Just one day, at the start or finish of a journey around our south-coast maritime paradise. It may not seem like a lot of time, but there is so much to do, see and experience in our compact harbour city over 24-hours.
Cork City is for walking (or you can rent a City Bike). Follow any road leading up the steep hills on either side of the river valley and you will find panoramic views of the city. Cork is open, diverse, eccentric and energetic. This one-day itinerary will help you find the heart of our city.
Breakfast at Tara's Tea Room on McCurtain Street. At the heart of Cork’s Victorian Quarter. This quaint, quirky tea rooms is something of a local favourite (and a bit of well-kept secret) with cityfolk. It offers great breakfasts, lunches and teas, it caters for vegetarians, the staff are very friendly and it’s just a great spot to start your day.
A Quick Visit To - Mother Jones’ Flea Market, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10pm. Just around the corner from the tea-rooms, this indoor vintage market has 18 stalls piled high with Vintage, Antique, Retro and Collectable clothes, furniture, records and just about everything else. There’s a little café and live music at the weekends (check their Facebook page for opening times).
Or if it’s outdoor weather - try Yoga In The Park – with the Himalaya Valley Yoga Centre – they run regular morning classes in Cork’s Fitzgerald’s Park, a beautiful Victorian pleasure gardens by the river, just 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre. If you are walking back from Fitzgerald’s Park to the City Centre, drop into Records & Relics on Lancaster Quay. It’s a funky little vintage shop, stocking original vinyl records, vintage clothing, antiques, retro and collectible items. You could find a weird and wonderful souvenir of the city.
Or – On Saturdays, try a unique experience - row a currach or small, traditional Irish rowing boat - on the Lee with the Naomhoga Chorcai rowing club – for just €10 you can learn to row and pull up the river from the Marina to the city.
If you are into artisanal, organic, locally sourced or just different, you might want to check out the Taste Cork website for ideas about food trails, festivals and markets. If you only have an hour or two and want to graze, go to Cork’s famous English Market, rated by TV chef Rick Stein the “best covered market in the UK or Ireland”.
There you will find the famous Farmgate Cafe – with counter service and stools (or tables) on the Mezzanine floor above the traders. It’s a lovely spot to sit and watch the buzz of the market below. Nearby, there’s also Orso for inexpensive Mediterranean & North African influenced plates, White Rabbit for BBQ & Burgers (on McCurtain Street) or Quinlan's Seafood Bar for Posh Fish n’Chips, just off Oliver Plunkett Street (voted the best city shopping street in the UK and Ireland for 2016).
Alternatively – You could take in some of the city’s gastronomic high-spots with Fab Food Trails – a three-hour stroll around some of the best cafes, restaurants, delis, bakeries and market stalls, with some local history and architecture thrown in, by a knowledgeable local guide.
No visit to Cork should miss out on the famous Shandon Bells – climb the old tower of St Anne’s Church to ring the eight bells. You can even play pop tunes on them. Climb higher, up the stone steps built into 7-metre thick walls in the early 1700s, and you will be rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views of the city and the river. It’s the perfect, sky-high vantage point for photographs and spectacular selfies.
Stop For A Glass And A Slice – At the Franciscan Well Brew-Pub on the Quays below Shandon. It offers a range of its own, very popular craft beers, a proper wood-fired pizza oven and one of the best beer gardens in Cork City.
Go For An Evening’s Urban Kayaking – Rated by the Telegraph Travel magazine as one of the “10 Best Urban Kayaking Experiences in the World” – this is a magical way to see the city from the river. Jump into the two-person Kayak with experienced guides and float down the river for an hour or two at dusk, under the bridges, past the quays and on to the mouth of the harbour.
Get Back Into the City – And hit the Cork Heritage Pub Trail for the finest traditional pubs the city has to offer. If you love music and are here in October, there’s the famous Cork Guinness Jazz Festival. Year round, you will find the best of Traditional Irish music via the Lee Sessions. For slightly more formal entertainment, visit the heritage Victorian theatre The Everyman or our much loved Opera House (both right in the city centre) for live music, comedy, musicals, dance and much more.