Visit a festival or see churches, wealthy estates and forts in Cork, Ireland’s third most populated city.
While Cork is now a peaceful city, mainly known for its lively arts scene and historic attractions, it was once caught up in territorial and religious battles. It earned its nickname of “Rebel City” after joining the House of York in the 15th-century War of the Roses. The name stuck when Cork engaged in the Irish War of Independence and ensuing Civil War.
Another part of Cork’s history is tied to industry; the city has been a meat export hub for centuries. Poor Irish residents used stockyard offal for home cooking. Today, adventurous eaters can try dishes such as drisheen (blood pudding) with tripe at the Old English Market. Cork City Gaol brings history to life with its real-looking wax figures. Cork’s Protestant Cathedral of St. Mary and Catholic French-style St. Fin Barre’s are focal points of the city’s strong religious identities.
Over 30 bridges cross the River Lee as it flows through the city, creating the island upon which Cork’s city center is built. Travel by boat from nearby towns in County Cork to explore small islands and harbors. Charles Fort, above Kinsale Harbor in the south, has great views from its old bastions. Cobh, southeast of Cork, was the last port of call of the “unsinkable” Titanic. Bantry House and Garden, to the west, shows how wealthy earls lived and serves proper Irish cream tea. Travel 15 minutes north to kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle.
Annual cultural activities in Cork include the Midsummer festival, film festivals and literary gatherings. Stop by the Crawford Art Gallery where, on Saturday mornings, local artists display their work outside. At night, visit the Cork Opera House or meet locals in a pub that has live music.
“Corcaigh,” as Cork is known to locals, is located in the southern Irish province of Munster. From Cork Airport and the Cork Kent railway station, shuttle buses depart for the city center. It takes about three hours from Dublin by train.