Cork is the third largest city in Ireland and has miles upon miles of beautiful coastline as it looks out onto the Atlantic. Breathtaking all year round, come here to relax or to explore as there are plenty of activities to be had. It’s one of the more popular cities in the country with a lot of good food and pubs. Don’t forget to visit the castle and kiss the Blarney stone (it’s nearby).
- Hostel Prices: You’ll pay around $20 USD for a night in a shared room and $36 for a private room.
- Budget Hotel Prices: A night in a budget hotel will cost at least $40 and will include a private bathroom and maybe breakfast.
- Average Cost of Food: Lunch and to go meals cost around $10 while dinners at a restaurant with a drink begin at around $25.
- Transportation Costs: Bus tickets around the city are $3 USD each way.
Top Things to Do
- Baltimore fishing village - Take the ferry to explore the islands of Cape Clear, Sherkin and Heir before going sailing, angling, diving or whale watching.
- Gougane Barra – For a taste of the great outdoors, make a trip to Gougane Barra in inland Cork. Walk around the mountains that surround the lake and view the famous site of St. Finbarr’s island. This area is recognized as a forest park and is full of natural vegetation and animals.
- Blarney Castle – Built nearly six hundred years ago, the castle itself is now a partial ruin however at the top of the castle lies the Stone of Eloquence, or more famously known as the Blarney Stone where visitors can hang upside down to kiss the famous stone. The gardens around the castle are really nice too.
- Butter Up – While in Cork, visit the Cork Butter Museum. Here you can learn the process that goes into butter making, a story that goes back as far as the nineteenth century which begins with the Irish practice of preserving butter in bogs.
- Bantry House – Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in Bantry House and Gardens. Dating back to 1740, the house is enjoyed for its art collection and display of tapestries. There is also the possibility of a guided tour. Probably one of its most redeeming features however, is the fantastic view over Bantry Bay.
- The Church of Saint Anne Shandon. Shandon, meaning Old Fort in gaelic, was formed as one of the original settlements in medieval Ireland and it was in 1722 that the Church of Saint Anne Shandon was built. Here you can play the famous Bells of Shandon, watch the infamous clock and view Cork from above.
- Drink Whiskey – For the whiskey lovers amongst you or just the plain curious, a tour of the Old Midelton Distillery will address the making of Irish whiskey and will offer the opportunity to view the world’s largest pot. You get to sample some whiskey afterwards too.
- Doneraile National Park – 166 hectares of deciduous trees, herds of deer and numerous pathways from which to explore, this is a great place to get away from it all. A prime example of landscape gardening at its best, pockets of land have been fashioned into canals and ponds and can be enjoyed on an enchanting walk through.
- The Mizen Head - Positioned as Ireland’s southernmost point, the peninsula is ideally located beside small fishing villages like Schull and Goleen. Whilst at Mizen Head make a point of climbing the 99 steps and suspension bridge and enjoying the crashing Atlantic as it smashes against this stunning landscape.
- English Market – Visit the English Market in Cork city and take your pick from a selection of food from all over the world. An enclosed market, its usage dates back to 1786 and as well as a wide array of world foods to sample from, it also plays host to boutiques and department stores.
- Lewis Glucksman Gallery – Located on the UCC campus, this gallery is a major hotspot for students and locals. It also happens to be a favorite for most tourists. There are three display areas, all with rotating exhibits, as well as a basement café with delicious food.
- Beamish & Crawford Brewery – This is the most famous ancient porter brewery in Ireland. Just across the street from the Counting House, this architectural eyesore offers an awesome tour. If you pride yourself in being a beer drinker, you will love this place.
- Attend a festival – Once dubbed the European Capital of Culture, it’s no surprise that there are a range of music, theater, and film festivals held here annually. To name a couple| From June to July is the Midsummer Festival, which is a homage to the arts. The Elizabeth Fort Market Festival is held every Sunday, and offers entertainment all day, local handy-crafts, and yummy gourmet foods.
- Cork City Gaol – During the 19th century, this was home to an array of prisoners. There is a great audio tour, which features views of restored cells. Some of them even have prisoner and guard dummies. The whole exhibit is slightly morbid.
- Cork City Pub Crawl – There are tons of great pubs in Cork and every Friday night, there is a great pub crawl that guides you through the lot of them. It’s $13 USD and includes 4 shots.
- Cook your food - Supermarkets are the cheapest places to buy alcohol in Ireland. If you’re staying a while, you’ll be able to pick up some reasonably priced groceries here too.
- Have an ISIC Card - To save 20-50% on the cost of admission to museums and other tourist attractions, be sure to present a valid student card.
- Avoid the taxis - While taxi drivers in Ireland are really nice, taxi fares are not. Avoid taking the taxi if you don’t want to pay 15 dollars or more everywhere you go.