What to See and Do in Cork

What to See and Do


Situated directly across from the Hayfield Manor Hotel, the sprawling historic campus of Cork’s University is the ideal way to spend an afternoon, strolling through the beautiful grounds. With a range of architecturally diverse buildings and a beautiful river way walk and gardens, UCC is sure to impress. Nestled within aged trees on the University grounds is the award winning Glucksman Gallery. A feat in architectural design, the Glucksman is a lure for visitors and Corkonians alike. Relax in the café before pursuing the striking visual arts displayed in the gallery.
Further information available.

Cork City Gaol

Across the river Lee on the Northside of the city is the gaol. This is a major tourist attraction in the city today. Take a tour through the gaol, as well as the radio museum which is housed there. Audio tours are available in 8 languages where visitors can learn about the day-to-day life in the prison. For the more daring, the haunting night time tour is a new addition to the schedule. (night time tour only available Oct – May).
Further information available.

Shandon Street

A Cork institution, Shandon Church stands tall and proud over the city. A short walk from the main shopping district, Shandon Street is steeped in history and culture. Climb the 120 ft steeple to ring the bells of Shandon and gaze at the panoramic views of the city. Also located on Shandon Street is the Butter Museum.
Further information available.


Cork offers a wide range of dining options, with something to suit all tastes. Numerous award winning restaurants line the streets of the city offering a wide range of choices to satisfy all, with a good mix of traditional, European, and Oriental cuisine on offer. For a laid back afternoon, relax outside one of the many cafés and watch the city go by.

Pubs and Nightlife

Cork experiences a bustling nightlife that you would expect from a major city. From traditional Irish pubs to cosmopolitan cocktail bars, a diverse range of bars and pubs ensure a venue to suit your preference. The city has been awarded a Purple Flag for its safe and vibrant night-time offerings.

Experience Culture

Cork is a culturally developed city, appealing to anyone interested in art, music, or the fine arts. A range of art galleries throughout the city showcase the works of both local and international talents. The Opera House and Everyman Palace Theatre run a diverse programme of music, plays, and dance throughout the year. With a number of annual Cork festivals, such as The Jazz Festival, Cork Arts Fest, and the Film Festival, it is clear to see why Cork was the European Capital of Culture in 2005.

And a little beyond


The village of Blarney is a must – see for any visitor to Cork. Stroll through the stunning gardens of the Blarney Castle, and take the opportunity to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone, which will bestow you with the gift of eloquence. For a unique shopping excursion, visit the Blarney Woolen Mills which specializes in Irish gifts and souvenirs. End the day with a taste of Irish cuisine in one of the many pubs and restaurants surrounding the village green. This is certainly an attraction that is not to be missed.
Further information available.


The Harbour town of Kinsale has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cork. Famed for it’s abundance of delicious award winning restaurants & stunning Harbour views, a trip to Kinsale is worth the mere half hour journey from the city of Cork. Beautiful scenic walks around historical grounds and coastal inlets are a great way to spend an afternoon, before dining in one of the many restaurants where seafood is a specialty.


The harbour town of Cobh is a popular tourist destination and is just a short journey from Cork city, with a regular bus and train service to the town. The last port of call for the Titanic, homage is paid to the thousands of Irish who emigrated in the Cobh Heritage Centre. Sample the fare in one of the various restaurants, and visit the Cathedral high on the hill overlooking the town. Here you also visit the Titanic Experience which is a big hit with visitors. 



Fota House & Gardens

Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens is a fabulous regency style great country house steeped in history. Guided tours allow you to explore the house and take you on a journey to discover fascinating insights into the contrasting lives of the masters of a former time. There is always something to do with a range of cultural events for all ages as well as family events and evening concerts. The Blackstone Café on site also serves delicious food from the Victoria Working Garden and is the perfect place to relax and take some time out. 

Cork’s Coastline

Cork’s coastline offers picturesque scenery for you to enjoy. Stroll along the white sands of Inchydoney Beach, surf in Ballycotton, or take the ferry from
Glengariff to Garnish Island, famed for its stunning gardens and views. Visit the famous Bantry Bay, where sampling freshly caught seafood is a delicious treat.The coastline is truly spectacular.

Midleton Distillery

The Jameson Old Midleton Distillery in East Cork is a wonderful, worthwhile excursion. Tour the distillery and learn how the world famous Irish Whiskey is made. Finish the tour with a whiskey tasting.
Further information available.

Spike Island

Spike Island is an island of 104 acres in Lower Cork Harbour. Shortly after Christianity was introduced to Ireland, St Mochuda started a church here. He left 20 brothers on the island while he continued his mission around Ireland. Smuggling was widely practiced in the 18th century and the dark riggedness of the Spike Island shoreline was a favourite hiding place for smugglers.

This is only a short snippit of the history of Spike Island. Now available are ferry and walking tours of the island from €11.00. Further information on times and further prices are available here.