Cork’s scenic River Lee runs through its centre creating lush riverside parks to complement its cityscape of warm pubs, farm-to-table restaurants and trendy bars showcasing upcoming Irish musicians. The city’s 17th-century alleyways yield an array of historic and contemporary buildings, along with rich sporting and arts scene.
Things to do in Cork
Begin your Cork holiday within the city centre, where you’ll find the 18th-century English Market. Browse the stalls to find delicious local food, from coffee and olives to meat and farm-fresh vegetables. Just around the corner you’ll find Bishop Lucey Park, which boasts remains of Cork’s medieval walls and multiple grassy spots for a picnic.
A stroll along Cork’s waterfront reveals enticing local restaurants, including the Franciscan Well Brewery and Brewpub, which serves locally-brewed beer in a tranquil garden. Looking for some nightly entertainment? Keep following the river until you reach Cork Opera House, which hosts comedies, music concerts, musicals, festivals and dance.
If you love history, venture over to the imposing Cork City Gaol, where you can take an audio tour through old cells that once housed Ireland’s criminals. Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral is another eye-catching landmark with its three spires and Gothic-revival architecture. Wander inside to see a grand marble nave, intricate stained-glass windows and a centuries-old pipe organ.
Cork is surrounded by medieval castles, including the 16th-century Blackrock Castle and Blarney Castle, which is renowned for its Blarney Stone. Kiss the stone to gain the gift of eloquence, or so the tradition goes. Fota Wildlife Park, about 25 minutes from the city, features around native wildlife, many of which roam freely among visitors.
Getting around Cork
Cork’s small city centre is easily traversed on foot or by hiring a bicycle. You can also use local buses, which service central attractions and outer suburbs. Consider catching a taxi or hiring a car for attractions outside the city.