Cork. City in Ireland, Europe

Cork - Sightseeing and landmarks

City in Ireland, Europe

Cork Photo © John Finn

Cork

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Cork City -
	Cork
Cork City - Cork. Photo by roaming paddy .
Cork is located on the banks of the River Lee in in the south-west of Ireland. Ireland's second-largest city with a long and fascinating history was especially prosperous in the 18th century, when its butter market was a source of vast wealth. You can visit the Cork Butter Museum to get a feel for the history.

Cork Harbor (Wikipedia Article), the second-largest natural harbor in the world, has long been Ireland's gateway for exploration, emigration, transports, trade and commerce. The charming city center, just upstream of Cork Harbor, is formed on an island created by two channels of the river. With its quaysides, lovely bridges, old warehouses, and the narrow alleys is a pleasant place to stroll around.

Not to be missed are the Crawford Art Gallery, with its impressive collection of 19th- and 20th-century art, Cork City Gaol, a 19th-century prison, and the famous indoor English Market. There are also several museums scattered throughout the city, with most offering free admission. For the best views over the city, be sure to climb the 18th-century St. Anne’s Bell Tower. If you have children, highly recommended is a trip to the interesting Lifetime Lab which is an interactive museum in the old Victorian Waterworks.

The arts scene in Cork City is thriving—there's plenty of exhibitions, concerts, and events. Close to the city is the village of Blarney, home to the popular Blarney Castle with its Stone of Eloquence.

Its mild climate makes the city a year-round destination. Weather though tends to be better from April to September. The Cork City Tourist Information Office can be found at Grand Parade.

River Lee, Cork. - Cork
River Lee, Cork.. Photo by Phil Greaves

Attractions

Cork City Gaol -
	Cork
Cork City Gaol - Cork. Photo by Vincent Moschetti

Cork City Gaol

The Cork City Gaol is a former prison which dates back to 1824 and gives a fascinating insight into harsh prison life. It was initially a Gaol for men and in 1878 it became the women’s prison. The cells are fully furnished in their old style and some of the cells have wax figures depicting prisoners. The self-guided audio tour allows you see things at your own pace. The tour takes about an hour and you do get a real sense of what it must have been like to have been imprisoned there in the 19th century. Wear warm clothes as the building is very cold.

St. Fin Barre's Cathedral

The impressive St. Fin Barre's Cathedral (Wikipedia Article), designed by Victorian architect William Burgess in 1870, is an excellent example of the early Gothic style. According to ancient Irish lure, Saint Fin Barre founded a monastery on this site in the 7th century. The cathedral boasts many interesting architectural details. Take time to admire the stunning façade, the three soaring spires and the beauty of the hundreds of carvings which adorn the cathedral. The vast interior is highly ornamented with unique mosaic work.

Crawford Art Gallery

The Crawford Art Gallery is housed in a 18th-century building, once the city’s Custom House. The permanent collection contains more than 2,000 pieces by local, national, and international artists, covering the 18th century to the modern day. The collection is particularly strong in Irish art of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Highlights include works by Jack B. Yeats, Joan Miró, and Picasso. Admission to the Gallery is free.

The English Market - Cork City
	- Cork
The English Market - Cork City - Cork. Photo by William Murphy

English Market

The English Market, located right in the center of the city, is a covered market with a wide selection of food; from fish, colorful fruits and vegetables, organic meats to all manner of artisan foods. It has been in operation since 1788. The various stalls often offer taste tests that are well worth a try. When you've finished wandering around the market be sure to stop at the lovely café on the first floor - a highly recommended place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

St. Anne's Church

The St. Anne's Church is an early-18th-century church. The interior of the church has a number of interesting features and is well worth a visit. For a splendid view of the city, you can climb the tower at St. Anne’s Church. The view from the top is simply breathtaking. The top of the bell tower, topped by a 3-meter gold fish weather-vane, is reached via the narrow stone stairs inside the steeple walls. On the way, ring the church bells as you pass.

Blackrock Castle Observatory

The restored Blackrock Castle, located on the banks of the River Lee, houses an interesting observatory and visitor center. The castle itself was built in 17th century to protect the Cork from the pirates who attacked the city’s port. While at the observatory you can learn about the wonders of the night sky, send a Message to Space at the Pan Galactic Station and play the The Comet Chaser game to save the Earth. Note that the observatory lab isn't open to the public as it is a working lab. The Castle and Dungeon tour which brings visitors to the roof with the harbor view and downstairs to the dungeon is included in the exhibition ticket.

Blackrock Castle. - Cork
Blackrock Castle. - Cork. Photo by Jonathan Hall

Food & Drink

Known for its own unique Irish delicacies such as tripe and drisheen, Cork is also renowned for its vibrant restaurant culture. The Cork food scene goes back to the 1700s, when the area was famous for the Irish butter industry. The city has a wide selection of restaurants to choose from, offering anything from traditional Irish food to high-end food. You can’t go wrong with a large bowl of hearty Irish stew and soda bread. If seafood is your thing, fresh local prawns, crab, sole, oysters and monk-fish can also be found on most of the menus. For a pint, Murphy’s and Beamish are the stouts of choice in Cork, rather than Guinness.

Cork - Shops
	& Bars Oliver Plunkett Street - Cork
Cork - Shops & Bars Oliver Plunkett Street - Cork. Photo by Le Monde1

Shopping

The main shopping streets in Cork are Patrick Street, Princes Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, French Church Street, and the North Main Street, boasting everything from designer fashion and jewelry to Irish crafts, souvenirs and produce. Merchants Quay, located at the very top of St. Patrick’s Street is, is one of the major shopping centers. Opera Lane, a gleaming covered arcade, is home to Gap, Topshop, Topman, New Look, Tommy Hilfiger and other high-street fashion retailers. There are also a number of large shopping centers on the outskirts of the city. Most shops are open daily from 9 a0 feet to 6 p0 feet with late opening Thursday and Friday nights.

Accommodations

Cork offers variety of great accommodation, from modern or old style hotels, boutique hotels to cozy B&B's, homely guesthouses or vibrant youth hostels, to meet every need and budget. If you are traveling in the summer months from June to September, you also have the option to stay in student accommodation at UCC Campus.

Getting Around

With its compact city center, Cork is relatively easy to navigate on foot. Many of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other. There are frequent bus services to all the city’s suburbs. Taxi services are also available adjacent to the bus station.

Safety

Cork City is renowned for being safe city and it is generally quite safe to walk the streets late in to the night. However, like anywhere in the world you should always keep an eye on your personal belongings and never flash cash or valuables around in public.

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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Jun 27, 2015

Pictures of Cork

St Fin Barre's Cathedral - Cork
St Fin Barre's Cathedral - Cork. Photo by Robert Riddell

Shandon Pedestrian Bridge -  Cork City - Cork
Shandon Pedestrian Bridge - Cork City - Photo by William Murphy

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