Cork

Cork

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About Cork

Vibrant and modern Irish second city

Although geographically Cork might be the second largest of Ireland's cities, visitors could easily be forgiven for thinking it more akin to a capital city. Despite being compact in size Cork packs in everything that you ever want in a vibrant and modern cosmopolitan city, while still maintaining the distinct appeal of traditional Irish charm.

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Cork is blessed with a wide variety of accommodation ranging from boutique lodgings and traditional hotels to grand country manors and farmhouse B&Bs. There are plenty of moderately priced guesthouses such as Garnish House (Western Road), which is notable for its freshly baked treats and superb breakfasts, while five-star Hayfield Manor (Perrott Avenue) is just a short walk from the city centre. Right in the centre of town is the Gresham Metropole (MacCurtain Street), a grand yet mid-range hotel that was built in 1897 and offers river views and antique fittings.

The compact nature of Cork makes it an excellent city to shop in, with everything from impressive Victorian arcades and giant malls to quirky boutiques found by diving down side streets. The epicentre of Cork’s shopping scene is St Patrick's Street, while the nearby Opera Lane is a newcomer to the fold. Try the shopping centre at the old Cornmarket (Cornmarket Street) building, or seek out any of the number of larger suburban developments. The 18th-century English Market (Grand Parade) is a must for foodies, while those that love their brands and department stores should head to the flagship Dunnes (Patrick Street), which opened its doors in 1944. Cork is well equipped with souvenirs to take home such as local whiskey, stouts, crystal, ceramics and woollen goods.

A combination of fresh farm produce, great chefs and a range of interesting venues makes Cork one of southern Ireland’s most enticing foodie destinations. The English Market (Grand Parade) is ideal for throwing together a pleasant picnic, thanks to the prominence of local cheeses, meats, fish, sausages, seafood, breads and black pudding. The Farmgate Café makes use of the freshest ingredients to put on excellent meals on the mezzanine level. Vegetarians will love the upmarket Café Paradiso (16 Lancaster Quay) and the interesting choices available on the menu, while the renowned Jacques Restaurant (23 Oliver Plunkett Street) is a worthy spot for a special occasion. Meanwhile for a fusion of Irish and Japanese fare try the Ivory Tower (35 Princes Street).

International Choral Festival

April/May

The five days leading up to the first Monday in May see one of Europe’s leading choral events take place in Cork. The City Hall plays host to most of the performances and competitions, while churches around the city lay on a number of fringe events.

Cork Midsummer Festival

June

Midsummer’s Day marks the beginning of this all-encompassing arts festival that draws leading international names and local Irish talent to Cork. Over the course of 10 days venues spring up anywhere from the roof of the City Hall to factory floors for interesting performances and events.

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

October

Tens of thousands of jazz followers descend on Cork each year to enjoy the biggest jazz festival Ireland has to offer. Running since 1978, the event has seen names such as Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie perform down the years. Over 1,000 musicians from around the world are welcomed over the course of four days.

Cork Folk Festival

October

This lively festival embraces traditional music for four days every October, offering concerts, talks, workshops, impromptu sessions and special events for the kids.

Film Festival

October/November

This film festival has been running since 1956 and sees film lovers gather in Cork for a week long celebration of Irish cinema, which features everything from documentaries to feature films.

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Key facts

Language:English
Currency:Euro
Time zone:GMT
Flight time:1 hour 20 mins
Airport code:ORK
Holiday type:City Break

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