There is more to the Republic of Ireland than Dublin. If you want to experience the very best of this beautiful country, you should make your way to Cork, which is its second largest city after the capital.
Cork is steeped in history, as the town has survived Viking raids and was once occupied by English forces. The city’s many landmarks are also a testament to its extensive history, which are complemented with fun, contemporary attractions that will ensure you have an unforgettable trip. Take a look at the best things to do in Cork, Ireland.
Explore Old English Market
Old English Market, often referred to as City Market, is one of the biggest markets in Ireland and has been visited by locals and tourists since 1788. While the market has experienced many transformations throughout the years, it continues to delight and excite visitors with its traditional Cork produce and eclectic international foods. You can visit the Old English Market from Monday to Saturday from 8 am until 6 pm.
Friendly volunteers will greet you as you arrive at Fort Camden and will be happy to share its history and even reenact some notable scenes from history. It was originally constructed in the 16th century before being rebuilt in the 1860s.
The same volunteers who greet you are also the very people who recently helped to restore the historic landmark and provide historical walks within the stone walls. You’ll love roaming underground tunnels, walking up and down stone staircases, and making your way across the moat. Your walk will also come to a perfect end once you arrive on the pier, which offers beautiful views of the harbor.
Watch a Show at Everyman Theatre
Don’t be deceived by the Everyman Theatre’s average exterior! The interior is the epitome of luxury, offering stunning reds and golds that are synonymous with the Victorian era. The historic theater is also home to varied theater productions; it features everything from classic plays and concerts to modern shows and stand-up comedy. The Everyman Theatre also regularly plays hosts to numerous international artists and theater companies, including The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Chinese State Circus.
Fota Wildlife Park
Animal lovers should make their way to Fota Wildlife Park, which is located on Cork’s Fota Island. There are many open animal enclosures, so animals can happily roam in the large spaces. Smaller animals also do not live in enclosures, meaning visitors can encounter them almost anywhere within the park.
Cork City Gaol
If you need a little inspiration regarding what to do in Cork, consider a trip to Cork City Gaol. The prison originally opened in 1824 and housed both male and female prisoners until 1923. Due to neglect, the prison deteriorated after its closure, but it was restored in 1993 and opened as a public tourist attraction for people who want to learn more about Cork’s history.
Located a stone’s throw away from the city center is Fitzgerald Park, which was named after Edward Fitzgerald, who once served as Lord Mayor. The tranquil park offers attractive views of the River Lee and features exquisite fountains, tree-lined walking trails, a children’s playground, and a café. There is also a small museum located inside the park, which allows visitors to learn more about the city’s history.
St Fin Barre’s Cathedral
St Fin Barre’s Cathedral is a must-visit landmark when in Cork, offering neo-gothic style architecture that was inspired by French churches. It is also home to the largest organ in Ireland and features multiple stained-glass windows. There is even an option to enjoy a guided tour of the cathedral, so visitors can learn more about the building’s hidden history.
Escape the buzz of the city by visiting Blarney Castle, which is surrounded by tranquil gardens. The historic castle also features elements that date back to the 1200s, and it is most famous for being home to the ‘stone of eloquence,’ which is thought to provide those who kiss it with the ‘gift of the gab.’
The Crawford Art Gallery
The Crawford Art Gallery is home to a wide variety of artworks, which range from classical paintings to modern video installations. Each is presented in stunning surroundings, and the exhibitions are rotated frequently, meaning each visit will be different from the last. There’s also a café on-site, so it’s the perfect place to recharge your batteries with lunch or tea and cake that’s served on vintage china.