48 Hours in East Cork

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Explore the harbours, mountains, islands and peninsulas of beautiful East Cork to get a true taste of Ireland's Ancient East. It's an epic landscape rich in stunning scenery and maritime heritage, but in just 48 hours, you can cover a lot of ground. Embark on a tour of discovery through this magical region.

Youghal

There's no better place to start than the seaside heritage town of Youghal (pronounced Yawl). Its quaint atmosphere and glorious stretch of golden beach provide the perfect introduction to East Cork.


Youghal Clock Gate Tower
Youghal Clock Gate Tower occupies the former site of Trinity Castle, one of the five principal fortifications of the late 14th/15th century walled town. Built in 1777 as a gaol, its story spans seven hundred years of history. This iconic building has opened its doors again, though this time not as a grim prison, but as a place to explore the tales of its fascinating past.

St Mary’s Collegiate Church & Gardens
For history buffs, this garden, complete with ancient Graveyard Trail, is a must-see. First appearing on maps in 1590, it's located beneath Youghal's almost 1,000-year-old medieval walls. St Mary’s Collegiate Church is one of Ireland's most ancient Christian sites, and the oldest church in the country with continuous worship since the 13th century. Home to a monastic settlement of St Declan of Ardmore in the 5th century, it's a peaceful landmark that yields an afternoon's worth of discovery.

Youghal Walking Tour
Take a step back in time to experience historic Youghal with a trained Youghal Tourism Development Guide. This walking tour, which last 90 minutes, takes in the medieval streets of the town, Tyntes Castle, St Marys Collegiate Church and many more landmarks of interest.

Youghal Clock Gate
St Mary's Collegiate
An altar inside St Mary's Collegiate
Left: Youghal Clock Gate Middle: St Mary's Collegiate Right: An altar inside St Mary's Collegiate

First investigate the town of Youghal, delving into its historic landmarks and wandering its picturesque streets. Then go further afield – an evening stroll along its sandy beaches is the perfect way to round off your day.

Midleton

A bustling market town, Midleton thrums with delicious local produce and farm-grown fare. Tasty restaurants sit alongside cosy pubs, and in easy reach lie beaches and lakes, a destination for adventure-seekers and anglers.

Farmgate Restaurant & Country Store
In 1983, Maróg O'Brien established Farmgate in Midleton as a small food shop, specialising in local, seasonal, and fresh produce. Today it's the well-known Farmgate Restaurant and Bakery, an ideal spot for lunch after wandering through Midleton's heritage-infused streets.

Midleton Farmers Market
Meet the producers at Midleton Farmers Market (held every Saturday), one of the original country markets. It sells fresh local produce, homemade cakes and breads, and attracts local musicians who create a lively atmosphere. Tasting events are held here throughout the year. ,

The Jameson Experiences (Midleton Distillery)
Jameson’s Old Midleton Distillery stands on the banks of the Dungourney River in Midleton. Set on 15 green acres, the distillery is home to the Jameson Experience, an Irish whiskey tour that explores the history behind this legendary spirit.
Buyers at a farmers market
A copper pot still at The Jameson Experience
Left: Browsing the delights of Midleton Farmers Market Right: A copper pot still at The Jameson Experience

Cobh

No visit to East Cork would be complete without a visit to the colourful town of Cobh. Previously known as Queenstown, Cobh was the last port of call for the ill-fated Titanic which departed these shores in 1912. A host of visitor attractions pay homage to the town's Maritime heritage and tradition of emigration through the famine years.

The town is lined with brightly coloured houses, many crowded onto the steep slope of a hill. Crowning it all is the imposing Saint Colman's Cathedral, a grandiose neo-Gothic building that took 47 years to build.

Don't rush through Cobh — there's so much here to make you linger. If you're short on time, take a day trip with the Cork/Cobh excursions by train. Disembark at the train station and join one of three tours: the Titanic Trail, Titanic Insights, or the Cobh Cultural excurisions.

Cobh Heritage Centre – The Emigration & Maritime Story
The Emigration & Maritime Story is a dramatic exhibition on the origins, history and legacy of Cobh. Located within Cobh Heritage Centre, it tells stories designed to bring the Irish emigration experience and The Great Famine to life, and highlight Cobh's strong connections with some of the world’s most famous ships — The Sirius (first steamship to cross the Atlantic), the Lusitania, and of course, the Titanic.

Titanic Experience Cobh
The story of the Titanic has captured the hearts and minds of millions. From descendants of crew and passengers, to those just fascinated, the story has been re-told from Belfast to Hollywood. At Titanic Experience Cobh, visitors can explore the stories of the Titanic through interactive displays and audio visual tours, and find out what happened to the 123 passengers who boarded the famous White Star Line liner in Cobh — one of them young Jeremiah Burke, writer of the last written message ever to leave the ship.
 
Spike Island
Spike Island, nestled in Cork's natural harbour, has a dark and fascinating past. Uncover the stories of its inhabitants — from monks to military, and convicts to idolised rebels — and explore the 200-year-old Fort Mitchel, a star-shaped fortress that once contained thousands of prisoners. Reach the island from Cobh by boat.

Saint Coleman's Cathedral towering over houses
Hook Head Lighthouse
Cycling on the Waterford Greenway
Left: Saint Colman's Cathedral: Annie Moore statue in Cobh Right: An antique gun in Fort Mitchel

While you’re in the area…

Cobh Farmers Market
Visit Cobh Farmers Market to browse fresh foods and local East Cork produce, international streetfood and handcrafted wares. It takes place every Friday from 10am-2pm, along the promenade in Cobh.

Spot a cruise liner
A favourite activity for Cobh insiders is to climb the hills of the town on a day that sees the arrival of one of a cruise liner into the dock. From Saint Colman's Cathedral you'll get a sense of the impressive scale of these ocean beasts; afterwards, tour the cathedral.

A group enjoying a "bath" at Smithwicks
Work in progress at the National Craft Gallery
Left: The town walls of Youghal, the perfect introduction to East Cork Right: Sunset at Cobh Harbour

If time permits

Fota Wildlife Park
Home to animals and birds from all five continents and hundreds of native plants, trees and species found in Ireland, Fota is no ordinary park. The animals thrive in a free-range environment, which allows them to roam free (where possible), while mixing with other species and with visitors too.

Don't miss Cork events


And that’s just a sample, there’s so much more to do on your visit to Cork.

Enjoy your escape in Ireland’s Ancient East!

For more attractions and activities
check out the See & Do section