Cork Mini Guide
The mystical Irish city of Cork is home to the famous Blarney Castle and is the second largest city in the country.
Cork started as a small merchant town situated on the banks of the River Lee but it grew in importance during the 17th century when it used to supply butter to passing ships. Today Cork has just under 200,000 inhabitants and they have access to the world’s second largest natural harbour (after Sydney). Indeed the city’s motto - Statio Bene Fide Carinis - means a ‘safe harbour for ships’.
The harbour provides a good way to get to Cork by ferry if you are coming from Swansea or Roscoe.
By plane you fly into Cork International Airport where you can rent Rhino hire cars. From there it is only a 10 minute journey into Cork on the Kinsale Road.
Hiring a car is definitely cost effective as taxis from the airport tend to be quite pricey. Cork is connected to Dublin
via the N8 and the M7, though this takes almost four hours if the traffic is not too heavy. The roads have been the subject of continual investment recently and are expected to further improve.
The Irish airlines Aer Arran and Aer Lingus operate out of Cork to a number of destinations in the United Kingdom and Europe. Other airlines flying from Cork are Air Southwest, Centralwings, Jet2.com, Malév, Ryanair, SkyEurope and WizzAir. There are also a large number of operators offering chartered flights to popular Europe holiday destinations.
Cork city centre is small enough to walk around though you can get guided tours there too if you wish. There are many good festivals in Cork which led to it being named a capital for culture in 2005. These include a jazz festival, a film festival and a Midsummer festival taking place in June and July.
Any vegetarians travelling to Cork might be pleased to hear that it has one of the foremost meat free restaurants in Europe, Café Paradiso, where the cooks pride themselves on putting the enjoyment of the food first. One of Cork’s finest restaurants is the award winning Jacobs on the Mall, though it is accordingly expensive.
In Cork you will certainly not be disappointed by the choice of pubs. Try the Savoy Theatre in St Patrick’s Street for weekday student nights or head to traditional Irish bar Tom Barry’s on Barrack Street.
Gettin out and about, one of the best places to visit is the Mizen Head Signal Station. You can tell how important it was to have it there for the builders had to construct a suspension bridge and cut nearly a hundred steps into the cliff to locate the engine room.
- In this centennial year of the sinking of the Titanic, Easytours Cork offer a tour of east Cork which takes in the port of Queenstown where the Titanic called on its way to its fateful encounter with the iceberg. If you've been following the centennial events, you'll find yet more of interest on the tour.