Cork City - Lots to Love

By Jayne Leonard
29 Jun 2015

Often referred to as ‘Ireland’s real capital’ by its fiercely proud people, Cork City displays real character. Explore its fascinating history, traditional Irish pubs, fresh local food offerings and famous English Market. 


If you Like HISTORY, you’ll Love:


Cork City Gaol, Sunday’s Well

Mingle with ghosts and former inmates as you unlock the past on a tour of Cork City Gaol. Get a fascinating insight into daily prison life there before its closure in 1923. Tour the cells - furnished with life like wax figures and original graffiti on the walls; and learn about 19th century Cork through the spectacular audio-visual presentation. Visitors can also visit the radio museum located in the former Governor’s house, which features a fantastic collection of radio and broadcasting related artefacts.


Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Dean Street

In the centre of Cork City stands Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, consecrated in 1870. This listed building lies on a site where Christians have worshiped since 606AD. Take a tailor-made tour of the cathedral and learn of the historical significance of Saint Fin Barre’s, see the architecture of this French Neo-Gothic style building, and witness some of the best stained glass in Ireland.



If you Like FAMILY DAYS OUT, you’ll Love:


CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, Blackrock

A fantastic family day out is guaranteed at the CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory - home to Cosmos CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory Corkat the Castle, Cork's fun and exciting location to learn about the Universe.

Kids will love the opportunity to send an email to Space and track its navigation; or discuss their theories on alien life with Cosmo, a friendly virtual astronaut. The whole family will be wowed by a view of the night sky in the state of the art planetarium; and the cinema sized video screens which allow you to explore the formation of the Universe and discover how life developed on Earth.

At scheduled times daily visitors can take a journey back in time and learn about the history of Blackrock Castle – from the dungeons to the rooftop!


Fota Wildlife Park, Fota Island

Located just 25 minutes from Cork City centre, this wildlife park is home to thousands of animals. Some roam freely so you can get an up-close view of them while other larger animals, including the giraffe and bison, live in enclosures that let you see them in a more natural environment than would be afforded by a zoo. Kids will love seeing all the baby animals, hearing one of the daily wildlife talks or taking part in the many special events that take place throughout the year.

If you still have time to spare after your visit to Fota Island, why not head to Cobh Heritage Town, just 15 minutes from Fota. Learn about the town’s connections to the ill-fated infamous Titanic Cruise Liner by visiting the Titanic Experience Cobh or check out the dramatic ‘Queenstown Story’ exhibition at Cobh Heritage Centre.



If you Like ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT, you’ll Love:


Cork Opera House, Emmett Place

First built in 1852 to house the National Exhibition and later moved, brick-by-brick to a new location, Cork Opera HouseCork Opera House celebrates a rich history of both culture and architecture. Located in the heart of Cork City, this is now a premier venue for some of Ireland’s top concerts, comedy shows, drama, dance, family events and opera! Some smaller scale projects are held in the Half-Moon Theatre, attached to the main building.

Highlights for 2015 include Alan Carr, Hometown, Lisa Hannigan & Aaron Dessner, Shakespeare's Hamlet and events from Cork Folk Fest.


City Limits Comedy Club, Coburg Street

Listed in TripAdvisor’s top 3 things to do in Cork, if you like comedy a visit to City Limits is a must! Seating 200 people, it affords an intimate setting for an evening of side-splitting laughs. Having helped launch the careers of top Irish comedians like Dara O Briain, Colm Murphy and Jason Byrne, the club attracts some of the best local, national and international talent.


Live at the Marquee, Cork’s Docklands

Live at the Marquee is a temporary concert venue, constructed every summer for concerts held in June and July. 2015 will feature performances from the likes of Riverdance, Beck, The Coronas, Ellie Goulding, Christy Moore, Van Morrison and Kodaline. Expect a vibrant atmosphere in a unique venue – not to be missed!



If you Like TO SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP, you’ll Love:


Opera Lane, City Centre

This fashion district in Cork city centre offers a great range of high-street stores like Topshop, River Island, New Look, Tommy Hilfiger and Vila. During the summer, check out the outdoor fashion shows. You can even book a two-hour free personal styling service, available to both men and women!


Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Mahon Link Road

Outside of the city, Mahon Point offers a great shopping experience with a wide range of eateries and plenty of free parking. Featuring over 60 stores and a multi-screen cinema all under one roof - from French Connection to Jack & Jones and Debenhams - it’s a great place to spend a rainy afternoon, or even a whole day.



If you Like GOOD FOOD, you’ll Love:


Star Anise, Bridge Street

With a French-born owner and a Cork-born head chef who focusses on fresh, local and seasonal produce, Star Anise serves fabulous Mediterranean and contemporary French cuisine in an informal setting. Enjoy starters like Katafi Tiger Prawns with a fennel & citrus salad and lemon aioli; followed by mains like Rack of Pork with dauphinoise potatoes, truffled celeriac, green beans & apple sauce.


Market Lane Restaurant & Bar, Oliver Plunkett Street

This award-winning restaurant aims to use fresh ingredients sourced straight from the English Market – it doesn’t get much more local than that! There is something for everyone here with a wide range of delicious fish and meat dishes, salads, sandwiches, special coeliac and vegetarian friendly meals and a healthy kids menu.


Café Paradiso, Lancaster Quay

Open for over 20 years, this vegetarian establishment is something of an institution in Cork. Café Paradiso serves top-class food influenced by local vegetable and cheese producers, in an elegant, intimate and comfortable setting.

From the beetroot, wild garlic, orange & watercress risotto with hazelnut crumb, braised fennel and fresh goat’s cheese to the asparagus, spinach & cheese eggroll pancake with nameko mushrooms, fennel citrus butter and nettle champ, the food here will satisfy even the most militant of meat eaters.


Francesca’s Café Culture, MacCurtain Street

One of the top places to eat in Cork City according to TripAdvisor, Francesca’s serves artisan breads, cakes, paninis and more along with Fair Trade gourmet coffees and speciality teas. A great place to spend a couple of hours enjoying a refreshing mocha and the café’s quirky décor.


The English Market, City Centre

Follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II and take a trip to the English Market, which well-known English chef and restaurateur Rick Stein declared ‘the best covered market in the UK and Ireland’.

Located in the centre of Cork’s bustling yet compact city, the market features a variety of produce offered up by small traders. Browse through stalls of fish, herbs, oils, chocolates, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and lots more! Sample the local flavours, chat to the stall owners and enjoy one of the market’s many cafes and restaurants. 


If you Like GREAT NIGHTLIFE, you’ll Love:


Franciscan Well, North Mall

Built on the site of an old Franciscan Monastery and Well, legend says that the water from the well has miraculous properties, drawing people from near and far. While it’s not certain if the beer brewed here has the same properties, it is a popular watering hole, well known throughout the city for the quality of its lager, ale, stout and wheat beer!


Sin é, Coburg Street

The Irish phrase ‘Sin é’ translates to ‘that’s it!’ ... referring to the funeral parlour located next door! The home of traditional Irish music in Cork city, Sin é features live music every night. Steeped in tradition, it’s a great place to mingle with the locals.


The Oliver Plunkett, Oliver Plunkett Street

This lively city bar features nightly gigs – with everything from blues to jazz, rock and soul. Even if the music isn’t to your liking, you’ll always be entertained in the Oliver Plunkett, where the walls and ceilings are lined with old pictures, photos, Irish quotes, poems and sayings.


Suas Rooftop Bar, South Main Street

If you’re looking for a stylish range of wines, champagnes and spirits and an adventurous cocktail menu then head to Suas! ‘Suas’ means ‘up’ in Irish, highlighting the bar’s main feature – an intimate heated rooftop veranda, the ideal place to enjoy a refreshing cocktail or glass of bubbly.


The Oval Bar, South Main Street

Named after its stunning ceiling, the Oval is one of Cork’s most popular pubs. With an open fire, old fixtures and fittings, a diverse clientele and hidden nook, this bar offers a truly authentic atmosphere and a great night out.


Have you been to Cork City yet? What do you recommend there?


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