County Cork

County Cork


Cork is the second largest city in Ireland after Dublin. During the day it is a strict business center, but at dusk it transforms into a nightlife center with a huge selection of Irish pubs and clubs. Tourists come to the county capital of Cork to see its many churches, breweries and the main attraction, Blarney Castle. Inside it there is a boulder, which, according to legend, you get the gift of luck and eloquence when you kiss it.

Geography and Climate of Cork

The city is located in the southwestern part of the Irish Island, 20 km from the Atlantic Ocean. A map of Ireland shows that Cork is connected to the sea by the narrow Passage West channel. It itself was founded on the River Lee. Its center is surrounded by its North and South Canal. This location gives the city a unique landscape.

Cork is characterized by a temperate oceanic climate influenced by the North Atlantic Current. The best time to visit it is from July to August. Summers in Cork, like other Irish cities, are mild and non-rainy, with average temperatures of +17-18 °C. In winter it’s humid, but not cold (+3-4 °C).

Cork on a map of Ireland.

History of Cork

The city was founded in the 6th century by St. Finbarr. It was he who laid the church on one of the banks of the River Lee, from which the construction of the future county of Cork began. Until recently, some of the city’s streets were river channels along which merchants’ warehouses and dwellings were located. Even its name the city of Cork in Ireland, the photo of which you can see below, got because of the marshy terrain. In Irish “sorcaigh” means “marsh”.

The modern capital of County Cork is a beautiful prosperous city. As of 2001, 119,000 people live here. The postal code of Cork is T12, T21 and T23.

Attractions and attractions in Cork

Unlike other European cities, the county cannot boast a great variety of ancient monuments of architecture. But even without them, tourists have a lot to see in the city of Cork in Ireland. Gregorian architecture and narrow lanes create an atmosphere that encourages long walks. The most famous attractions in Cork, Ireland are:

Some famous structures are used to house offices, restaurants, or private residences. For example, Blackrock Castle in Cork houses an observatory.

In addition to sightseeing, the city offers golf, horseback riding, or picnicking, feeding swans, ducks, and geese. The most famous festival in County Cork is the Jazz Festival and the Beer Festival.

Blackrock Castle, Croke

Cork Hotels

There is a wide variety of options for temporary housing in the city. Some of the most expensive hotels in Cork, Ireland are:

  • The Metropole;
  • Cork International;
  • The River Lee;
  • The Imperial;
  • The Kingsley.

They offer guests a swimming pool, free Internet, restaurant and parking. They cost $125 to $192 per night. Rooms at hostels like Bru, Kinlay, or Oscars cost $45 to $63.

The River Lee Hotel, Cork

Restaurants in Cork

Simple, rustic food is the mainstay of local cuisine. Due to the fact that Cork is located in the coastal region of Ireland, the menu of local establishments mostly includes dishes with salmon, cod and other fish. See for yourself at the following restaurants:

  • Greenes;
  • Electric;
  • Gallaghers;
  • Quinlans;
  • The Oliver Plunkett.
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In addition, they serve lamb, bacon, sausages, and potatoes. Highlights include boksti fritters, white bytes pickled herring, and mashed potato and cabbage kolkannon.

The Greenes Restaurant, Cork

Shopping in Cork

The city has a large selection of modern shopping centers and small souvenir stores. The most famous place for shopping in Cork, Ireland is considered to be Coal Quay Market. Here there are many stores where you can buy clothes, shoes or accessories. Other equally famous shopping centers are:

  • Mahon Point;
  • Douglas Village;
  • Wilton;
  • English Market;
  • Merchants Quay.

Souvenirs from Cork, Ireland include figurines, trinkets, or ceramics decorated with green shamrocks and Irish whiskey or Baileys milk liquor.

English Market, Cork

Transport in Cork

The city has a well-developed transport infrastructure. There is an airport 8 km south of Cork, which connects it with cities in Ireland and other countries. North of the River Lee is the Kent railway station with trains from Dublin, Killarney and Limerick. About 22 km from Cork is located cruise port Cove, which annually receives up to 60 liners with tens of thousands of passengers.

It is easier to move around the city on foot or by cab. For the convenience of tourists in the capital of county Cork there are agencies where you can rent a bike or a car.

Cove Cruise Port, Cork

How to get to Cork?

The city is located in the south-west of the country about 250 km from the capital. Tourists interested in how to get from Dublin to Cork can use air, rail or road. Aer Lingus, British Airways and Flybe all depart from Dublin Airport daily.

The Cork/Mallow Service train leaves from Houston Station in Dublin and arrives in the county capital of Cork in 3 hours. The fare is $76. Eireann buses will take you from the Irish capital to Cork for $18 and 4 hours.

Cork – a colorful city in the south of Ireland

Cork Ireland – this is not only quiet streets, rugged castles and ancient sights, but also the center of nightlife with a lot of colorful clubs. It’s this unique atmosphere that draws hundreds of tourists from all corners of the earth.

Cork, Ireland

General Info

Cork, located in the southwest part of the Irish Kingdom, is the second largest city. The main distinctive feature of this city is considered a huge amount of water – and it’s not just because of the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean. Cork got its name from the word “corcach”, which means “marsh”. And indeed, a popular tourist center of Ireland is nestled between several tributaries of the River Lee in a swampy and unremarkable area. Not only that, a few decades ago most of the streets of Cork were full-flowing canals, and it looked like a Celtic version of Italian Venice. Over time, almost all the canals have been filled in. Now in their place are numerous alleys, squares and streets (including St. Patrick Street, the city’s main attraction).

The City of Cork's abundance of water

The history of the city dates back to the 6th century, when Finbarr, a famous educator in Ireland, decided to found his own abbey here, which laid the foundation for the modern metropolis. Over the years, Cork has seen more than one generation of conquerors and has had its share of ups and downs. But that hasn’t stopped it from growing, developing and playing an important role in the island’s political, economic and cultural life. Not only that, it even managed to be the capital of the Kingdom of Ireland.

Interesting fact! The worst disasters in the history of Cork happened not so long ago. In XIX century, for example, almost the entire local population died of terrible famine, and in 1920 the city was completely burned by English soldiers. Luckily, the bad times are now behind us, and Cork is now Ireland’s most interesting place to visit.


Cork’s many attractions in Ireland will appeal to all sightseeing enthusiasts, as architectural, historical or natural monuments are found literally on every corner here. Let’s get acquainted with the most striking and memorable ones.

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Cork’s first attraction, Fota Wildlife Park, is located on the island of the same name a few kilometers from the city center. A huge number of wild animals live on the territory of the reserve, which occupies an area of 29 hectares. Most of them (mostly those that do not pose a threat to life and health of visitors) move through the park without any restrictions.

Map of the Fota Wildlife Park

For example, antelopes, zebras, giraffes and bison nibble on the meadows and pastures, monkeys scurry along the paths, and kangaroos are so accustomed to the constant influx of people that they no longer run away when they approach. If you’re very lucky, you can even pet them or scratch behind their ears. In Fota Wildlife Park only carnivores live behind the net, but they are quite comfortable – tigers, lions and jaguars have a lot of land at their disposal.

Beasts in the Meadow Fota Wildlife Park

There are also a lot of birds in the park. The most striking birds are peacocks that lazily stroll along the alleys and beg for food from rangers.

Look out! Most of the animals living on the territory of the reserve are threatened with extinction.

  • Address: Fota Island, Cork, Ireland.
  • Opening hours: Mon-Sat – 10.00 – 18.00; Sat – 10.30 – 18.00.

No less interesting place of interest in Cork is Spike Island. It attracts tourists with the building of the former prison, which has a long and rather unusual history. Archaeologists say that in the VII century AD there was a Catholic monastery. It existed until the XVIII century, when the church building was converted into a military garrison. The next transformation of the building fell on the middle of XIX century – then it turned into a prison for particularly dangerous criminals (Alcatraz). After more than a dozen years and the re-education of more than a thousand prisoners, it was closed.

Spike Island Jail cell

A couple of years ago, city officials decided to turn the former prison into a kind of museum. In addition to the traditional guided tour, anyone can spend the night in a high-security solitary confinement cell. In 2017, the Spike Island Jail was awarded the title “Europe’s Best Landmark.

  • Location: Cork, Ireland.
  • Ticket price: The tour + round trip ferry ride will cost 18€ for adults and 12€ for children.

Ballycotton Cliff

Cork’s next attraction, Ballycotton Cliff, is a half-hour drive from the city center. It’s an ideal place for cross-country walking and hiking. In addition to the natural beauty and the beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean, you can see the lighthouse of the same name, commissioned in 1850.

Underground River Puerto Princesa

Address: Ballycotton, Cork, Ireland.

The Irish National University is famous not only for its graduates but also for its centuries-long history. The institution, founded in 1845 on the initiative of Queen Victoria, was among 3 colleges opened on the green island for educational purposes.

National University of Cork

The college building sits on the edge of a cliff with a picturesque panorama of the River Lee. It is said to be an important landmark for locals because it was a place where Finbarr, the educator you already know, loved to visit.

On the campus of Irish National University

The college began operating in November 1849, and within a few years its faculty had already received their first awards for contributions to the mathematical, humanities, and medical sciences. Over the course of its existence, the institution has changed several names and expanded its holdings to become a major academic center with separate buildings, a campus for students, and its own gallery. Nowadays the National University is not only the most prestigious high school but also the brightest landmark of the country.

Address: University College Cork, Western road, Cork, Ireland.

Looking through the photos of Cork in Ireland, you will surely notice the Cathedral of St. Paul and St. Peter, located near the main street. It is one of the most important public buildings of the city, because in addition to its main function, it has great architectural significance.

Saints Peter and Paul Church, Cork

Among other things, St. Peter and Paul’s Church is the main repository of data on marriages, confirmations, and baptisms conducted since 1765. This data is a rich source of information that allows people in Ireland to trace their own ancestry.

Shoppers simply can’t pass up another Cork attraction: the English Food Market. It is located in the heart of the city and is among the largest retail outlets in Europe.

Food Market

The history of The English Market began in the XVIII century with the placement of several grocery stores. It was called English in opposition to the Irish one – the latter was located nearby, but wasn’t considered so prestigious. Around the same time, the facade of the building was built and survived to this day.

Hike through a food market, Cork

Experienced tourists say that you can admire the market not only from the outside, but also from the inside. Today The English Market continues to delight visitors with variety and abundance of food products. Not only all the famous chefs of the city, but also Queen Elizabeth II herself make purchases here (at least so they say).

  • Address: 41 Princes Street, T12 RW26, Cork, Ireland.
  • Open Mon-Sat 8.00-18.00.

Museum Jail, Cork

There is another rather unusual sight in Cork. And you won’t believe it – the dungeon again! This time we are talking about the old women’s prison Cork City Gaol, located on Convent Avenue. Now on the site of the restored building is not only a museum, but also a unique interactive theater. The wax figures in the cells and corridors accurately depict episodes from the life of prisoners. Night tours are organized for those who like to tickle their nerves. At the entrance to the prison, you can pick up a brochure with a Russian-language text. But the most interesting thing is that you can hold a wedding celebration and a birthday party here.

Mosi-Oa-Tunya, Victoria Falls

The city of Cork in Ireland is famous for its ancient structures. One of such architectural sights is St. Anne’s Church, which appeared here from time immemorial (the first mention of the temple dates back to the 12th century). Unfortunately, in the 17th century, the church was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt only a few decades later.

St. Anne's Church

St. Anne’s Church is crowned with a 50-meter bell tower, visible from any point of the city. The bell tower has an unusual architecture – it’s clad in red sandstone on the east and north sides and white on the south and west sides. All the facades of the tower are decorated with clock faces, and the spire is adorned with a weathervane in the shape of a grandiose fish. This fish is symbolic – it is associated not only with Jesus Christ, but also with the trade, which at one time was the key to prosperity.

View from the bell tower of St Anne's Church

Today, the tower has an observation deck that offers a wonderful view of the city’s surroundings.

  • Address: Church Street, Cork, Ireland.
  • Open Mon-Sat 10.00-16.00, Sundays 11.30-15.30.

The Cathedral of Cork is named after its main protector. According to old legends, the temple was built on the very site where the monastery of St. Finbarr was located. The church building was rebuilt several times until it was completely destroyed in 1862. The old building was replaced by a new one by the English architect William Burgess. The result of the construction, which lasted 15 years, was the imposing and incredibly beautiful St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

St Fin Barre Cathedral, Cork

The British variation of classical neo-Gothic looks rather austere, and the gray limestone, which became the main building material, makes the church look like one of the medieval castles. The official impregnability of the Cathedral is diluted only by marble and bright stained-glass windows.

Holidays in Cork

Despite its many medieval sites, Cork has a modern and well-developed infrastructure. There’s accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. The average cost of living for two looks like this:

  • Hotel 3-4* (Killarney Guest House, Ashley Hotel, Hotel Isaacs Cork, Imperial Hotel Cork City, Ambassador Hotel & Health Club, The Metropole Hotel, Cork International Hotel, Radisson BLU Hotel & Spa) – from 100 to 230€;
  • Apartments (Abbeyville Apartments) from 65€;
  • Hostel (Sheilas Tourist Hostel, Cork International Hostel, Oscar’s Hostel) – from 30 to 55 €.

Traditional cuisine of the Irish city is based on simple and even rustic food. Since Cork is a coastal city, various fish dishes – herring, salmon and cod – are quite popular here. However, this does not mean that Irish people do not eat vegetables or meat. At any restaurant you will certainly be offered the main local dish – hearty mutton stew with potatoes and various spices.

Irish Colcannon


Other gastronomic masterpieces include Colcannon, Boksti and White Bytes. However, the people of Cork love to combine the incongruous. For example, bacon, carrots and sausages can be in the same dish. As for drinks, the first place is occupied by whiskey, and the second – by ale and beer. And of course, a special place in this list belongs to the famous Irish coffee generously “flavored” with cream and single malt whiskey.

Just a side note! There are quite a few cafes, restaurants and pubs in the city. A mid-range restaurant will charge you 45€ for a dinner for two, a cheap one will cost you about 26€, a McDonalds-type restaurant will charge you up to 14€.

How do I get to Cork?

Cork Airport

Cork Airport

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The nearest airport (Cork Airport), which handles most domestic and international flights, is located 8 km from Cork. You can leave by any means of transport for local sightseeing – it won’t be a problem. Those who are going to travel to Cork from Dublin, the capital of Ireland, can use one of the methods described below.

There are 15 trains daily on the Dublin-Cork route. The first train departs at 07:00 and the last one at 21:00. The duration of the trip is about 2.5 hours. Tickets are sold at ticket offices and special terminals. The cost of the trip is 20-65 € depending on the class of the carriage.

You can find out the current train schedule and buy tickets online at

Expressway bus

Bus services between Dublin and Cork are provided by several operators:

  • Aircoach
  • Expressway
  • Bus Eireann.

Fares range from €15.60 to €19. You can choose your preferred starting point, find out the exact bus timetable and buy your ticket at

You can buy tickets on the spot, but experienced travelers advise to order them in advance. By the way, a ticket bought online can be printed directly at the bus station – you only need to specify your order number.

Hired car

The distance between Dublin and Cork is about 260 kilometers. This distance can be easily overcome by rented transport. To do this, just book a car in advance in one of the many agencies. The travel time is 2 hours. 45 minutes. For a one way trip you need up to 26 liters of gasoline at a cost of 27-45 €.

The prices on the page are for June 2018.

Cork Ireland is a unique city that manages to bring together the main national attractions of its country. It’s a city where life is slow and unhurried, its streets are not spectacular and its waterfronts are not glamorous, but it has that unique sense of comfort and calm that keeps us coming back again and again.

Watch the video: A flight over the city of Cork.

Author: Olga Musienko

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The information about Cork is not bad, but! The first photo under the header is not a view of Cork, it is the town of Cobh, formerly Queenstown (until 1922), a small, famous and very beautiful town. It is 22 km from Cork. A major port for ocean liners. It was in Queenstown Bay that the Titanic made its last stop in 1912. The photo is of St. Colman’s Cathedral and Cove Quay, which is in County Cork, which is not the same thing.

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