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Top 10 Things to Do in Cork

Cork is known for the beautiful hills that preserve pockets of Irish history in their valleys. A town meant for the meanderer, Cork's hilly landscapes are topped by many a scenic bridge, allowing visitors to savor the big charm of this small city no matter where in Cork they visit.

  • Cork City Gaol

    1. Cork City Gaol

    The Cork City Gaol is a former prison and present day museum. The prison was famous for a big breakout in the 1920s and today there are mannequins recreating the prison's past.

  • Church of St. Anne

    2. Church of St. Anne

    The Church of St. Anne sits on a large hill, with a view of the River Lee. Be sure to take in the bells, which you can ring yourself. They were made famous by Francis Sylvester Mahony's song "The Bells of Shandon"

  • Blackrock Castle

    3. Blackrock Castle

    The Blackrock Castle is a 16th century castle that now houses an observatory and visitors center. Cork's castle even hosts a restaurant with many diverse options, including meals suitable for vegetarians.

  • English Market

    4. English Market

    Covered markets in the United Kingdom are something of a tradition. Look no further than Cork's English Market to taste local fare from family run stalls, and to sample some of the regions organic products.

  • Blarney Castle

    5. Blarney Castle

    Built by the one and only Cormac Macarthy, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland's national treasures. Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney stone, also called the stone of eloquence, you'll never be lost for words again.

  • Blarney Stone

    6. Blarney Stone

    The famous Blarney stone is found at the top of Blarney Castle. The stone itself is Carboniferous limestone and is said to give the gift of gab to whoever kisses it.

  • Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

    7. Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral

    Built in a Victorian style by William Burges in 1863, Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral is done in the French style that the architect favored. Sunday services occur twice in the morning and once in the evening.

  • 8. Spike Island, County Cork

    Accessible by boat, Spike Island was going to house a new prison and was instead turned into a historical site. The island is well located and was often used for defense. Today it is possible to take a guided tour of the island.

  • St. Patrick's Street

    9. St. Patrick's Street

    Two time winner of 'Ireland's Best Shopping Street', St. Patrick's street was just redeveloped in 2004 and has heaps of Irish labels. Known affectionately as Pana, the high street dates back to the 18th century.

  • 10. Fitzgerald Park

    After a long day of sightseeing and touring, nothing is better than a picnic in Fitzgerald Park. You can also enjoy a skatepark, sculpture garden, and pond filled with water lilies.

Frequently asked questions about Cork

What top attractions are a must-see in Cork?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to go?

    The summer is the most popular time to visit Ireland. In the fall and spring it tends to rain often, but you get to see the landscape in a state of flux. The winters can be cold, but prices are often best.

  • Where to stay?

    We recommend staying near Fitzgerald park. The park borders Cork Museum and Riverview Café, and you can enjoy the Cork nightlife as well as a night stroll through grassy Fitzgerald park.

  • How to get around?

    Getting into Cork from other cities in Ireland is done easily and quickly via the motorways. Getting around the city itself can be done on foot, by bus, or by taxi. Public transportation in Cork is generally run by Irish Rail.

Good to know

  • Language
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
  • Best time to visit
    April-May the weather is warming up and popular Cork Choral Festival takes place with visitors attending from all over the world. Summer is ideal for warmer days and less rain.

Other Sightseeing Options in Cork

Want to discover all there is to do in Cork? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Cork

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 818 reviews

Really great tour! Everything went very smoothly - thought there was plenty of time spent at each place, it didn't feel super rushed. Most of the time is spent at Mizen Head, with short stops at the other locations so plan on eating lunch at Mizen with only tea breaks at Bantry/Clonakilty. Enjoyed the guides commentary along the way. Definitely worth doing as a day tour, wouldn't want to drive those roads myself!

I would highly recommend this walk back in history, both for tourists and locals alike. I will never look at ‘Pana’ the same again. Our tour guide Noel brought medieval cork to life, and added his own personal story to the city he loves…

Marcus was a phenomenal tour guide. He went above and beyond for us! Hope to come back and take another tour with him. It was a wonderful experience and best way to see Ireland!!

Stunning views and destinations, well-paced and worth every minute and every penny! Great guide too.

Very enjoyable experience fascinating what goes into the whole processing of whiskey