Tourist’s guide to Cork, a colorful city in southern Ireland

Cork Ireland is not only quiet streets, harsh castles and ancient sights, but also the center of nightlife with a lot of colorful clubs. It is this unique atmosphere that attracts hundreds of tourists from all over the world.

Cork, Ireland

General information

Cork, located in the southwestern part of the Kingdom of Ireland, is in second place in size. The main distinguishing feature of this city is the huge amount of water – and the point here is not only in the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean. Cork got its name from the word “corcach”, which means “swamp”. Indeed, the popular tourist center of Ireland is sheltered between several tributaries of the river. Whether in a swampy and inconspicuous area. Not only that, several decades ago, most of the streets of Cork were full-flowing canals, and he himself looked like a Celtic version of Italian Venice. Over time, almost all the channels were filled up. Now in their place there are numerous alleys, squares and streets (including St. Patrick’s Street, the main city attraction).

A huge amount of water in the city of Cork

The history of the city began in the VI century, when the enlightener Finbarr, famous in Ireland, decided to establish his own abbey here, which laid the foundation for the modern metropolis. Over the long years of its existence, Cork succeeded more than one generation of conquerors and survived several ups and downs. However, this did not prevent him from growing, developing and playing an important role in the political, economic and cultural life of the island. Moreover, he even managed to visit the capital of the Kingdom of Ireland.

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Interesting fact! The most terrible disasters in the history of Cork happened not so long ago. So, in the 19th century, almost the entire local population died from a terrible famine, and in 1920 the city was completely burned down by English soldiers. Fortunately, a difficult period is left in the past – now Cork bears the title of the most interesting place in Ireland.


Numerous attractions of Cork in Ireland will be interesting to all lovers of sightseeing tourism, because architectural, historical or natural monuments are found here literally on every corner. Let’s get acquainted with the most vivid and memorable.

Fota Wildlife Park

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

Fota Wildlife Park Map

So, in meadows and pastures, grass of antelopes, zebras, giraffes and bison is plucked, monkeys rush along the paths, and kangaroos are so used to the constant influx of people that they no longer run away when they approach. If you are very lucky, they can even be stroked or scratched behind the ear. Only predators stay behind the net in Fota Wildlife Park, but they are also quite comfortable – a large part of the land has been given to tigers, lions and jaguars.

Beasts in the meadow Fota Wildlife Park

There are also a myriad of birds in the park. The most prominent representatives of birds are peacocks, lazily pacing along the alleys and begging for food from the caretakers.

On a note! Most animals living in the reserve are at risk of extinction.

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

No less interesting attraction of Cork is the island of Spike. He attracts tourists with the building of the former prison, which has a long and rather unusual history. Archaeologists claim that in the 7th century A.D. in this place stood a Catholic monastery. It lasted until the XVIII century, when the church building was converted into a military garrison. The next transformation of the building fell in the middle of the XIX century – then they made a prison for especially dangerous criminals (such as Alcatraz). Having existed for more than a dozen years and re-educated more than one thousand prisoners, and it was closed.

Spike Island
Prison cell

A couple of years ago, the city authorities decided to make a kind of museum out of a former prison. In addition to the traditional excursion, everyone can spend the night in a solitary confinement in heavy duty. In 2017, a prison on about. Spike was awarded the title of “Best European Landmark.”

  • Location: Cork, Ireland.
  • Ticket price: excursion + ferry trip there and back will cost 18 € for adults and 12 € for children.
Cliff Ballycotton (Ballycotton Cliff)
Cliff ballycotton

Cork’s next attraction, Ballycotton Rock, is a half-hour drive from the city center. It is an ideal place for cross-country hiking and hiking (hiking). In addition to the beautiful nature and beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean, you can see the eponymous lighthouse, commissioned in 1850.

Address: Ballycotton, Cork, Ireland.

National University

The Irish National University is famous not only for its graduates, but also for centuries of history. The institution, founded in 1845 on the initiative of Queen Victoria, was one of 3 colleges opened on a green island with an educational purpose.

National University of Cork

The college building is located on the edge of a cliff, which offers a picturesque panorama of the Li River. They say that this place was chosen for a reason – for locals it is significant, because it was here that the famous Enlightener Finbarr loved to visit.

On the territory of the Irish National University

The college began its work in November 1849, and a few years later its employees received the first awards for their contribution to the development of mathematical, humanities and medical sciences. During its existence, the institution changed several names and expanded its possessions, becoming a large educational center with separate buildings, a campus for students and its own gallery. Today, the National University is not only the most prestigious university, but also the country’s brightest attraction.

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

Church of Saints Peter and Paul (St. Peter and Paul’s Church)

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

Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Cork

In addition, St. Peter and Paul’s Church is the main repository of marriages, confirmations, and baptisms conducted since 1765. These data are the richest source of information that allows residents of Ireland to track their own pedigree.

Service in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul
  • Address:  Paul St., T12 K8VO, Cork, Ireland.
  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri – 9.30-17.00; Sat – 9.30-18.30, Sun – 9.30-19.30.
Food Market (The English Market)

Shopping enthusiasts simply will not be able to get past yet another Cork attraction – the English grocery market. It is located in the heart of the city and is one of the largest retail outlets in Europe.

Food market

The history of The English Market began in the 18th century with the placement of several food stalls. He was called English as opposed to Irish – he was located nearby, but was considered not so prestigious. Around the same time, the front facade of the building was erected, which has survived to our times.

Grocery Market Tour, Cork

Experienced tourists claim 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 the variety and abundance of food products. Shopping here is made not only by all the eminent chefs of the city, but also Queen Elizabeth II herself (in any case, they say so).

  • Address: 41 Princes Street, T12 RW26, Cork, Ireland.
  • Opening hours: Mon-Sat – 8.00-18.00.
Prison Museum (Cork City Gaol)
At the Museum Prison, Cork

There is another rather unusual attraction in Cork. And do not believe me – 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, there is not only a museum, but also a unique interactive theater. Wax figures placed in chambers and corridors accurately reflect episodes from the life of prisoners. For those who like to tickle their nerves, night excursions are organized. At the entrance to the prison you can take a brochure with Russian-language text. But the most interesting – here you can hold a wedding celebration and celebrate a birthday.

Cork City Gaol Building
  • Address: Convent Avenue, Sunday’s Well, T23 VX25, Cork, Ireland.
  • Opening hours: daily from 10.00 to 16.00.
  • Ticket price: adult – 8 €, children – 4,50 €.
St. Anne’s Church

The city of Cork in Ireland is famous for its ancient buildings. One of these architectural sights is the church of St. Anne, which appeared here from time immemorial (the first mention of the temple dates back to the 12th century). Unfortunately, in the 17th century the temple building was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt only after several decades.

Church of St. Anne

St. Anne’s Church is crowned by a 50-meter bell tower, viewed from anywhere in the city. The bell tower has an unusual architecture – on the eastern and northern sides it is lined with red sandstone, and on the southern and western sides – white. All the facades of the tower are decorated with watch dials, and the spire is decorated with a weather vane in the form of a grandiose fish. This fish is symbolic – it is associated not only with Jesus Christ, but also with fishing, which at one time became the key to prosperity.

View from the bell tower of St. Anne's Church

Today, the tower has an observation deck with a wonderful view of the urban surroundings.

  • Address:  Church Street, Cork, Ireland.
  • Opening hours:  Mon-Sat – 10.00-16.00, Sun – 11.30-15.30.
St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral

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

St. Fin Barra Cathedral, Cork

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

Stained Glass at St. Fin Barr Cathedral
  • Address:  Bishop St., Cork, Ireland.
  • Opening hours: Mon-Sat – 9.30-17.30, Sun – 13.00-17.30.

Holidays in Cork

Despite the many medieval attractions, Cork has a modern and well-developed infrastructure. If you wish, you can find housing for every taste and budget. The average cost of living for two looks something like this:

Room at Ashley Hotel
Ashley hotel
  • 3-4 * Hotel (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 €.

The traditional cuisine of the Irish town is based on simple and even peasant food. Since Cork is a coastal city, dishes from various fish such as herring, salmon, and cod are quite popular here. However, this does not mean that the Irish do not eat vegetables or meat. In any restaurant, you will certainly be offered the main local dish – hearty lamb stew with potatoes and various spices.

Irish Kolkannon

Among other gastronomic masterpieces can be noted colcannon, boksty and white byte. However, the people of Cork love to combine the incongruous. So, in one dish, there may be bacon, carrots and sausages. As for drinks, in the first place – whiskey, and in the second – ale and beer. And, of course, a special place on this list is occupied by the famous Irish coffee, generously “seasoned” with cream and single malt whiskey.

On a note! The city has a lot of cafes, restaurants and pubs. In a mid-range restaurant, lunch or dinner for two will cost 45 €, in an inexpensive institution you will have to pay about 26 € for them, in McDonalds-type eateries – up to 14 €.

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How to get to Cork?

Airport Cork Airport
Cork airport

The nearest airport (Cork Airport), which accepts most domestic and international flights, is 8 km from Cork. You can leave from there for sightseeing by any means of transport – this will not be a problem. Those who are going to go to the city of Cork from Dublin, the capital of Ireland, can use one of the methods described below.


On the route Dublin-Cork daily runs 15 trains. The first flight leaves at 07.00, the last at 21.00. The trip takes about 2.5 hours. Tickets are sold at ticket offices and special terminals. The fare is 20-65 € depending on the class of the car.

You can find out the current train timetables and purchase tickets online at

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Expressway Bus

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

  • Aircoach
  • Expressway
  • Bus eireann

The fare is € 15.60-19. You can choose the starting point convenient for you, find out the exact bus timetable and purchase a ticket on the website

Tickets can be purchased on site, but experienced travelers are advised to book them in advance. By the way, a ticket purchased via the Internet can be printed directly at the bus station – you only need to indicate your order number.

Rental car
Rental car

Dublin is separated from Cork by about 260 km. This distance can easily be overcome with a rented vehicle. To do this, just pre-book a car in one of the many agencies. Travel time is 2 hours 45 minutes. For a one-way trip, you will need up to 26 liters of gasoline worth 27-45 €.

Prices on this page are for June 2018.

Cork Ireland is a unique city that has managed to bring together the main national attractions of its country. And let life in it flow slowly and measuredly, the streets do not shock with the grandeur of the buildings, and the embankments do not delight with the glamorous pretentiousness, that unique feeling of comfort and peace reigns here, which makes us return to this amazing place again and again.

Watch the video: flying over the city of Cork.

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