The city of Cork is built on water with the river Lee flowing through the city, with the centre on an island with many bridges linking it to the residential areas to the North and South. There are daily flights from the UK and other European cities to Cork, making it the stepping off point for the rest of the county. It is worth spending time in the city to enjoy its many cultural facilities and its famous food culture in restaurants and bars. The main shopping street is Patrick Street with most other streets leading from there and local buses depart from there. Off the main street is the historic English Market. It is the best preserved Victorian market and has sold food to the population for over 200 years.
Guided Activities you can book:
Travel by bus from Macroom along the hidden valleys of County Cork’s Irish speaking area, the Muscraí Gaeltacht. Visit the artisan producers, and hear the history of the area with its Irish language and traditional culture. Tuesday or Friday 10am to 4pm.
Fitness Level 2. Price €70.
Guided Tour of Cork’s food History with a visit to the English market, to the old area of Shandon, the Cork Butter Museum and food tasting. Small groups only. Days:- Mon or Fri 2pm or by arrangement for small groups.
Fitness level 2. Price €27pp.
Take a guided kayak trip around the island in the centre of Cork city in double kayaks. This trip is dependent on tides and time changes daily as a result. Minimum no people 2.
Fitness level 2
Take a kayak tour from the upper Lee Valley to Carrigadroichead castle …. Trip takes place at 5pm and lasts for 2-3 hours travelling up river in double kayaks to this ruined castle. The Guide will tell of the history of this flooded valley. Max number is 8 people
Price €55 per person
Guided Boat trip on River Lee
– Take a Guided self-drive boat trip for 1 hour from the city centre Quays to Blackrock Castle and back.. See Cork city from the water as you drive the boat along the river with a guide to tell you of the history. Pass the Fords Factory, Pairc uí Caoimh to the castle. Boat with fuel and lifejackets provided, takes max 4 per boat and need booked 5 days in advance.
Fitness Level 2 Price €33 (min 2).
Fly Fishing is a skill which can be learned from an expert local guide. Fish on the bank or a river or a lake. Fishing rods and equipment provided with knowledge of the best fishing spots on the rivers. Local permits need to be purchased on the day.
Fitness Level 2. Day on River. Price €200.
Cork Whiskey Walk Guided
Discover the story and history of whiskey on a walk with an expert guide in Cork city. Visit the site of what was the most famous distillery in the south of Ireland as well as a select group of pubs. Taste a selection of premium Cork whiskeys, a creamy Irish coffee, a Cork craft beer and whiskey pairing, as well as some local cheeses and meats. Takes place on Monday 4.30, Friday 3.30 or by arrangement for a group.
Fitness Level 2. Price €70.
Drive 20 minutes west of Cork city to Inniscarra where the river was dammed in the 1950s. The reservoir is safe for water sports. Kayaking is available for adults (teenagers from 15 years of age), for a 2-hour period. Great place for a party or social event. Supervised but not guided, group rate for 6+
Fitness Level 2. Price €30
Places to Visit yourself in Cork (Áiteanna eile i gCorcaigh)
Cork has many Festivals through the year
- May – International Choral Festival
- June – Mid summer Festival of Music
The English Market (www.corkenglishmarket.ie) open 9am-6pm Mon-Sat Free. Entrance from Princes St, alleyways off Patrick St and Oliver Plunkett St and via the main gates on the Grand Parade. This Victorian covered market was voted one of the best in Europe. It has stalls selling breads (ABC Bread Company), cheese and Pate (Pigs Back), Fish, Smoked Salmon (O’Connells), Fresh Coffee at the Farmgate Restaurant upstairs. Food for a lunch in Bishop Leucy Park across the road, the Market is the centre of the City Food Culture and a feast for the senses.
Museums and Churches (Eaglasaí agus Músaem)
- Blackrock Castle Observatory (021 435 7917, www.bco.ie). Open 10am-5pm Mon to Fri, 11am-5pm Sat and Sun with a Guided Tour at 3.30pm. Admission from €6 – €16 for a family. The Castle built in the late 16th Century at the entrance to Cork Harbour is a small miniature castle with turrets and battlements. UCC put an Astronomy Centre here and has an interactive exhibition on the planets. Great for the scientifically-minded child. There is a cafe and shop in the grounds.
- Cork Butter Museum, O Connell Square beside Shandon Church on North side of River (021.430 0600 www.corkbutter.museum). Open July and August daily 10am-6pm, Mar-May and Sept-Oct daily 10am-5pm, Nov-Feb by appointment. The Butter Exchange was established in this building in the 1700s and shows the history and social life of Ireland from Medieval times to Cork’s development as a trading centre. Admission €4
- Cork City Gaol in Sundays Well (021-430 5022, www.corkcitygaol.com). Open Mar-Oct daily 9.30-5pm, Nov-Feb daily 10am-4pm. Admission €8, €24 per family. The Gaol was built in 1824 and is an example of Gothic-Georgian style building with battlements, towers and a gate tower. It was closed in 1923 and refurbished in the 1990s with an exhibition and audio-visual display. There is also a night tour of the Gaol for the brave!
- Cork City Museum in Fitzgerald Park. Free entry. Open 11am-1pm, 2:15p,-5pm Monday-Friday; 11am-1pm, 2:15pm-4pm Saturday; 3pm-5pm Sunday (April-September).
- Crawford Art Gallery (021.480 5042 www.crawfordartgallery.ie) in Emmet Place off Patrick street, has a good collection of 19th and early 20th century Irish Art. Free entry
- Shandon Church, Church St, Shandon. Open Mon- Sat 10am – 4pm, Sun 11.30 – 3.30pm with last entrance 20 min before closing time. Price Adults €5, Seniors €4, Students €4, Children €2.50 (5 – 15, under 5 free), Family €12 (2 adults and up to 4 children under 16). It is a Cork tradition to walk up to the top of Shandon steeple and view the city. The clock was the main time source in the city for many years showing different times and was called the Four Faced Liar. Ring the bells in the bell tower. The Shandon Sweet Factory makes hand made boiled sweets and is on the street to the side of Church.
- St Finbarr’s Gothic Cathedral ( 021 496 3387 cathedral.cork.anglican.org) has guided tours at a small charge. This Gothic Cathedral was created by William Burges and features magnificent Stained Glass Windows and mosaics.
- Elizabeth Fort, Barrack Street, Cork – This old Fort of the city and its Walls is open Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sat 12pm to 5pm with Guided Tours Saturdays 1pm.
Theatre and Music
University (Ollscoil Chorcaí)
University College Cork – UCC has a Victorian Quadrangle and in the corridor of the Quad is a large collection of Ogam stones (ancient writing) – children will love to write their name in Ogam. UCC Guided Tour from the Visitors Centre in UCC 021.4901876, email@example.com George Boole Tours Monday- Friday 3pm, Saturday 12pm (February – November). Price €2 for adults and under 18 free www.GeorgeBoole.com
- An Illustrated Walking Tour of Rory Gallagher’s Cork – Go into the City Library on the Grand Parade, walk through the lending library on the ground floor to the music library. On the way you will pass a few of Rory’s Fender Guitars. Pick up a copy of the Illustrated Walking Guide to Cork compiled by his biographer Marcus Connaughton or ask to listen to some of his music.
- Guided Walks – download maps and explore Cork City
For younger Children in Cork (Do Leanaí óga)
- The Farm in Grenagh – This Open Working Farm has lots of animals, a cafe and, for those interested in history, a range of old farm machinery as well as an old Shop, Post Office and Kitchen. Take the Cork to Mallow Road and follow the signs for Grenagh. It’s only 10 minutes from Blarney village. www.visitthefarm.ie (021) 4629816 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rumleys Open Farm is only 5 minutes from Cork www.rumleysfarm.ie 021.488 5122 the Farm has a variety of animals, play area and cafe, on the south side of Cork City off the Bandon Road.
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