housed 19th century prisoners. Take a trip back in time and wander through the wings of the Gaol, accompanied by the shuffling of feet of inmates and the jingle of the warders' keys. The cells are furnished with amazingly life-like wax figures and graffiti on the cell walls reveals the innermost feelings of some inmates. The audio-visual show will help you learn about the social history and contrasting lifestyles of 19th century Cork. Visit and learn about one of the gaols famous prisoners - Countess Constance Markievicz who was sentenced for four months for making a seditious speech. 

THE BUTTER MUSEUM

Located in the historic Shandon area of Cork City, the Butter Museum celebrates one of the great success stories of Ireland - the butter trade. The museum describes the internationally important Butter Exchange in 19th century Cork, the traditional craft of home butter making and the modern success of the Kerrygold brand. In the course of this story, the commercial, social and domestic life of Ireland is recalled. Museum sections include: early Ireland (the practice of preserving butter in bogs, the importance of milch cows in medieval Ireland and cattle raiding); Cork and the Butter Exchange which became the largest butter market in the world in the 1700s. 

THE BRIDGES

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Cork City centre is located on an island that splits the River Lee. There are over 30 bridges spanning the river. Take a walking tour of the city and enjoy all of the bridges. They've got different architectures and designs. Plus the houses and buildings that border the river are very colorful. 

MONUMENTS

National Monument in Cork City

There are many monuments throughout the City of Cork highlighted by the National Monument (located on an area called the Grand Parade next to the River Lee) erected to commemorate the Irish Patriots who died during the period 1798 to 1867. Other monuments include the bronze sculpture in honor of Rory Gallagher who played alongside Jimi Hendrix back in the '60s. 

THE SHANDON CLOCK & NEIGHBORHOOD

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The Shandon Clock on St Anne's Church in the Shandon neighborhood is an icon in the City of Cork. The 172 year old clock is known to Corkonians as "The Four Faced Liar" because, depending on the angle of the viewer, and the effects of wind on the hands on a given face, the time may not appear to correspond perfectly on each face. Strolling through the Shandon neighborhood, which takes its name from an old fort, you can take in the Butter Museum, St Anne's Church and the rest of the picturesque suburb. 

STREET ART

Cork City

From Super Mario Bros to The Rolling Stones to historical Irish figures like "The Big Fellow" - Michael Collins, you can find street art throughout the City of Cork. The best way to check out Cork's street art is strolling through the various neighborhoods. For the best spots, check out the #corkcitystreetart Instagram page. 

Nearby.....

Cobh

Previously known as Queenstown, Cobh (pronounced Cōve) is remembered as the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic which sailed from here on 14 April 1912. Come relive the ship's last voyage at the Titanic Experience where you can experience life on board the Titanic as one of the ship's specific passengers. At the Cobh Heritage Centre, hear the stories of some of the 3 million Irish who emigrated from this port in search of a better life or who had to leave because of the great famine. Visit Spike Island and experience Ireland's infamous prison. The train takes 24 minutes for about 5 euros. The Cobh Connect Bus makes the trip in 35 minutes for 6 euros roundtrip.

Blarney Castle

Kinsale

Primarily, there's one thing you do at the Blarney Castle - you kiss the Blarney Stone.Visitors come from around the world to kiss the stone and receive the "gift of the gab" as the legend goes. At times, the line to kiss the stone, located at the top of the castle, goes down the steps, through the castle, and out the main entrance. Besides the stone, the castle grounds are beautiful and fun to explore. There's the Blarney House, the Poison Garden, the Woollen Shop and more. The castle is just a 25-minute bus ride on route 215 from Cork.

Originally a medieval fishing port, visitors are captivated by Kinsale's beautiful setting, its long waterfront, yacht-filled harbor, narrow winding streets and brightly painted galleries, shops and houses. The impressive fortifications of Charles Fort and James Fort guard the narrow entrance from the sea. In addition, Kinsale is the start (or end) of the 2,500 km long Wild Atlantic Way. It's also known as Ireland's culinary capital with many great restaurants. Kinsale is just a half hour drive from Cork or take Bus Éirann number 226 (with free Wi-Fi) which runs many times daily.

Outdoor activities

Inchydoney Beach
Surfing & surf schools
Surfing and surf school opportunities at southern beaches including Inchydoney and Kinsale
Other water activities
Sea kayaking, SUP, coasteering and sailing are popular along the Cork coast
Hiking/hillwalking
The cliff top walk from Ballycotton Village to Ballyandreen Beach is an easy 8 mile walk with great views; excellent walking trails on the Cork peninsulas - Mizen Head, Sheep's Head and Beara; north of Cork, the Ballyhoura Mtns offer many trails
City walks & cycling
Cork City has 4 good walking trails that take in various neighborhoods in the city. Rent a bike at one of many Coca-Cola Zero stands to peddle through the city.

Inchydoney Beach

Forest Adventures Zipit
An outdoor adventure park for kids and adults; climb high into the treetops, swing into cargo nets, ride a BMX across a bridge and then slide down one of many zip lines