48 Hours in Cork City

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Explore an exciting destination that is busy, vibrant and cosmopolitan, with revitalised stretches of waterfront. Immerse yourself in 17th century alleys and visit its city centre, set on the River Lee. Check out the Cork Opera House and indulge in local food, drinks and retail therapy in narrow streets crammed with pubs, shops, cafés and restaurants.

The Quad at University College Cork
Fitzgerald Park at UCC
A burial ground in the Huguenot Quarter
Left: The Quad at University College Cork | Middle: Green spaces of Fitzgerald Park | Right: A burial ground in the Huguenot Quarter

Cork City

The best way to get an overview of Cork City is from the top of one of the frequent open top tour buses. This will give you the lay of the land from the start, so you can plan your day and decide which of the many attractions to visit. 
 

The historic Cork City Gaol & Radio Museum Experience makes an excellent first stop, followed by coffee at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in University College Cork.  A peaceful stroll through the campus will bring you to the nearby Fitzgerald Park and you will realise what a compact and friendly city it is.
 

After lunch in any of the second capital’s excellent eateries, the Huguenot Quarter is only a stone’s throw away. The Cork Opera House, Crawford Gallery and the culinary delights of the English Market beckon, giving you plenty of scope to plan a busy afternoon.

Facade of Cork Opera House
Cork by night
Left: Cork Opera House by day | Right: Reflections on Cork at night

After dark the range of attractions in Cork never dims — a night at the Opera House or a relaxed dinner in one the city’s superb restaurants and cafés (followed by a traditional music session), are just some of the options on offer to make the perfect end to your perfect day.

 

Take in a show or performance in one of Cork’s local arts venues:

  • The Triskel Arts Centre is home to an amazing exhibition and event space in the old Christchurch building with a busy calendar of events. 

  • The Cork Opera House is a Cork institution that has been reinvigorated by a new team and a fresh outlook. 

  • The Everyman is a much-loved intimate Victorian theatre with a vibrant programme.

The Bell Tower of St Anne's Church at night
A view of Cork from St Anne's Bell Tower
Left: The Bell Tower of St Anne's Church at night | Right: A view of Cork from St Anne's Bell Tower

Shandon

Just across the River Lee, the Shandon area of the city is a maze of winding streets just inviting you to explore them. Climb the bell tower at  St Anne's Church for a birdseye view of the city while listening to the famous Shandon Bells. The nearby Cork Butter Museum, where you can learn the story of Ireland's most important food export and the world's largest butter market, is also well worth a visit. Afterwards, take in a modern dance performance at the nearby Firkin Crane Dance Centre and view its striking rotunda.

Don't miss the locally roasted coffee at Cork Coffee Roasters in Bridge Street, before choosing the perfect spot for lunch in the area. The Liberty Grill on Washington Street, Idaho Café on Caroline Street or the Quay Co-Op, a vegetarian restaurant on Sullivan’s Quay, are some of the local's favourites.

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral
Some visitors at Elizabeth Fort
The entrance to Blackrock Castle
Left: Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral | Middle: Some visitors at Elizabeth Fort | Right: The entrance to Blackrock Castle
After lunch, take a Cork City Walking Tour for a quirky introduction to Cork's merchant and maritime past. Go explore the 7th century Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, just a five minute walk from the Grand Parade. Find out more of the area's history at Elizabeth Fort and St Peter's Church, both of which are within easy walking distance of the cathedral.

Having worked up an appetite, go for dinner in the city centre at Jacques Restaurant or Paradiso, a much-loved vegetarian restaurant on the Western Road. Step into the warmth of the Mutton Lane Inn or the Long Valley Bar (known for its poetry and open mic sessions) for an aperitif and a chat with the locals — the perfect finish to an action-packed 48 hours in Cork City.

Don't miss Cork experiences


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