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Top 10 Things to Do in Cork

Cork is known for the beautiful hills that preserve pockets of Irish history in their valleys. A town meant for the meanderer, Cork's hilly landscapes are topped by many a scenic bridge, allowing visitors to savor the big charm of this small city no matter where in Cork they visit.

  • Cork City Gaol

    1. Cork City Gaol

    The Cork City Gaol is a former prison and present day museum. The prison was famous for a big breakout in the 1920s and today there are mannequins recreating the prison's past.

  • Church of St. Anne

    2. Church of St. Anne

    The Church of St. Anne sits on a large hill, with a view of the River Lee. Be sure to take in the bells, which you can ring yourself. They were made famous by Francis Sylvester Mahony's song "The Bells of Shandon"

  • Blackrock Castle

    3. Blackrock Castle

    The Blackrock Castle is a 16th century castle that now houses an observatory and visitors center. Cork's castle even hosts a restaurant with many diverse options, including meals suitable for vegetarians.

  • English Market

    4. English Market

    Covered markets in the United Kingdom are something of a tradition. Look no further than Cork's English Market to taste local fare from family run stalls, and to sample some of the regions organic products.

  • Blarney Castle

    5. Blarney Castle

    Built by the one and only Cormac Macarthy, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland's national treasures. Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney stone, also called the stone of eloquence, you'll never be lost for words again.

  • Blarney Stone

    6. Blarney Stone

    The famous Blarney stone is found at the top of Blarney Castle. The stone itself is Carboniferous limestone and is said to give the gift of gab to whoever kisses it.

  • Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

    7. Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

    Built in a Victorian style by William Burges in 1863, Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral is done in the French style that the architect favored. Sunday services occur twice in the morning and once in the evening.

  • 8. Spike Island, County Cork

    Accessible by boat, Spike Island was going to house a new prison and was instead turned into a historical site. The island is well located and was often used for defense. Today it is possible to take a guided tour of the island.

  • St. Patrick's Street

    9. St. Patrick's Street

    Two time winner of 'Ireland's Best Shopping Street', St. Patrick's street was just redeveloped in 2004 and has heaps of Irish labels. Known affectionately as Pana, the high street dates back to the 18th century.

  • 10. Fitzgerald Park

    After a long day of sightseeing and touring, nothing is better than a picnic in Fitzgerald Park. You can also enjoy a skatepark, sculpture garden, and pond filled with water lilies.

Frequently asked questions about Cork

What top attractions are a must-see in Cork?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to go?

    The summer is the most popular time to visit Ireland. In the fall and spring it tends to rain often, but you get to see the landscape in a state of flux. The winters can be cold, but prices are often best.

  • Where to stay?

    We recommend staying near Fitzgerald park. The park borders Cork Museum and Riverview Café, and you can enjoy the Cork nightlife as well as a night stroll through grassy Fitzgerald park.

  • How to get around?

    Getting into Cork from other cities in Ireland is done easily and quickly via the motorways. Getting around the city itself can be done on foot, by bus, or by taxi. Public transportation in Cork is generally run by Irish Rail.

Good to know

  • Language
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
  • Best time to visit
    April-May the weather is warming up and popular Cork Choral Festival takes place with visitors attending from all over the world. Summer is ideal for warmer days and less rain.

Other Sightseeing Options in Cork

Want to discover all there is to do in Cork? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Cork

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 829 reviews

Noel our Cork guide for the afternoon was a joy to be with, his knowledge was fascinating and the way he put it across was both informative and fun. Take the tour on arrival as it adds so much to your Cork holiday. Thankyou Noel.

True professionals in Irish Distillers, John was a fantastic guide. Definitely recommend and make sure to keep up with the guide to get the information that builds an incredible story.

This guided tour was amazing. Jonathan was a wonderful host. He gave us a lot of info about the places we visited. Overall I enjoyed this trip

The guide was very knowledgeable in the Jameson history. The tour was incredible and informative.

Very informative just the right length and saw things we would not have found on our own