Cork has the second biggest city in Ireland and Cork County is the largest county in Ireland. It is also home to some beautiful scenery and some fantastic tourist attractions so we decided to pick out 10 of the top things to do in Cork below!
Where else could we start a list of the top things to do in Cork but with Blarney Castle and the Blarney stone? The famous stone of eloquence is situated at the top of the magnificent Blarney Castle and folklore has it that anyone who kisses it acquires the gift of eloquence or as we say in Ireland, the gift of the gab! Surrounding the castle are beautiful gardens for you to take a stroll through at your own leisure.
Another must visit during your time in Cork is the Cobh Heritage Centre which is located about 25km southwest of Cork City, in the town of Cobh. Here you are given the opportunity to learn about life in Ireland during the 18th& 19th centuries where mass emigration, the famine and criminal transportation are the main themes. The centre also hosts an exhibition on the history of the Titanic; Cobh was the last port of call before it made its final faithful voyage across the Atlantic.
Known as Ireland’s Alcatraz, Spike Island is also located near Cobh, just off the coast. Originally founded as a military installation it later became a prison which was in operation until the 1980s. In 2015 the island was re-opened as a tourist attraction & it was recently crowned as Europe’s leading tourist attraction. Tours of the island take in the fort, prison cells and the gun emplacements. An after-dark tour is also available for those who would be interested in a more edgy but fun experience.
Of course one of the best things to do in Cork is to sample the local cuisine and the best place to start is at The English Market in Cork City Centre. Surrounded by beautiful 19th-century architecture the market is famous for supplying local specialities such as drisheen (a type of blood pudding), spiced beef and buttered eggs. Even Queen Elizabeth II decided to pay a visit to the market in 2011 to see what all of the fuss was about!
On the north side of Cork city, across the cities famous River Lee, St Anne’s Church constructed in 1722 and is famous for its Shandon Bells tower. The 18th-century bells are still in use presently and are widely regarded as one of the top things to do in Cork. St Anne’s Tower is a distinctive sight overlooking Cork’s skyline. There will be an opportunity for visitors to ring the bells from the first floor and enjoy unrivalled views out over Cork city and beyond.
Blackrock Castle Observatory is certainly worth a visit when in Cork city. The castle is located in the beautiful scenic suburb of Blackrock on the banks of the River Lee. This structure is said to be the oldest still in use in the city and will give you an excellent appreciation of the maritime history in Cork. It is very interactive and features a planetarium, a cinema and a host of interactive exhibits. The village is also a great place on a Sunday between 10am -2pm for the Sunday Market which offers a great range of foods to experience on your way to the castle observatory.
Garnish Island is situated in Bantry Bay just off the West Cork coast. The island is renowned for its beautiful gardens, Martello Tower and exotic plants, most of which are rare to Ireland. A short scenic ferry cruise, departing from the village of Glengarriff, takes you out to the island. One thing to keep an eye out during the journey are the seals who frequently visit the rocks on the southern shore of the island.
For any whiskey fans then the Jameson distillery in the town of Midleton in East Cork should definitely be on your bucket list. A guided tour of the distillery begins with a short film to give you a brief background to Jameson’s history before a guide takes you through the distilling process from the start from finish. At the end of the tour, each participant receives a free glass of whiskey (those who are 18 and over!).
Rounding off our list of top things to do in Cork we come to Cork City Gaol. Located within walking distance from the city centre, the museum gives you the opportunity to see what life was like inside one of Ireland’s most famous jails during the 19th & 20th centuries. Exhibitions including lifelike figures, sound effects and furnished cells make it an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages.
This is a beautiful gothic style cathedral located about 10 minutes walk from the heart of Cork city. Designed by architect William Burges in 1862. It is certainly worth a visit while in Cork and is one of the top things to do. It is constructed with Cork limestone and the interior walls are made of Cork marble. You will come across beautifully stained glass and intricately carved icons in the walls.
The best way to learn about Cork and its sights and attractions is to visit yourself. We offer a range of ways to see Cork from Self Drive, Chauffeur or Rail. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
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