Southern Ireland: what to do in Cork and its surroundings?

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Alejandra Rangel


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The south is probably one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland (along with Connemara). The rugged terrain contrasts with the gentle hilly landscapes of the rest of the island. Finally, for foodies, the south of the country is a region that offers a wide variety of smoked dishes, cheeses and breads. Discover now what to see and do in Cork and its surroundings!

Visit the St Fin Barre Cathedral

If Saint Patrick is the patron of Ireland, Saint Fin Barre is indeed the patron of Cork. Many monuments are dedicated to him, including the university and the cathedral. This neo-Gothic cathedral is also worth a detour, for the refinement of its ornamental details and for its sumptuous stained glass windows!

Saint Fin Barre Cathedral

Stroll through the English market

A stop by the English Market is compulsory for those who want to know Cork. This is a huge covered market, located in the heart of the city with entrances to the main arteries of Cork. You will find fishmongers, bakers and even cheese makers. An ideal place if you want to do a gourmet shopping ... Upstairs, restaurants offer very nice stops. On Saturday lunchtime, you might have the chance to see an organist perform for everyone's enjoyment.

English Market

Shivering in Cork Prison

Located on the heights of the city, this prison can be visited day after day. Everyone can hear and see what the life of an inmate and that of one of his jailers looked like, thanks to an exemplary reconstruction. In one of the parts of the prison you can also visit the radio museum. A must visit to do in Cork!

Cork Prison Museum

Explore the Shandon district

Perched on a small hill overlooking the city center, the Shandon district is a compulsory passage point for tourists. Its heights offer breathtaking views of the city! The many cafes, restaurants and antique galleries that hide in its narrow streets, pleasantly enliven the promenade. Shandon is built around St. Anne's Church, also called Four-Faced-Liar, due to its four clocks which each display a different time. Ring the church bells then go up its 132 steps to discover the city from above, are among the must-do things to do in Cork, as is a visit to the Cork Butter Museum, which reminds us that the city hosted, in the 1860s, the largest butter market in the world!

Saint-Anne church

Taste whiskey in moderation at the Jameson Distillery

The Jameson distillery offers you a real step back in time. In Middleton, discover whiskey making techniques, barley fermentation or even warehouses. A rewarding visit, whether you are a whiskey lover or not!

The Jameson Distillery

Discover the soul of Irish fishermen in Kinsale

About 30 km south of Cork is the small fishing port of Kinsale. Its low, single storey houses are typical of the local architecture, which has housed families facing the sea for generations. Besides its authenticity, Kinsale is also an ideal place to admire all the creativity of the people of Ireland. Indeed, Kinsale is known for its colorful facades, offering a kaleidoscope of colors all more flashy than the others. Red, orange, blue and green… the walls of the houses are a true ode to the joy of living and a masterful thumb of the nose at the sometimes a little too gray sky of the land of the elves and the korrigans.


Embrace the Stone of Eloquence of Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is located only ten kilometers from Cork city center. When you have done all there is to do in Cork, we ask you to rent a bike and take your day to get lost in the magnificent gardens of this 11th century monument. Besides the majesty of the place, the castle has especially become famous thanks to the famous "stone of eloquence" which it shelters within its walls. Legend has it that kissing her head upside down gives the power of precise speech and timeliness. So don't be surprised if you see tourists kissing her languidly lying on her back!

Blarney Castle

Relive the Titanic tragedy in Cobh

If you like the train, we recommend that you take the one that will take you to Cobh. For a few euros you will land in the city that was the last stop for the Titanic before his disappearance. The “Titanic Trail” is a good way to discover the small town and benefit from the knowledge of a local guide. But the real must-see here is in the premises of the "White Star Line" who was the charterer of the Titanic for its last voyage. A permanent exhibition retraces the tragic fate of this sea monster and its passengers, thanks to well-made and very touching installations.

Titanic Trail from Cobh

Stroll along the trails of Ilnacullin's garden island

Ireland is a land of myths and legends and it often surprises us with its omnipresent alchemy between Nature and Man. Ilnacullin's Garden Island is one of those special places, where natural laws seem to be upset. Once a simple pebble, it has been patiently transformed into a plant sanctuary where a multitude of species grows, protected from sea winds by the conformation of Bantry Bay. Endemic species are surprisingly close to exotic plants or Italian-style architectural buildings. This island of Babel is also a privileged resting place for seal colonies, who like to bask on the shore. A must see !

Inacullin's Garden Island

Useful information

  • To reach Cork City, there are several options available to you. For around twenty euros, you can take the train from Dublin and quietly reach the region.
  • But also know that the company Ryan Air offers the possibility of landing directly in Cork. Generally speaking, plane tickets to Ireland from Paris are very affordable. Avoid the high season, however, when prices increase significantly.
  • Cork is not a megalopolis, you can therefore stay in the city center for a low price but we recommend all the same to move away a little, to enjoy the bucolic setting of countryside Ireland. Kinsale or Cobh, for example, are good drop-off points while remaining close to the city.
The Lee River

PRACTICAL TIPS : Check the weather forecast for Cork before you go.

Cork's must-sees… what next?

Cork City is, like many cities in Ireland, a land of magic that combines powerful nature with an ever-vibrant culture. The majority of things to do in Cork come from a rich and typical folklore, which is found a bit in cities like Galway or Dublin. However, Ireland is also a land of diversity where each part of the island has specificities. We cannot therefore recommend anything other than to travel it from north to south and back and forth, to make the most of its charms. From the Giant's Causeway to the walls lined with Belfast street art, passing through the pubs of Dublin, you are not done marveling in Ireland!

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