Cork, Ireland: An insider's guide

Sinead Moore
Cork city view: Patrick Street bridge and lee river cork
Cork city view: Patrick Street bridge and lee river cork

If you're thinking of visiting the Irish city of Cork, you're in for a treat: there's lots to do, and you'll be among some of the friendliest people you will ever meet - guaranteed.

Corkonians are very proud of their county and will not be shy in telling you that Cork is the "real capital" or refer to the city as "The People's Republic of Cork". Last year, the mayor of Cork even introduced International Cork Day, a day dedicated to celebrating all things Cork. Not many cities can say they have their very own day of self celebration.

This diverse city is pulsing with culture and was voted the European Capital of Culture in 2005, while in 2009, Cork was included in the Lonely Planet's top 10 "Best in Travel 2010". The guide describes Cork as "at the top of its game: sophisticated, vibrant and diverse."

The best way to soak up the city's culture is to do what the locals do. The traditional Irish music session is the quintessential "Irish experience" and has rightly earned its place on the "must dos" when visiting Ireland. Wander in to any local Irish pub and you might be lucky enough to stumble upon a traditional Irish music session in the corner. Sin É is one the best pubs for fiddle players: on an average night, up to 10 could be performing. Vibrant traditional music also rolls out of An Spailpín Fánach and The Rock bar is a popular choice for both locals and students.

One of the first things you will notice when you visit Cork is the unique accent of it inhabitants. Corkonians use a number of dialect words that are unique to the city and environs so don't be put off if you are struggling to understand someone who is presumably speaking the same language as you!

In Cork city, you have the best of both worlds. From music to museums you will not be short of things to do in this lively city abuzz with activity. Take a short drive outside the busy city and feast your eyes on some of the most scenic villages and coastlines you will ever see.

Take a look at the gallery below for some of the best things to do in Cork.

P.S. for the best chips you will ever taste, visit Jackie Lennox's chip shop on Bandon Road.

Related articles

Hotel review: Sheen Falls Lodge, county Kerry

Ireland Travel Guide
Ireland Travel Guide