Cork people are famously proud of their city and heritage, and they have every reason to be. As the largest county in Ireland, and boasting a beautiful coastline, there many Cork attractions to offer the visitor. Cork city centre is compact, friendly and caters to the pedestrian, and the countryside is some of the most scenic in Ireland. Cork has its own airport and cheap flights are available all year round. You will be spoiled for choice with Cork accommodation, with the guesthouses and B&Bs here providing the best in Irish hospitality. Check out Hotels.com for the latest deals.
Cork city centre has a great atmosphere and buzz all year round. For boutique, designer and high street shopping, take a trip down the main thoroughfare, St. Patrick’s Street, and explore the winding narrower streets branching out at either side. A must-visit is the English Market, Ireland’s most famous covered market. The market specialises in the best of local specialities and organic produce, as well as offering gourmet treats and baked goods. Market eateries serve up some of the best food in Cork and are great spots to people-watch. The Farmgate Restaurant and Café on the first floor, overlooking the market gallery, provides a bird’s eye view of the floor below.
Cork is a student city, which gives it a particular energy. Visit University College Cork (UCC) campus, which is a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre and take in the historic quad, stroll around the beautiful grounds, and peruse the Glucksman Art Gallery, which is on campus and free of charge. Close to the university you will find the impressive St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, dating back to the 1860s, in one of the older parts of the city. Looming on a hill, and with a particularly haunting presence, St. Fin Barre’s is definitely worth a visit.
A great way to see the city is to take one of the ‘hop on, hop off’ bus tours which cover inner city tourist sights such as the historical Cork City Gaol and Shandon Butter Museum, as well as attractions on the outskirts, such as St. Fin Barre’s and the Blackrock Castle Observatory. After dark, Cork comes alive. The city offers great choice in bars and restaurants and live entertainment. Don’t miss Cork Opera House, on the banks of the river, which hosts an array of plays, gigs and musicals for all the family. If you want to paint the town red, Cork has some great bars and clubs, whether it’s live music or dancing you're looking for. Venture across the river for some traditional Irish pubs and Cork’s best local beers.
Rural Cork is extremely accessible from the city centre, with many of the best attractions a short drive, bus or train journey away. Fota Wildlife Park, only 15 minutes from Cork city centre, is a great family-friendly trip. Kids will love the open space where animals roam more freely than in a regular zoo. There are some quaint waterside towns dotted around Cork such as Kinsale and Cobh that are perfect for a leisurely visit and to learn more about the history of the area. Also, visit Blarney Castle, a beautifully maintained building built over 600 years ago. Stroll around the enchanting park and kiss the famous Blarney Stone to be blessed with the ‘gift of the gab’ for which the Irish are so famous.