Cork Ireland - An Irish Gem that should be seen by the World
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
An old Irish proverb is said to go "May the road rise to meet you". I found myself thinking about this proverb as I walked the rolling streets of Cork on my recent visit. With each corner, I explored, I realised Cork centre is in a basin and most likely situated on old marshland (after all Cork means Marsh in old Irish). The rolling hills that surround the centre make for wonderful walks as they rise and fall beneath your feet as you take in this quaint Irish city.
Can Cork be seen in a day or even a weekend?
I flew to Ireland from London with the ambition that I would get to know this Southern Irish city as best I could. Cork is Ireland's second-biggest city after Dublin the capital. Men from overseas like myself have been walking its rolling roads since 915 AD when the Vikings set up shop here. Their ambition was to trade with the unique natives. Known as the Rebel city due to the men who had ties to the War of the Roses. And yet many generations later, some Irish rebel folk still consider Cork to be the real capital of Ireland.
This Englishman with Irish Blood (like the Morrissey song), had to been to Ireland many times over his many decades and yet strangely had never set foot in Cork. And yet when Ryanair is offering flights to Cork for £10 who could possibly say refuse?! It would be rude to say no I thought! So, off I went for a brief excursion.
Cork Airport is served by most of Europes major Airlines - depending on where you are flying from. You are more than likely to be able to pick up a good deal if planned ahead. Kayak, Google Flights and Skyscanner should be the go-to websites for searching for the best flight deals. However, my personal favourite for European flight deals is Skyscanner. For some reason, Skyscanner works best when searching for European Flights over any of its rivals.
When you arrive at Cork Airport it's incredibly easy to get to the centre of the city. You will have 3 options:
Rent a car
Take the Bus
On my recent trip, I elected to take the Bus. Journey time was about 15/20mins and cost a princely sum of 2 Euros and 80 cents. Bolt & Uber do exist in Cork so if you haven't signed up to either company use my codes for money off your first 2-3 journeys
Use Code "uberAVT" to get money off your first journey with Uber.
Use Code "HFDHF" to get money off your first journey with Bolt.
If you want to rent a car in Ireland, I personally recommend AutoEurope. They offer competitive prices and in my mind good quality cars. They can be found at this link.
If you are curious about how I spent 24 hours in Cork I made a video about that adventure. There are over 300 videos on my YouTube Channel The Wondering Englishman along similar lines each with unique adventures and destinations.
To truly understand the city of Cork you really need a couple of days. However, I prove in the video that the city can be explored in 24 hours. Of course, I didn't see everything and if you really want to take advantage of all Cork has to offer from Museums to Pubs and Restaurants you will undoubtedly need more time there. But where should you stay when you arrive in Cork? Given its size staying anywhere around the city will suffice.
There are a variety of options to pick from. Over the years, I've had the fortune to stay in an array of hotels, apartments and various forms of accommodation while travelling. For the majority of travellers, I recommend Booking.com - yes there are hotel comparison websites such as Trivago and Kayak. However, from my years of travel experience, I've discovered both of these comparison websites do not have all the hotels, hostels and apartments listed. The reasons behind this could be some premises simply do not pay the comparison sights a fee or the reason could be something else. If you know of the reason do leave a comment below. However, I have discovered no matter what the location Booking.com will 9/10ths of the time have the most competitive deal and generally more choice. However, if you are super keen to get the best deal- use Booking.com, Kayak, Trivago, Lastminute.com and Hotels.com in separate browser windows.
An alternative which I do recommend for your accommodation is Airbnb. The city authorities still allow Airbnb in the city (it hasn't been banned just yet). I've booked a number of apartments via Airbnb. If you have not used them before (you have probably been living under a rock). But if you use this referral link you will get many Dollars or Euros off your first booking and I'll get a very small referral kickback. I'm an Airbnb host as well as a frequent Airbnb traveller. I love Airbnb because not only does it make travelling more affordable but it also allows you to stay off the beaten track. Staying with a local or in your own cottage is far more unique than staying in a generic hotel you could find anywhere in the world. Use the map below to search for the perfect Airbnb stay within walking distance of the centre of Cork.
Upon arriving in the city you will be drawn to the centre. Cork is very compact, with most sights, restaurants and nightlife nestled around the centre. There are two cathedrals in the city; St. Mary's Cathedral and Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral. St Mary's Cathedral often referred to as the North Cathedral, is the Catholic cathedral of the city and was begun in 1808. Its distinctive tower was added in the 1860s. St Fin Barre's Cathedral serves the Church of Ireland (Anglican) and is possibly the more famous of the two.
Being the second-largest city in Ireland and a hotbed for academic and scientific culture, there are a variety of things to keep you entertained should you not be obsessed with Irish pubs. From Opera to the theatre and to concerts and festivals. Oasis played a phenomenal and very famous gig in Cork many years back. If you have the legs and you like to run or walk long distances do not hesitate in exploring the outskirts of the city to really get a real feel for the city.
I hope you have a great time in Cork Ireland should you visit. I am not sponsored by the Irish Government or any Travel Group, I simply have written this post as I enjoy travelling. Please do check out this blog for more independent travel ideas and my YouTube Channel.
And if any of this information has been useful to you and you fancy buying me a Coffee please do click the link below to buy me a coffee via Ko-Fi.com
Thanks very much! Stay safe & keep Progressing! The Wondering Englishman.