Our featured location this month is Cork, Ireland’s second largest city! Find out about the history and things to see and do in Cork.
Built upon the River Lee is the liberal and cosmopolitan city of Cork, Ireland’s largest county and second largest city. Despite being badly hit by economic recession, the city is quickly reinventing itself, becoming a part of the Republic of Ireland that is well worth a weekend visit. While the city has indeed modernised over the past few years, you’ll still find your fair share of traditional snug Irish pubs with live-music sessions every day of the week!
The History of Cork
Cork has always been an important seaport with maritime history spanning over thousands of years. As the second largest natural harbour in the world, Cork Harbour has helped to shape world history and is a thriving port with an emerging tourism hub today. The harbour has been a working port and a strategic defensive hub for centuries. Since the early 1900s, it has also been one of Ireland’s most significant employment hubs.
Things to do and see in Cork
Although Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, it’s often overlooked by the largest, which is Dublin, but this city has just as much to offer to visitors.
Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone
No trip to Cork is complete without a trip to Blarney Castle and kissing the Blarney Stone. Blarney Castle is easily ranked as one of the most popular castles in Ireland, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Blarney Castle is home to the Blarney Stone, a stone that Irish kings were accordingly once crowned upon. Legend says that the stone bestows the gift of eloquence on those who kiss it. Visitors must hang upside down over a drop to kiss the stone, but it has been a tradition ever since the 18th century!
If your looking to take home a lovely gift, be sure to stop off at Blarney Woollen Mills. Built in 1823, the Woollen Mills has developed into the largest Irish shop in the world with 40,000 square foot, selling products from every county in Ireland, from crafts and folklore, to food and fashion.
No matter where you go in Ireland, there will always be a distillery nearby! Jameson whiskey is undoubtably the most famous whiskey brand in Ireland, and it just so happens to be produced in Cork. It was only in 1974 the Jameson Distillery moved to Midleton, County Cork from Dublin, where Scotsman, John Jameson originally founded the distillery in 1780. Nowadays, around 350,000 guests pass through the distillery doors each year to learn about the hard-working people and field-to-glass processes that makes the world-renowned whiskey.
Shandon Bells and St Anne’s Church=
‘Did you ring the Shandon Bells?’ is one question you may be asked when you visit Cork. The Shandon Bells are an iconic feature of Cork, mainly because they are original 18th century bells. They are set in the steeple of St Anne’s Church, one of Ireland’s most important early 18th century churches that was built in 1722. In fact, the Shandon Bells and St Anne’s Church have almost become a symbol of Cork. Many tours are in operations that allows tourists to stop off at St Anne’s and climb up the steeple to ring the Shandon Bells and take in some amazing views of Cork City.
Cork City Gaol
What was once a former prison for both male and female prisoners is now a museum that captivates what 19th century and early 20th century life was like inside and outside the prison walls. The castle-like building that is Cork City Goal is a leading tourist attraction, but with such rich history it’s no wonder why! Original cells still remain in the Gaol, only now, they are furnished with striking life-like wax figures and fascinating exhibitions. The audio-visual show will really make you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time.
Now do you want to visit Cork? Our ‘Best of Ireland’ package allows you to explore Cork and some of the fantastic attractions mentioned above.
Find out more here or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you’d like us to custom build a package to suit your needs and budget.