Cork, Ireland's 'Real Capital'
In South West Ireland, the original nucleus of Cork grew around an abbey on an island in the River Lee in the seventh century. Cork is now one of Ireland's busiest ports. It's a charming seaport with quays and many stone bridges. People come from afar to hear St Anne's Church's Shandon Bells and then perhaps go to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. For shopping, St Patrick's Street and the Old English Market, opened in the eighteenth century, are the places to go to. The city's symbol is the red sandstone and white limestone Shandon tower in the north part of the city. Other landmarks include St Fin Barre's Cathedral, the University College Cork, with its nineteenth century Quad and Cork City Gaol museum.
Best time for a Cork city trip
Cork's weather is mild, yet very varied and often wet. Winters are also mild and temperatures are usually above freezing. Cork is one of Ireland's sunniest cities. For visiting at festival time, Cork Midsummer Festival is held from mid-June with one month of arts and events, many of which take place in the streets and venues such as Blackrock Castle Observatory and Elizabeth Fort. In October it's time for Cork Folk Festival with top Irish and many musicians from around the world. In the last week of October there's the Jazz Festival, Ireland's biggest jazz event. Then at the beginning of November the showcase of Irish films is the Film Festival.
Tips before visiting Cork
The city centre is on an island on the River Lee. Parking costs about 2EUR per hour during the day. Cork is generally cheaper than London. A basic meal out costs around 12EUR. Beer is around 3EUR. Traditional food specialities include artisan cheeses and a black pudding (Drisheen).
Cork local information
Take Bus Éireann's number 226A bus from the airport to Cork bus station. The fare is about 7.40EUR and the journey takes about 30 minutes. Taxis cost about 30EUR to 35EUR. A cheap hostel starts at about 12EUR in a shared room, while 3 star hotels cost around 90EUR. The city centre is small and can be explored on foot. A single bus fare is about 2EUR. A day travelcard costs around 5EUR. You buy tickets on the bus. Buses run to the suburbs. There are taxi ranks throughout the city. Taxis are metered with standard fares.