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Things To See in Cork, Ireland

The Shandon area of the city is a good place to stroll around to see some of Cork’s main attractions, including St. Anne’s Bell Tower. Climbing to the top will give you a great view out across the city and you can also ring the church bells as you pass.

One of the city’s main attractions is Cork City Gaol in the Sunday’s Well area. It’s a really interesting place to visit and chronicles the history of various prisoners held in the gaol, as well as the history of Cork itself, and the audio tour is filled with tidbits of information.

There are a lot of museums scattered throughout the city too, with most offering free admission. The Lewis Gluxman Art Gallery is located on the University College Cork campus and is a must-see for any modern art fans. From there, it’s a good idea to take a wander through the beautiful campus grounds.

Blackrock, one of Cork’s suburbs, is only a short bus trip from the city centre and is a great place to visit. Not only can you stroll along down by the waterfront, you can also visit the really enjoyable Blackrock Castle Observatory. It’s well worth the €6 entry fee as the interactive exhibits are a lot of fun.

A little futher afield, the village of Blarney is well worth a visit. Hugely popular with tourists, this picturesque Irish village is only a short trip from Cork city centre and is home to Blarney Castle. This castle hosts one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions, the Blarney Stone. One kiss to this fabled Stone and you’ll receive the gift of the gab.

Attractions in Cork

  • Blackrock Castle Observatory

    Castle Road, Blackrock, Cork, Ireland

    This high tech exhibit asks for a lot of audience participation and is really good fun. Plus you can help to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos. In the interactive theatre, visitors are asked to undertake a mission to save the earth from a rogue comet.

    Open Mon−Fri 10am−5pm, Sat−Sun 11am−5pm.

  • The Beamish Brewery

    South Main Street, Cork, Ireland

    Brewed exclusively in Cork, Beamish Stout is exported to over 30 countries worldwide. Guided tours of the Beamish and Crawford Brewery take about an hour and end with a free pint of Beamish.

    Tours depart Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10.30am and 12pm.

  • St. Finbarr's Cathedral

    Bishop Street, Cork, Ireland

    Marking the spot chosen by the Irish saint back in 600AD the current building dates from 1880 and is certainly one of the jewels in Cork’s architectural crown. Dominating the city’s skyline it is an excellent example of the early Gothic style and is guaranteed to impress.

  • Crawford Art Gallery

    Emmet Place, Cork, Ireland

    Home to one of the most exclusive art collections in Ireland, this gallery exhibits a collection of pieces by local, national and international artists. Over 2,000 works of art make up the gallery's permanent collection. On the second floor, some of the displays are dedicated to Irish writers. Admission is free.

    Open Mon−Sat 10am−5pm.

  • St. Anne's (Shandon) Church

    Church Street, Cork, Ireland

    For a wonderful view of the entire city, you can climb the
    tower at St Anne’s Church, Shandon. The 40 meter ascent takes you up a narrow, winding staircase. On the
    way, ring the church bells as you pass but don’t forget to don the protective gear provided.

    Open Mon−Sat, Nov−Easter 10am−3pm, Easter to Nov 9.30am−5.30pm.

  • Old English Market

    Grand Parade, Cork, Ireland

    The Old English Market is one of Cork’s most well−known attractions and has been in operation since 1788. An indoor market consisting of a warren of different counters, there's a huge selection of foodstuffs on offer. Don't forget to check out the Market Street Parade, which is filled with small shops. It's a great place to find vintage and retro clothes, as well as yarn, jewellery, crafts and gifts.

    Open Mon−Sat 9.30am−5.30pm.

  • Coal Quay Market

    Cornmarket Street, Cork, Ireland

    Made up of various stalls lining the street, Coal Quay Market is so named because of its historical association with Cork's coal suppliers. Here vendors sell everything from alternative clothing to watches to jewellery to flowers.

    Open Saturdays, 9am−4.30pm.

  • Cork Public Museum

    Fitzgerald Park, Cork, Ireland

    At one time the Cork Public Museum, built in 1845, was
    home to the Beamish family. Located in Fitzgerald Park, the museum offers free admission and now houses some of Ireland’s most important archaeological discoveries.

    Open Mon−Fri 11am−5pm, Sat 11am−1pm 2.15pm−4pm, Sun (Apr−Sept) 3pm−5pm; admission free.

  • University College Cork

    Western Road, Cork, Ireland

    The university in Cork is a central part of the city and dates from 1845. Surrounded by wonderful gardens and wooded areas, organised tours are available but many like to stroll around at their own pace checking out the Crawford Observatory, the Stone Corridor and the Honan Chapel as they explore the campus.

  • Cork City Gaol

    Convent Avenue, Sunday's Well, Cork, Ireland

    Without a doubt, this is one of the most interesting places to visit in Cork. Follow the audio tour in the footsteps of prisoners who spent time in the gaol until it finally closed in 1923. Famous prisoners included Countess Markievicz and the writer, Frank
    O'Connor.

    Open 7 days, March−Oct 9.30am−5pm, Nov−Feb 10am−4pm.

  • Blarney Castle & Stone

    Blarney, Cork, Ireland

    Located about 20 minutes from Cork city centre, this attraction is famous throughout the world. Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you’ll be blessed with the celebrated ‘gift of the gab’. Visitors from all over the world flock here and climb up the castle to try it out.

    Open Mon−Sat May/Sept
    9am−6.30pm, Jun−Aug 9am−7pm, Oct−April
    9am−sundown; Sundays summer 9.30am−5.30pm, winter 9.30am−sundown.

  • Blarney Woollen Mills

    Blarney, Cork, Ireland

    The presence of the mills was very significant for the town of Blarney during the Great Famine and sheltered its residents from the worst effects by keeping them in employment. It burned down in 1869 but was operational once again by 1871. In 1976 it was bought by a local man who transformed it into the most impressive craft shop in the country and one well worth visiting.

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