Visiting Cork

Cork by ferry from UK

Cork is on the southern coast of Ireland, and is easy to reach by ferry direct from Swansea, or an easy drive from other ferry ports in Ireland, including Rosslare, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire.

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Ferries to Cork or Rosslare

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  • Swansea to Cork
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About Visiting Cork

Cork is one of the largest cities in all of Ireland, yet it doesn't seem to be that large. It sits on the banks of the River Lee in the southernmost reaches of Ireland, and owes its existence to that river. In fact, the name Cork is derived from the Irish word for marsh, Corcaigh. Many of the streets in Cork were once channels of the river, including the wide South Mall, the Grand Parade and St. Patrick's Street. The entire city centre was built on land reclaimed from the marsh, and boats would slide their way along those original river channels into the centre of the city. St. Patrick's Street, known locally as "Pana," is still the commercial hub of Cork.

Finding your way around Cork

Islands and bridges are the main building blocks of the city. Over thirty bridges span the South and the North river channels, shaping the city centre into an island shaped like an arrow. The river itself flows from west to east, seemingly the wrong direction. We do admit, the river flow, the odd shape of the island, the steep hills just to the north, and the one-way traffic rules can all be confusing, so take it slow and easy.

For landmarks, if the streets are getting less steep, then you're headed south. You'll see St. Anne's Church to the north, in the neighbourhood of Shandon. The spread of the university will be evident to the west, about 2 km away. The Cork train station is to the east, about 1 km from the city centre.

Visiting Cork City

Places to Visit in Cork

There's plenty to see and do in Cork, but for visitors, the city is a nice size, so you won't feel lost or overwhelmed.

Shops and Restaurants

For places to hang out and have dinner, try MacCurtain Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and Washington Street; shops can be found also on Oliver Plunkett Street and on North Main Street, Paul Street and St Patrick's Street. Go see, for free, the scale-model cityscape in the Cork Vision Centre on North Main Street.

Cork City Gaol

As long as you're near the city centre, head for the Cork City Gaol. Pay the low admission fee to see the great views of the entire city, especially to the west.

Elizabeth Fort

Another place for great views is historic Elizabeth Fort. To find this elusive site, start at Southgate Bridge, walk up Barrack Street, and, at the signs for the fort, turn right. On Sunday, there's always a Market Festival inside the historic walls of the fort, featuring gourmet food and Irish crafts, with street entertainers.

St Finbarr's Cathedral

Walk a few minutes further, and you'll come to St Finbarr's Cathedral, much more obvious to find. It's a fine example of a Gothic building from the 19th century -- look for the golden angel set high up on a tower on the back of the cathedral.

Páirc Ui Chaoimh

If you time your trip right, you'll be in the right place to catch a match at Páirc Ui Chaoimh, the 50,000-seat stadium in the Ballintemple neighbourhood. It's the home for Cork GAA, and is open, of course, on match days. It's also open for tours on every Monday and Wednesday.

Shandon Church

Shandon Church, to the north of city centre, contains the tower and bells that are the symbols of Cork. Have fun there, because visitors can ring the bells.

Relax and Just Wander

Once you're done running around the city, relax at Fitzgerald's Park on the River Lee, and take in the beautiful scenery. The Cork History Museum is located in the middle of the park.

Or try the Unofficial Cork City Pub Crawl starting every Friday night at 8 PM outside the GPO on Oliver Plunkett Street!

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