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Come travel with us in Cork City! For the inside scoop on this charming destination, watch our Ireland travel guide video.
Cork City is unique in that it’s a city on an island, surrounded by the River Lee’s two channels. In fact, many of the city’s streets are built over waterways, so expect to cross countless bridges during your stay. The quaint town center is also located upstream from Cork City Harbour, the world’s second-largest natural harbor.
Take a city tour and revel in the architectural splendor of this historical town. You can’t miss Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, which looks like a castle with its three spires and gothic designs. Dating back to 1870, this gargoyle-adorned cathedral is made from limestone, bath stone, and marble. Check out the magnificent stained glass and the intricate carvings scattered throughout the complex.
For another look at the town’s past, make your way over to the Cork City Gaol. The prison originally opened in 1824, holding both men and women, but in 1878, it became the Women’s Gaol. During British control and the Irish War of Independence, many Republican women were imprisoned here. The gaol closed in 1923, but oddly enough, it became the site of the city’s first radio broadcasting station. During your visit, take a guided tour of the prison grounds and learn fascinating stories of the past.
Looking for more exciting things to do in Cork City? Shop around the English Market. With roots dating back to 1788, this market is considered one of the oldest of its kind. Saunter around the countless vendors selling fresh poultry, meat, cheese, cakes, and more. A feast for your eyes—and stomach—you’ll find local treats, crafts, and even souvenirs at this eclectic bazaar.
If you don’t mind cruising roughly 6 miles northwest of the city, head to the famous Blarney Castle. You’ve probably heard of the legend, which says that if you kiss the Blarney Stone you’ll receive the gift of eloquence, so why not give it a shot? Besides puckering up, you’ll come across other seemingly magical spots, such as the Witch’s Stone and Wishing Steps. Explore the surrounding meadows, view the ruins of the Court, and venture into the dungeon.
Dublin often gets all the attention, but many Corkonians like to consider Cork City the “real capital” of Ireland. Visit this harbor city and decide for yourself if it deserves the capital title.
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