Cork is officiallyIreland's second city, but it isaffectionately known by locals as the 'realcapital of Ireland'. It is a city made for discovering onfoot, thanks tothe River Lee which flows around its centre, creating acompact island that isjam-packed with grand Georgian streets, intersected bymedieval alleys andmodern architectural triumphs such as the opera house.
Exploring Cork onfoot will open out to you interesting waterways, livelytraditional bars,modern art centres, historical buildings, fascinatingindependent shops andsome of the best restaurants thatIrelandhas to offer.
Shopping in CorkCork is ashopper’sdelight, not least because it still has a number of thrivingindependenttraders that help set its shopping district apart from theinterchangeablechains that dominate many other cities. Taking a strollthrough the windingalleys around Grand Parade and Patrick Street you willdiscover many quirkyindependent retailers offering vintage clothes, handmadecrafts and bespokejewellery. When the shopping becomes too much there are alsoplenty ofatmospheric cafes to relax and discuss your purchasesin.
Restaurants in CorkCork has the bestfoodie scene in the country and lovers of fine foods arespoilt for choice whenit comes to eating out. It’s not just inrestaurants, however, where Cork’s loveof gastronomy comes tolife: a trip to the EnglishMarket on Princes Street is enough to work up a heartyappetite in itself,with beautifully presented local produce (cheeses, ham,salmon, buttered eggs,sausages and artisanal breads) mingling with quality importslike olives and wines.
Views of CorkSome of the finest views ofCork can be enjoyed from two historic buildings:Elizabeth Fort andCorkCity Gaol. On Sundays the ElizabethFort Market Festival will reward you withmore than stunning views: Irishcrafts, gourmet food and entertainment are also hostedwithin its historicwalls. The views of the west of the city, includingCork’s university, from the old Gaolmake it well worth the bus ortaxi ride out to it.
Sport in CorkPáircUí Chaoimh is a 50,000 capacity stadium inBallintemple. It is the home of theCork Gaelic Athletic Association, so you canalways catch live footballhere on match days or enjoy a tour of the grounds everyMonday and Wednesday.
Nature in CorkWith the tranquil River Lea never far awayCork provides many chances to get away from itall, whilst neverbeing too far away from the amenities of the city. FitzgeraldPark offers tranquillity and natural beauty in the heart of Cork,whilst Lough Park is set around a freshwaterlimestone lake teeming withwildlife just one kilometre south-west of the citycentre.
Enjoy CorkWith a warm welcome on every corner, modern artgalleries, cosypubs, great restaurants, historic buildings, regularfestivals and shops with adifference, Cork has certainlyclaimed its place as the ‘real capitalofIreland’ in the hearts of its manyvisitors.