Cork is a great city for a weekend break for couples, families and groups. A city that certainly has enough to keep you busy for a short break. You can grab a flight to Cork from most UK airports and be in Southern Ireland in about an hour. I usually search for good deals using ebookers or Travel Supermarket.
A pretty city with the River Lee running through it and plenty of bridges to cross between the North and South sides. I was lucky enough to spot a seal in the river on my last trip! There is a busy shopping area in and around the main St Patrick’s Street and there are plenty of hotels, restaurants and bars conveniently situated on both sides of the river.
My Top 5 of Cork
1. Cork Gaol
This is a really great touristy thing to do. The Old Gaol is well preserved and you can wander around the cells and read about the history of the place and some of its inmates. The Gaol opened in 1824 and was closed in 1923 and was home to both male and female prisoners. It was restored and opened in 1993 as a tourist attraction.
2. Grab a Guinness or even better drink a Black Velvet
Who doesn’t love a pint of Guinness when you are in Ireland? It tastes completely different to anywhere else in the world. If you are celebrating a special occasion I would thoroughly recommend adding champagne or prosecco to your pint to create a magical Black Velvet. I love the atmosphere of St Patrick’s Street so if you can, head for Le Chateau Bar. If the weather is okay it’s great sitting at one of the beer barrel tables watching the world go by. The food is pretty decent pub grub too.
If you are on a stag or hen party or just on a weekend with friends there is a great pub crawl around some of the old bars of the city. You can either sign up for the ‘official guided tour’ or just grab a map from your hotel and follow the trail of all of the bars yourself. Either way, you will have a great night out and no doubt make some new friends along the way.
3. Blarney Castle
A few miles out of the city centre is Blarney Castle, the castle and grounds are fabulous but the main attraction is the Blarney Stone. Apparently kissing the stone gives you the legendary Irish gift of the gab. Some of us don’t actually need any more gab but if you’ve gone all that way you might as well kiss it! It is a steep climb up through narrow stairways but once at the top, the view is incredible. To kiss the stone you will need to sit down and bend backwards, don’t worry there’s a couple of strong men on hand to help you out.
4. The English Market
Just off St Patrick’s Street, The English Market is a food market full of fresh artisan products. The sights and smells are amazing, the place is usually bustling so grab a coffee and relax. If you are planning to pop in know that it is closed on Sunday and bank holidays.
5. Shandon Bells
The Shandon Bells at St Anne’s church can be heard across the city and is just on the North side of the River Lee. The bell ringers seem to always be practising and they do a really good rendition of happy birthday! The bell tower is a distinctive feature across the city skyline and houses the original 18th-century bells. If you visit the tower you can also try out ringing the bells for yourself
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When I am on a weekend break I always try to take in the sights on the hop on hop off city bus tours. It gives you a good overview of the place and lets you see some things that you perhaps want to go back to and spend a little longer doing later.
That’s my quick round up of my favourite 5 in and around Cork. Let me know what your favourite is and more importantly whether you spotted the illusive River Lee seal?
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