Planning your Trip
Itineraries and Ideas
Whether you are in Cork for a day, the weekend or longer there are no shortage of places to visit.
The Day Trip
A popular start especially on a clear day is to hike the almost vertical steps of Shandon Steeple to breath in the fresh air and sites from one of the city’s best panoramic vantage points. On the way back down prepare to be deafened in a fun way as you ‘play the bells’ (always great fun with kids). Next door to Shandon is Cork’s Butter Museum.... ‘that’s the best they have to offer’, I hear you say... but trust us, this is a curious gem. Back in the late 18th century Cork was the world’s butter capital as it was a vital ingredient for those long transatlantic ocean journey’s – and the museum tells it’s story. Everyone is always amazed and rarely does anyone leave disappointed. From here you still don’t have to travel too far, for directly across the road are Linehans Sweets which is a traditional sweet maker where they do things in the old style – Be sure to check out the Clove Rocks which are very particular to Cork.
Strolling down the hill from Linehans you cross the River Lee in front of Cork Opera House where you could find the Bolshoi or Bambi in residence depending on when you’re visiting. En route to the Triskel Arts Centre which has recently undergone a fabulous restoration be sure to stop in to the historic English Market where you will be consumed by the freshest of fresh smells as you shop for some traditional bread, cheeses and cold meats. Leading back in to sun light of the Grand Parade, cross the road to Bishop Lucy Park for a little picnic (weather permitting).
At the rear of the park the Triskel is to be found. Located on South Main Street, the original thoroughfare of the walled city of Cork, it is a beautifully renovated 18th church that’s said to sit on the site of an earlier building from the Middle Ages. While architecturally and historically very interesting it’s primarily at night that it truly comes to life.
Leaving the Triskel, St Fin barres Cathedral with its stunning neo-gothic facade is just a stones throw away and is well worth a visit for the serenity and peace contained within its walls. From here we return to war, violence and siege as we return to the city centre via Elizabeth Fort which was used as a base during the Williamite Siege of Cork in 1690. It is also one of the finest 17th century star forts in existence especially when you consider its proximity to the modern day city centre.
By this stage we hope your feet are moderately sore and you are now in need of further sustenance. Many appropriate venues can be found in the vicinity leaving us to just say enjoy and that we sent you!
Whenever we travel away for weekends to a new destination we often tend to do one active day and the second spent sightseeing and trying to be cultural! We would suggest doing Cork in a very similar manner.
There are a number of great fun options out of the city centre as follows;
Kayaking around the city’s channels with Atlantic Sea Kayaking where you are entertained with tales of the city and you can often encounter seals, otters and various bird life. If you want something a little more up-tempo check out Cork Sea Safari. You begin with a cruise down the river past the Docks, the Marina, Blackrock Castle, villages & towns before you hit Cobh and the fun begins. Depending on your tour and time of the year, this can also be a great for watching Dolphins.
Other interesting options available include;
- Horse riding
Now, assuming you haven’t partied too hard the night before! We suggest a big breakfast either in your accommodation or down town and be sure to try and get some homemade soda bread... you won’t be disappointed. Heading out of the city centre by car or bus a great place to visit is historic Cork Gaol with its imposing walls and intimidating environment. Home to an annual international ghost conference each Halloween, the Gaol is renowned for things that go bump in the night!
If you have children with you, highly recommended is a trip to the award winning Lifetime Lab which is an interactive museum in the old Victorian Waterworks. Even mam & dad will learn a thing or two here. Alternatively double back to Fitzgerald Park and a visit to the Cork Public Museum and the associated gardens are a must and if you are really lucky you might catch a game of cricket next door at the Cork County Cricket Grounds where the game has prospered since 1850.
Keeping with our cultural theme, just a 10 minute walk is to be found the internationally renowned Glucksman Gallery located in the grounds of atmospheric UCC (University College Cork). There is also a great restaurant here is you are feeling peckish at this stage. After spending some time here you are approximately a 15 minute walk back to the city centre.
While the Gaol is approximately a 30 minute walk from the city centre, you would need a transport to get to the Lifetime Lab.