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Cork (or Corcaigh in Irish), commonly known as a “the rebel county” is the second largest city in Ireland and it draws thousands of tourists to its ground every month. These visitors are keen to experience traditional Irish life and the culture and heritage of this fine area. Situated on the south coast, with as estimated population of around 350,000, Cork city covers an area of just over 37 square kilometres.
With such a great reputation, people often refer to county cork as the “real capital of Ireland” which could be a dig at what some may deem as the commercialism of Dublin. Cork sways away from this commercialism and brings you straight to the heart of Irish culture. A massive part of Irish culture is traditional story telling – the art of talking, and Cork is famous for it. Cork is home to the famous Blarney Stone – a stone situated on beautiful castle grounds. Once you kiss the stone you too will be blessed with the “gift of the gab”. Once you’ve kissed the stone, make sure to take some time and walk around the beautiful castle grounds.
For the food lover, Cork is hard to beat. The English Food Market is a landmark in Cork and has been celebrating local produce for 400 years. The experience of this market is a must when visiting Cork; it is a treasure trove of locally produced specialties and imported delicacies. Don’t fret if you don’t manage to make it as in almost every restaurant in Cork produce from the English Market is on the menu. Jackie Lennox chip shop is a local favourite so if you’re looking for the best of takeaways in town, be sure to visit. And if you want to eat out, O’ Flynn’s Gourmet Sausage company is the pride of Cork. If you want to experience a real sense of food heaven then venture out of the city centre for a day and take a trip to the popular fishing village of Kinsale, known as the food gourmet capital of Ireland.
Cork City Gaol, on Convent Avenue is one of the most interesting places to visit in Cork as you can take an audio tour and walk around experiencing the footsteps of prisoners who spent time there until it closed in 1923. Famous prisoners included Countess Markievicz and the writer, Frank O’Connor. Another Cork highlight is the Blackrock Castle Observatory where visitors can unravel the mysteries of the cosmos during a visit here. It also includes an interactive theatre, visitors are asked to undertake a mission to save the earth from a rogue comet which also provides plenty of opportunity for audience participation and a great family activity.
Of course, no trip to Cork would be complete without a stop off at Mizen Head, the most southern point of Ireland. Marvel at the wonderful cliffs and scenery of this area as the waves of the Atlantic crash of the coastline.