In the third part of our Irish city guide, we’ve headed to Cork, Ireland’s third-largest city. Spanning both banks of the River Lee, there is much to be seen in and experiencing it by foot is highly recommended. So park the car, put on your comfiest shoes and take a walk around this beautiful city.
We have a few suggestions for you in Cork city and then some slightly further afield…
The English Market
No trip to Cork city is complete without a visit to this treasure. The English Market is Ireland’s most famous covered food market. There has been an active market on this site since 1788 but the current buildings date from the mid-19th century. If you’re hungry, rest assured that you’ll find just about anything your stomach may desire, from traditional fishmongers to specialty butchers and fruit/vegetable sellers. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on local specialties like buttered eggs, spiced beef and drisheen.
Blackrock Castle Observatory
Blackrock Castle is situated on the banks of the River Lee, a quick 2km trip in the car from Cork’s city centre. It’s a unique attraction as it combines the best features of a castle (battlements & dungeons), for the history buffs, along with exciting technological advancements and maritime history. There are interactive exhibits and activities that allow children (and adults alike) to explore outer space and alien life forms. We highly recommend this as an essential pit-stop in Cork for families wanting a dose of educational and slightly out of the ordinary fun.
Lewis Glucksman Gallery
This award-winning art gallery is located on the UCC campus, in the heart of the city. The exterior of the building is as impressive as the contents inside, with the gallery being crowned ‘Best Public Building in Ireland’ in 2005. There are many different exhibits housed in the gallery, along with a scenic riverside restaurant. Open year round to the public, the Glucksman Gallery makes for a fine afternoon of culture and artistic inspiration.
Fota Wildlife Park
And who could forget Fota Wildlife Park - this 100-acre wildlife park, located on Fota Island, is a second 20-minute drive from Cork city. A non-profit organization, Fota Park is dedicated to helping people understand and conserve the earth’s biodiversity. The park is home to over 30 mammals and 50 different bird species, many of who roam freely among the visitors. With an education centre, Asian Sanctuary and Cheetah Run, this park promises an exciting day out for families.
The Blarney Stone
Visiting the Blarney Stone is something that features high on every tourists list - but for good reason. Blarney Castle, home to the famous stone, is an architectural wonder but there is much more to see and do, than the pursuit of the gift of the gab. There are magical gardens, wishing steps, a witch’s kitchen and a medieval dungeon, just to name a few. We would definitely recommend a visit to the Blarney Stone, but be sure to save time to explore everything else that Blarney Castle offers.
Cork has always played an important role in Ireland as a famous seaport. There is much to do and see while staycation-ing, but the people of Cork are often cited as being especially lovely and often regarded as the most talkative of all Irish. So what are you waiting for? Learn more about our car insurance ahead of your next staycation here.
If you liked this article and would like to read more of our Irish city guide, you can read on, as we conclude our series with a visit to Belfast.