Visit Cork – Ireland’s best little city.
Beyond the Glass Adventure Tours have been running Cycle Tours in Cork for many years. We love what Cork city has to offer. Here is why you should Visit Cork on any trip to Ireland.
Cork City is a compact city. As a result when you visit Cork it is easy to get around. Cork is Ireland’s second largest city, it is situated on Cork harbour. One of the largest deep-water ports in the world. The harbour has played an important role in the city’s development.
Getting to Cork and where to Stay when you visit Cork.
Cork Airport has flights to many European Airports. For those already in Ireland, you can get a train, bus or drive to Cork city.
When you visit Cork there is excellent accommodation. With options available to suit most budgets. If you stay in the city centre you will be able to walk to most of the city’s attractions.
The Hayfield Manor is a 5 Star Hotel, located close to the university campus. Stay here for a treat when you visit Cork.
There are boutique and 4-Star hotels in the city. The Metropole Hotel on McCurtain street and the Montenotte Hotel are wonderful hotels. Other great 4 star options are The Imperial Hotel and The River Lee Hotel. Bed and Breakfast and Airbnb accommodation is also available.
Cork is a university city with more than 30,000 College students. During the summer months student accommodation is available to rent. This self catering accommodation is convenient for longer stays.
There are budget accommodation options available, hostels and 2 star hotels. These can be good value for those who do not mind roughing it a little when they visit Cork.
Where to eat when you visit Cork.
You will have a choice of amazing food on any visit to Cork. Cork has a long tradition as a food producer. Indeed it was once the largest exporter of butter in the world. Still today Cork produces many dairy products.
Cork has many artisan food producers and as a result is known as the food capital of Ireland. Cork’s restaurants, café and bars love to feature local artisan produce.
The jewel in the centre of Cork City is the English Market. It is in fact a working food market. There is an array of food products available in the Market. You can buy meats, cured meats, breads, olives and dairy products. But most importantly you can sample the resident Chocolatier.
There are fantastic restaurants in Cork City. Paradiso is a top quality vegetarian restaurant. Certainly it is one of our favourites. If you like the taste of Mediterranean cuisine. Then Nosta is the place to go. They use the freshest ingredients and the best meats, fish and produce.
Located on Tuckey Street, is Soma Coffee Company. An award winning café known for their roasted specialty coffee. Lab 82 is a great café. It serves a delicious brunch menu. It is also a great bakery and has amazing coffee. Lastly, we recommend The Good Day Deli’. A popular café, within the grounds of Nano Nagle Place. Particularly known for its range of local, seasonal, organic and fair trade foods.
Cork is home to two Irish stouts, Beamish and Murphy’s. No visit to Cork is complete without trying either of these. They are available in most pubs in Cork city. There is also a fantastic selection of craft breweries in Cork. Two of the best are The Franciscan Well and Elbow Lane.
Things to do when you visit Cork
Without doubt, one of the top things to do when you visit Cork is the Cork City Cycle Tour. It is a gently paced bike ride that also explores Cork’s history and culture. In doing so it reveals a few of Cork’s secrets. The tour visits the main historical sites as well as the beauty spots of the city.
If you prefer a nature tour over a historical tour. Then our Cork Greenway cycle Tour is for you. The Greenway cycle tour is a leisurely cycle on a purpose-built cycle path. It follows a scenic route next to Cork Harbour and also on a repurposed railway line.
Both Cork cycle tours begin and finish in a central location, close to the train and bus stations. Other outdoor activities are also available. We highly recommend the Cork Harbour Cruises. Why not try one of the city’s walking tours, Kayak tours or SUP.
If you prefer to stay indoors you could join a Cork food tour. Also, the Old City Goal is a great destination. The Goal offers guided and self guided tours.
Do not miss Shandon when you visit Cork. Where you will find St Anne’s Church and the famous Shandon Bells. Here you can climb the Bell Tower and ring the bells. Afterwards, continue to the top of the bell tower. From the roof you can take in the views across cork city. Shandon is also the location of Cork’s oldest sweetshop. Since 1929, Linehan’s sweet shop has been manufacturing boiled candy. The Butter Museum is a fun and interesting destination.
Free things to do on a visit to Cork
Elizabeth Fort was first constructed in 1614. Built to protect Queen Elizabeth’s interest in Cork, following the Battle of Kinsale. Later in 1926 it was rebuilt as a stone fort. Soon after, in 1650, Cromwell’s forces re-enforced the fort.
The fort has had many purposes through the centuries. It began as a defence for Cork City. It also was a convict depot and a food depot. Its final official use was as a Garda Station. When you visit the fort there are great views of the City. As well as lovely views of St Finn Barre’s Cathedral. Our guests always love this stop on the Cork City Cycle Tour.
Cork was built on Land reclaimed from the sea. As a result real estate in the city was valuable. Because of this there was very little green space in the city. When you visit Cork today you will see that this is no longer the case.
Today there are great parks and open green spaces in and around Cork. In particular we love Fitzgerald’s Park. This is also one of the best stops on our Cork City Cycle Tour. It’s a beautiful park located at the Mardyke. It has fantastic trees and planting, making it a great place to walk or cycle. There are an array of amazing sculptures including Diarmuid Gavin’s Sky Garden. Also, you will find Cork’s famous ‘Shakey Bridge’. A beautiful suspension bridge, which Cork residents hold dear.
While not an official park. The campus of University College Cork is another must see when you visit Cork. It is a stunning university campus. It contains some wonderful trees, including American Redwoods. There is a wide range of architecture on the campus. Certainly the most beautiful building is the Honan Chapel.
The English Market is an indoor food market. As previously mentioned, it has amazing food vendors. Also, it is home to some wonderful Cork characters. When you visit Cork be sure to visit the English market.
Cork has some wonderful slang. Knowing some of the slang phrases may enrich your experience when you visit Cork. The following is some of our favourite Cork slang.
A “Corkonian” is a person from Cork. You may hear a Corkonian call Cork “Ireland’s real capital”.
“I will yeah” when delivered in a sarcastic tone means No! For example, If you request a Corkonian to lend you some money. If their response is “I will yeah!”. That is to say, you are out of luck.
A “langer” is a term given to a person you may dislike or a person who has caused you some offence. “A langerload” is a great number or a great amount. For example an octopus has a langerload of tentacles.
“Mockea” is a term for something made up or not real. For instance you might hear, Wrestling is Mockea booking. If you want more lessons in Cork slang come join us on one of our Cork City Cycle Tours. During the tours we love to share some Cork Slang.
Cork has always been an artistic city. Musicians such as Rory Gallaher and the sultans of ping are from Cork. As you walk the streets of Cork, you will hear buskers. Pubs such as the Sin É and the corner house, have excellent live music.
Dotted around the walls and utility boxes of Cork are murals. Bringing Colour to the City. You will notice this when you walk around the streets on your visit to Cork.
Day Trips from Cork
Cork is surrounded by fantastic towns and villages. When you visit Cork it is worth taking a day trip to some of these locations.
South of Cork is the town of Kinsale. This is another great foodie destination. It is also the location of two military forts, Charles Fort and James Fort. Another place worth visiting for amazing views is the Old Head of Kinsale.
Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic. The Titanic Experience tells the Irish immigration story. It is a museum worth visiting. Similarly, Spike Island was a prison for convicts. Convicts were held here while awaiting transfer to Australia and the West Indies. It is now an open air Museum.
Midleton is a 30 minute train journey from Cork. The Jameson Distillery is a fantastic experience that you must visit if you come to Midleton. Midleton has award winning restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars. It’s also home to a popular farmers market. The market takes place every Saturday and attracts fantastic artisan food producers.
Blarney Castle & Gardens is one of the most popular things to do on a Visit to Cork. While here you can climb to the top of the Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. Afterwards you can explore the spectacular Gardens. It is worth allowing some time to also visit Blarney Woollen Mills.
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