10 Best Things to See in Cork City
The English Market
Ireland’s oldest food market, located on the Grand Parade, is a must-see while visiting Cork city. Everybody loves food and you will find the best of local food in here. From olives to cheeses, butcher and greengrocers, gifts to take home, picnics for today; whatever you fancy, you will find it in here! A treat indeed!
Built in 1722, St. Anne’s church in Shandon is the most recognisable icon of the city! When you think Cork, you think of St. Anne’s. As a visitor you can climb the 132 steps to get a memorable view of the city. Along the way, you can stop off and play the bells! Yes, your song can sing out around the city! There are song sheets to help you along or just get creative. Fun for all the family!
If you would like to chill out and stroll around an authentic Victorian park here is where you go. There are beautiful walks, a spectacular rose garden, fantastic art, a children’s playground, a lovely cafe as well as the Cork Public Museum which houses an incredible collection of artifacts from days gone by. Truly something for everyone!
St. Finbarr’s Cathedral
Designed by William Burgess, St. Finbarr’s is an incredible example of ‘Gothic Revival’ architecture. It is built on the site of the monastery of St. Finbarr, the patron saint of Cork city, which was here in the 7th Century. Burgess designed every last detail of this amazing building, from its 3 spires to its gargoyles to its beautiful angel with trumpet. This cannot fail to impress!
The Bridges Over the River Lee
The River Lee is the lifeblood of Cork city, running through the city in 2 separate channels, dividing the city into the North side, the South side and Middle Parish. There are about 30 bridges over the river; the oldest being the South Gate Bridge at the end of South Main Street, dating from 1713; and the newest is the Mary Elmes Bridge, opened in 2019. A walk along the river taking in the bridges and admiring the views is highly recommended!
St. Patrick’s Street
St. Patrick’s Street is the main street of the city. It follows the curve of the river on which it was built all the way back in the 1780’s! Known locally as ‘Pana’, it is THE place to promenade in Cork city. It has won numerous awards for best shopping street in Ireland and from Pennys to Brown Thomas, all tastes and budgets are catered to on this fine boulevard.
St. Peter’s Church
There has been a church on this site back to the 1170s! It now hosts an exhibition centre which gives us the history of Cork city. You can also find a sweet little cafe if you want to rest your weary legs.
Cork City Gaol
First built in 1824, Cork city gaol is now operated as a visitor attraction. It is a 20 minute stroll from the city centre but well worth the walk. A visit here will give you a great outline of the history of the city. You can learn of its inmates; from the women incarcerated for ‘foul language’, through to its use during the Irish Civil War. You will even hear of some of the famous escapes!
Cork Butter Museum
Believe it or not, the Cork Butter Market was the BIGGEST butter market in the world. Learn all about it and if you are lucky you will even see butter being made. Much more fun than its name suggests!
Nano Nagle Centre
Located on Douglas Street, just south of the city centre, this award winning museum looks at the life and times of Nano Nagle who founded the religious order of Presentation Sisters now located all over the world. The renovation is magnificent, the gardens are stunning and it is truly an oasis of calm. Recommend highly!