Cork is the biggest county in Ireland, and it may also encompass more sightseer’s delights than anywhere else in the country. See below for some of Cork’s favourite attractions.
Convent Avenue, Sunday’s Well, Cork, Cork
With a special emphasis on history & culture, 19th-Century crime, punishment, and social history, a trip to Cork City Gaol is a must.
Offering a grimly realistic look at prisoner life, the impressive audio system allows you to hear the shuffling of prisoner’s feet and the coughs of the sick inmates, while life-like characters in the cells add a three-dimensional element.
Architecturally, the Georgian/Gothic building has a number of particularly pleasant and unusual features. Indeed, from the outside it looks more like a castle than a purpose-built prison.
The Radio Museum Experience is also located within the Gaol. It was from here, that the radio station 6CK operated from in the late 1930′s.
The Gaol is located just 2km outside Cork city centre and can be reached easily on foot (buses pass the gaol also). Guided tours are available in 8 different languages. Even the café gives customers the option of a Victorian prisoner’s fare or the prison governor’s menu.
Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh, Cork
Discover Cobh’s unique origins, its history and its legacy at the Queenstown Story – a multi media permanent exhibition at the restored Victorian Cobh Railway Station. The Titanic is one of the many liners and ships which has visited the historic port town. Cobh was formerly known as Queenstown, named after Queen Victoria.
The world-renowned Blarney Castle and the legendary Blarney Stone can be found in the charming village of Blarney, just 7km north of Cork city in County Cork.
Built nearly 1000 years ago for the McCarthy Clan, Blarney Castle remains one of Ireland’s oldest castles. Blarney Castle and the world famous Blarney Stone should not be missed by anyone visiting the South West of Ireland.
Kenmare Road, Glengarriff, West Cork, Co. Cork
Ireland’s only interactive sculpture garden is a must- see for anyone interested in art, nature, or a totally unique experience.
Set along a spectacular waterfall in the natural Eden of Glengarriff, it offers visitors a chance to step off the treadmill, slow down, and rediscover our beautiful but vulnerable natural world.
Visitors explore the meandering pathways and hidden corners, where curious creatures line the route. The Evolution Walk winds through the Valley of Eden, over bridges and past humorous sculptures, revealing surprises at every turn.
The famous star shaped fort can be found 3km from Kinsale. As one of the largest military forts in the country, Charles Fort has been associated with some of the most significant events in Irish history. The most momentous of these includes the Williamite War in 1690 and the Irish Civil War of 1922-23.
The fort has two enormous bastions overlooking the estuary, and three looking inland. Within its walls were all the accommodation requirements for the garrison of the fort and their families.
Located in Bantry, County Cork, Bantry House is the former home of the Earls of Bantry. Egerton Shelswell-White, who is a descendant of the Earls, lives there with his family today.
The house is surrounded by seven terraces of wonderful gardens and approximately 80,000 acres of grounds. A tour of the house reveals a magnificent collection of tapestries, furniture, artefacts and antiques.
The Armada Exhibition Centre located there is and educational and entertaining interpretation of the attempted landing of Wolfe Tone and the French Armada in Bantry Bay in 1796.
Church Street, Cork, Cork
Located at St. Annes Church in Shandon the historic heart of Cork City is Cork’s most famous landmark. Visitors can ring the world-famous Shandon Bells from the first floor, view the internal workings of the ‘Four Faced Liar,’ see the 18th-century bells, and enjoy spectacular 360° views of Cork City and beyond from the top of the Shandon Bells Tower.
The Church of St. Anne’s in Shandon Cork City is one of Cork’s oldest buildings. Built in 1722 from rubble red sandstone and ashlar limestone, its colors are said to have inspired the red and white flag and sporting colours of Cork.
Distillery Walk, Midleton, Cork
In the picturesque Cork town of Midleton, an impressive 18th-century industrial complex of stone mills and ware-houses has been restored to enlighten visitors about the fine art of whiskey distilling. The Jameson Heritage centre is an entrepreneurial venture by Irish Distillers, emulating the successful Northern Irish attraction at Bushmills.
For a fee (which includes some whiskey sampling) you can tour the modern distillery together with the Old Midleton Distillery, which was in use for 150 years from 1825 to 1975. The world’s largest pot still, with a capacity of over 150,000 litres, stands by the reception building. Despite the heritage centre’s name, it was the brand known as Paddy, rather than Jameson’s, which was distilled in Midleton from the 19th century; John Jameson’s whiskey was always produced in Dublin.
If you are looking for fresh locally sourced produce during your stay in Cork, you need look no further than the English Market.
Located in the centre of Cork city, the English Market has been operating since 1788 and is accessible from streets including Grand Parade, Patrick Street, Princes Street, and Oliver Plunkett Street.
The stalls offer the freshest of local foods and ingredients, creating memorable sights, sounds, and smells for locals and visitors alike.
The Station, Inchydoney Road, Clonakilty, Cork
The West Cork Model Railway Village is the first of its kind in Ireland. The route is a miniaturised version of the now defunct West Cork Railway. Recreating the way of life in West Cork during the 1940′s, the model village features buildings of architectural and historical interest within natural settings ranging from grassy hillsides to inland waterways and coastal inlets. Visitors can discover a world of forges, markets, fairs, old-time water powered industries, World-War-II rationing, and West Cork’s maritime heritage.