Cork is one of the most cultural spots in Ireland, rivalling the actual capital of Dublin. It’s a fantastic place to visit for its creative scene and its vibrancy, with music, arts, and restaurants in abundance. Drive onto the ferry at Swansea for an Irish treat, or drive down to Cork from the ferry ports at Dublin or Rosslare – there’s so much choice when it comes to ferries to Ireland.
The city centre is a great place to explore by foot. Surrounded by the River Lee, Cork is an island filled with picturesque parades dating back to Georgian times, with narrow, winding alleyways next to contemporary buildings. Since 2005, when Cork was named as the European Capital of Culture, the city has had a cash injection which has seen bars and restaurants pop up all over, as well as cultural buildings such as the opera house and various arts houses. But there’s still a sense of tradition there, with classic Irish pubs and local colour. The city itself has been constructed on top of water, much like Venice, and a great many bridges are littered around the city centre, which gives the place an air of the continent.
There are some excellent restaurants, as Cork is famed for its local cuisine. Take a trip to the local English Market, which has an abundance of foods from across the globe. For a taste of Cork’s history, visit St Finbarr’s Catherdral, which is a gorgeous example of Gothic architecture, particularly the spires. Another great cultural destination is St Anne’s Cathedral, home the Sharon Bells. The tower dates back over three-hundred years.
One of the most visited tourist stops in Cork is Blarney Castle, where you’ll find the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that those who give the stone a kiss will be blessed with the gift of eloquence!
If you’re interested in local culture, there are plenty of museums and galleries to visit. And if you go on holiday to shop, then Cork is great for you. Take an afternoon exploring the fabulous boutiques on the pedestrianised Coal Quay, ranging from small to large department stores.
Cork is in County Cork, which is a great place to explore by car. You can drive around the south west of Ireland and see busy cities and tranquil landscapes. It’s the biggest county in Ireland and the most diverse. Spend your time discovering valleys and rural pastures, and the magnificent coastline that snakes along the Atlantic. You’ll find an abundance of rock pools, coves, and deserted beaches just waiting to be explored.
There are plenty of car hire companies if you’re looking to journey onwards into Ireland and you left the car at home. Budget cars and Thrifty cars are the best value for money. If you fancy exploring even further afield, drive onto the local ferry in Cork harbour and you can be in Roscoff, France in about fifteen hours. You will need to book a cabin in advance.
From Cork, you can travel onwards to a number of destinations easily within driving distance. Cork to Limerick is sixty miles’ drive, Tralee is fifty-eight miles, and the stunning Mitzen Head is 190 miles away.