Things to See and Do in Cork

Blarney Castle

This ancient seat of power is a real must see for anyone visiting Cork.The Castle was built almost six hundred years ago by the Chieftain Cormac MacCarthy. It is also home to the famous Blarney Stone which is said to bestow the gift of eloquence on anyone who kisses it. Or maybe that’s just ‘Blarney’!! There’s only one way to find out.

Ballycotton Island Lighthouse

Ballycotton Island Lighthouse Tours is a ‘not-for-profit’ company that brings visitors on a magical, historical and unique tour. The Ballycotton Lighthouse lantern was first lit in 1851 and 141 years later the last lighthouse keeper was taken off the island due to the automation of the light. Now, for the first time ever, visitors can set foot onto the wild, natural and unspoiled island, climb the original iron staircase and enjoy the same incredible views from the lantern balcony that up until now only resident lighthouse keepers could have enjoyed.

Camden Fort Meagher

Fort Camden is a Coastal Artillery Fort located in Crosshaven. It is situated on 45 acres and is internationally recognised as being one of the best remaining examples of a classical Coastal Artillery Fort in the world. A fascinating insight into coastal military infrastructure and history.

Charles Fort

Charles Fort in Kinsale was designed by William Robinson, who also designed the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin. It is a classic example of a late 17th Century star-shaped fort. It is one of the largest military forts in Ireland and has been at the centre of some of the most important events in Irish history. Charles Fort was declared a National Monument in 1973.

CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory

The state of the art science exhibition at Blackrock Castle Observatory is situated in a historic 16th century castle and has an award winning interactive astronomy exhibit exploring the possibility of life throughout the universe. Dome & Dungeon Tours which are tours of the top dome and castle dungeons are popular with all ages and the Castle has a superb restaurant in its courtyard.

Cobh Heritage Centre – Ireland’s Emigration Story

Cobh Heritage Centre tells the extraordinary story of the scattering of the Irish throughout the globe. The exhibition explores famine, war, emigration, coffin ships, the Titanic, the sinking of the Lusitania and the story of Annie Moore and her two brothers who left from Cobh for America. Annie Moore was the first emigrant ever to be processed at Ellis Island in America. The Centre has a lovely cafe featuring authentic Irish cuisine.

Cork City Gaol

A fascinating tour of the city’s once-brutal prison. The Exhibition is housed in the former City Gaol. There are guided tours, school and educational tours, a souvenir shop, picnic area and an open-top hop-on hop-off tour bus stop here on a scheduled basis. The Gaol is reputedly haunted, original prisoner writing can be seen on the cell walls, there was a tunnel out of the gaol and famous prisoners include Countess Markievicz, the Irish nationalist, who spent four months there.

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Cork Public Museum & Fitzgerald’s Park

Cork Public Museum is located in a period two storey Georgian mansion, originally built in 1845 for the prominent brewing Beamish family, in the beautiful Fitzgerald’s Park. The property was purchased in 1902 by Cork Corporation to house the extraordinary Cork International Exhibition of 1902 and 1903. The Museum itself was originally opened in 1910, closed after the Burning of Cork in 1920 and re-opened in 1945. The recently opened Riverside Café offers superb views of the park and River Lee. The exhibitions are stunning.

Crawford Art Gallery

Explore historic and contemporary visual arts.

Crawford Art Gallery is a National Cultural Institution and art museum. It is dedicated to visual arts, with over 2500 works in the permanent collection, ranging from 18th century Irish and European painting and sculpture to contemporary video installations.

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Elizabeth Fort

Originally built in 1601 during the reign of Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Fort is a fine example of a 17th century star-shaped fort, which overlooks the city. It played a significant role in the siege of Cork in 1690, became a British military barracks in 1719, was used as a holding prison for prisoners being transported to the Australian colonies during the 19th century and housed the infamous ‘Black & Tans’ during Ireland’s War of Independence. The Fort is open to the public and admission is free.

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Fota Wildlife Park

40 acres of grassland with 70 species of exotic animals many of whom can roam freely. Cheetahs, eagles, lemurs, flamingos, giraffes, monkeys and more make this a superb day out.

It is one of Ireland’s Top Ten visitor attractions and is one of the most popular visitor destinations in Cork.

Jameson Experience

Journey back to 1795 and to where all Irish whiskey is now made.

At the Old Distillery in Midleton visitors can view the Courtyard, Giant Waterwheel, the Brewhouse and the world’s largest Pot Still. Visitors can take part in the Irish Whiskey Tasting Session and browse in the gift shop. Guided tours are also available.

Lewis Glucksman Gallery& University College Cork

Architecturally stunning gallery in the grounds of University College Cork, the gallery promotes the research and creation of visual arts. The building includes display spaces, lecture facilities, a riverside restaurant and gallery shop. While there take the opportunity to stroll through the beautiful University grounds and view the incredible Ogham stone gallery.

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Lifetime Lab

This is an award winning Industrial Heritage Centre and Environmental Exhibition that includes interactive exhibits, a coffee dock, playground and gardens.

Michael Collins House

A visit to the centre includes a detailed history of Irish hero Michael Collins, his childhood, family history, school days at Clonakilty, the 1916 rebellion, War of Independence, Civil War and his death at Béal na mBláth through exhibitions, photos, film clips and guided tours of important sites.

Old Head of Kinsale

The course is built on a 220 acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The links and practice area occupy 180 acres and the remaining 40 acres of unspoilt cliff frame the course. A truly unique golfing experience.

Rumley’s Open Farm

Visit a fully working 20 acre farm, stocked with domestic and exotic animals. Great play areas, café, souvenir shop and fully wheelchair accessible – a great day out!

Shandon Bells & Tower

Play the bells of this ancient tower with spectacular views of the city!

The historic Church opened in 1722 has become a famous symbol of Cork City with its pepper canister tower. Visitors to the Church can enjoy spectacular 360° views of Cork City and beyond from the balcony of the Shandon Bells Tower.

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Spike Island

Spike Island is located in the centre of Cork Harbour. It has been at one time a coastal artillery station, a transportation prison, a modern day prison and now a superb tourist attraction with thousands of visitors each year. Visitors can walk around the Island, see inside the fort, visit the old convict cells and learn all about the history of the Island prison. The Island also features an adventure playground and boat trips around the island.

St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral

Cork’s French Gothic Cathedral. A site of worship for fourteen centuries. Designed by William Burgess, the building contains 1200 carvings, Masonic Stained Glass, Gargoyles, Griffins and Arches.

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St. Peter’s Church, North Main Street

Recently reopened, St Peters is an 18th century exhibition space featuring exhibitions commemorating Ireland struggle for independence between 1913 and 1923.

The Cork Butter Museum

Cork Butter Museum reveals the story of Irish butter and how Cork’s dairies fed the world. Hear about thousand year old butter that was buried in a bog to the 19th century centre of the world’s butter trade – Cork Butter Exchange. It also explores the global success of the modern Irish dairy industry. Fascinating!

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The English Market

Trading since 1788 and recently visited by Queen of England, this is the largest covered market in Europe, filled with local produce and gifts.  This gem really is a feast for the eyes, the nose and the palate

“Never mind Paris or Brussels – if you want a gastronomic experience to remember forever, hop over to Cork and head for the English Market.     If you like food, it’s like dying and going to heaven.”
Food Guru India Knight

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Titanic Experience Cobh

Visitors can take a tour of the White Star Line Ticket Office in the heart of Cobh town and travel in the footstep of an actual Titanic passenger. The tour includes information on events leading up to the sinking of the Titanic and a look at the Titanic ship wreck. Only at the end will you discover if your passenger survived or perished!

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