For the very lucky traveler headed to the rolling green hills of Ireland, you’re definitely going to have your fill of scenic landscapes. Check out the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher and areas of Connemara for a start, but don’t forget to check out its bustling city streets. Dublin, Ireland’s capital and largest city, undoubtedly has endless amounts of attractions to tour. However, Ireland’s second largest city, Cork, should not be overlooked. Located on the southwestern coast of Ireland, Cork city is relatively small by American standards. But for its size, it certainly has fun activities and places to see, which make Cork a must-see for travelers looking to get a feel for Irish culture. Here are some suggestions for places to visit in the city of Ireland’s “Rebel County.”
1. The English Market: Attention, foodies! This is definitely a priority stop that MUST be made when traveling to Cork. The market offers an abundance of culinary excitements that will appeal to everyone. Fresh meats, vegetables, cheeses, desserts and a variety of other delicious options are available. Grab some pre-cooked food for a picnic on a sunny day, or grab some fresh veggies and meat to prepare an inexpensive and delicious meal at your hostel.
2. University College Cork: Even if you haven’t been to college in ages, University College Cork has a gorgeous campus that’s worth a little bit of exploring. The main quad is a beautiful building resembling a castle, while many of the other buildings are stunning modern structures. You can simply take a stroll around the grounds or even visit Lewis Glucksman Gallery, as well as the Ogham Stone Collection.
3. An Spailpín Fánac: An Spailpín Fánac is one of the many fantastic pubs in Cork, but it’s especially worth visiting because of particularly “Irish” atmosphere. If you’re looking to get exposure to traditional Irish music, give this pub a go. Relax with a pint of Beamish stout or a crisp Bulmers, and let the music play!
4. The Church of St. Anne: Located in the Shandon part of Cork, the bell tower is quite magnificent. Climb up to the balcony of the Shandon Bells Tower for spectacular views of the city! If you happen to be in the area around Halloween, celebrate with the Dragon of Shandon Samhain Parade!
These are just a couple suggestions of places to visit, but there are limitless ways to enjoy yourself. The center of town is full of shops, pubs and restaurants—there really is a place for everyone! Happy travels,and slainte!