Cork is Ireland’s ‘second’ city and is located at the mouth of a deep harbour. With a history that dates back to the 6th century, Cork was for centuries a major international port and retains a cosmopolitan attitude, although today most visitors come though Cork airport which is a stone’s throw from the city.
‘City of Welcomes’, ‘City of Quirk’ and ‘City of Culture’ are all titles that have been bestowed on Cork in recent years. Discovering Cork and its people through its many festivals is a wonderful way to get a unique and kaleidoscopic view of all the city has to offer. We have put together the following information to help you make your visit exciting and stress-free!
Once you arrive, the tourist office on Grand Parade can answer any questions you have.
Pick up a copy of
Getting to Cork:
By Road: The M8 brings you to Cork from Dublin and the eastern side of the country, while the N20 ends in Cork from Limerick/Shannon/Galway direction. From Waterford & Wexford, you arrive via the N25/E30. Coming from a tour of West Cork? You’ll drive into the city on the N22 or N71.
Once you get here, there are plenty of Hi-rise parking areas (look for the big blue P signs), the Cork City Parking website gives live updates. Disabled parking is available in many locations. Or use the Park and Ride to leave the car on the outskirts and take a bus into the city. On-street parking requires a disk, which can be purchased in many newsagents, or use the park by phone system ‘ParkMagic’:
By Air: Airport information and flight details and schedules are available at by clicking here. Bus Eireann operates a regular bus service between the airport and the city centre running every 30 minutes or so with a journey time of 25 minutes approximately.
By Rail: Kent Station brings you right to the edge of the city – it’s only a 10 minute walk to the City Centre. Timetables and other details available by viewing the Irish Rail website.
By Ferry Brittany Ferries brings you close to the city from Roscoff (France) between April and October www.irishferries.com also have a French route: Cherbourg – Rosslare.
Ferries from Britain bring you to direct to Cork from Swansea in Wales with www.fastnetline.com.
Or you can come through Dublin or Wexford –
Fishguard – Rosslare www.stenaline.com
Pembroke – Rosslare www.irishferries.com, which also has a
Holyhead – Dublin www.irishferries.com www.stenaline.com A direct seasonal ferry service to Cork Cork – Swansea www.fastnetline.com, and is available from mainland Europe, through Roscoff – www.brittanyferries.ie
Port of Cork has details of ferry operators, cruise visits and guidance for leisure mariners, including booking for the city centre marina.
AA Ireland has lots of useful resources, including a routeplanner
Other useful information:
Cork Opera House (Music, Theatre, Dance, Opera) www.corkoperahouse.ie
Everyman Palace (Theatre, Music, Dance, Opera) www.everymanpalace.com
Christchurch at Triskel (Music, Literature) www.triskelartscentre.ie
The Firkin Crane (Dance, Music) www.firkincrane.ie
The Granary theatre, UCC www.granary.ie
Cork Arts and Theatre Club (The CAT club) www.corkartstheatre.com
Other Music venues & Concert series:
Traditional Music: The Lee Sessions gives weekly updates on upcoming pub sessions.
Classical Music: Cork Orchestral Society
Classical/Trad/Jazz/World/Experimental: UCC Music Events
Classical /Jazz/Music Theatre: Concerts at CIT Cork School of Music
The Pavilion www.pavilioncork.com
Cyprus Avenue www.cyprusavenue.ie
Crane Lane Theatre www.cranelanetheatre.ie
The Roundy Bar www.theroundy.com
Ó Bhéal hosts weekly poetry events.
Munster literature Centre keeps an updated list of literary events.
Film & Cinema:
On the Water: Take a cruise of the harbour with Cork Harbour Cruises or try rowing a traditional currach through the city on a Saturday morning with Naomh Oga Chorcai sharing the water with the more modern sculls of Shandon Rowing Club. Outside the city, Inniscarra Lake hosts the national rowing centre, with fishing, waterskiing also available.
Golfers can find the course to suit them at www.golfireland.com/courses.asp
Hurling and (gaelic) football have a very strong history in Cork www.gaacork.ie will tell you if there’s an important match coming up.
Soccer Cork City FC is our club in the National Premier League.
Greyhound racing www.igb.ie/Cork
Horse racing www.corkracecourse.ie
Cork Public Museum is situated in Fitzgeralds Park, on the Western edge of the city.
Cork City Gaol is located 2k n/w from Patrick’s Street and this magnificent castle-like building is now a major and unique visitor attraction, this Gaol once housed 19th century prisioners.
Cork Butter Museum in Shandon tells the history of Cork through its main export and the largest butter market in the world.
A trip up the stone tower of Shandon’s Church of St Anne to ring the famous Shandon bells and admire one of the best views of the city is a must! The church dates from 1722.
Cork Vision Centre hosts a scale model of Cork, including the historic centre of the city, as well as regular art exhibitions and events.
Day trips & things to do
In the city: ‘Doing Pana’ is the Cork equivalent of the Italian ‘passegiata’ or the French ‘flaneur’ – simply strolling the city, window shopping, stopping for coffee or lunch. There is no set time for Doing Pana, although Sundays are probably most traditional. In your stroll, take in the famous English Market and Cornmarket Street traditional shopping areas.
More modern shoppers are well catered for in Cork too, with Brown Thomas carrying some of the world’s top designers. There are a huge range of highstreet stores around Patrick’s Street, especially in Cork’s newest shopping precinct Opera Lane. But sometimes it’s the unique local shops that reveal the charm of a new city!
Cork is a compact city, and easy to get around on foot – you can traverse the city centre in about half an hour. (Not including time spent shopping and people-watching!)
Walk Cork conduct walking tours of the city, full of historical anecdotes to give you a real sense of the city’s past.
Outside the city there are a host of towns and villages within 30 minutes drive of the city, like Midleton, Kinsale, Ballycotton and Blarney. All are well served by Cork buses.
Cycling is a great way to see the whole city and its beautiful surrounding countryside. Rent from the Bike Shed ,or City View Wheels rents electric bikes. For city centre service on your own bike and advice visit Kilgrews Cycles.
Things to do with kids:
Lifetime Lab: education centre on water and the environment
Blackrock Castle Observatory: Cosmos at the Castle interactive centre
Fota Wildlife Park: Ireland’s Wildest Attraction. Fota Wildlife Park is a large park with freely roaming animals for all the family to enjoy.