Why you should go
Cork, Ireland’s second city, might not have the fame of Dublin but it’s steeped in its own vibrant character. The locals might cheekily tell you it is the “real” heart of Ireland.
It’s a city of two halves, divided by the River Lee. The north side is home to the historic city centre, with its winding streets, medieval churches, and bustling markets. The south side is more modern, with a mix of business districts, residential neighbourhoods, and parks.
Just beyond the city, West Cork begins, a rugged and untamed region, opening the door to the Wild Atlantic Way’s scenery.
Cork’s nickname, the ‘Rebel City’, isn’t just for show; it’s a tribute to its defiant spirit during the Irish War of Independence. Today, its waterfront merges this rich history with a dynamic present, captivating all who wander its quays.
The heart of Cork is the bustling St Patrick’s Street, perfect for shopping and people-watching. From there, meander to the English Market, an indoor food market that’s been running since 1788, showcasing the region’s best produce.
Step back in time and appreciate the Cork City Gaol, a former prison turned museum, and St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, a neo-Gothic marvel (and one of the most beautiful churches in Cork).
Don’t miss out on a day trip to the nearby Blarney Castle, home to the legendary Blarney Stone. Kiss it, and you’re said to be granted the gift of eloquence!
For a touch of nature, Fitzgerald’s Park and the adjacent Cork Public Museum provide a quiet retreat.
Cork is a foodie’s dream, with a thriving culinary scene influenced by its coastal location. Head to the Farmgate Café in the English Market for traditional Irish fare amidst the market’s hustle and bustle.
For fresh seafood, the Fish Wife is a local gem serving up everything from calamari to classic fish and chips. Liberty Grill offers brunch that’ll make any morning brighter, while Miyazaki tempts with authentic Japanese dishes.
And for a drink? The Franciscan Well Brewery blends Cork’s rich monastery history with craft beers and a lively atmosphere.
For more things to see and do in Ireland, visit ireland.com/en-nz