Often overlooked in favor of the country’s more famous capital, Cork is a lively university town that’s home to a busy port, interesting architecture, and a youthful, cosmopolitan vibe. What’s more: it’s possible to see the best of it in a day. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Ireland’s second city.
The south of Ireland is known for its cuisine, and Cork is a foodie town. The English Market, with its ornate Victorian-style vaulted ceilings and columns, is one of the city’s top landmarks and a good place to pass some time browsing the vendors selling local produce. Pick up some snacks or a take-out meal for a picnic in nearby Bishop Lucey Park.
For a closer look at Cork’s cheesemongers, delicatessens, bakeries, and markets, join a food-themed walking tour. An enjoyable way to discover lesser-known parts of the city, these tours typically include food and drink tastings.
Now that you’re fueled up with some authentic Irish fare, it’s time to check out the city’s main sights. If you want to learn more about Cork’s history, but prefer to go at your own pace, a self-guided audio walking tour is the perfect option. After booking, just download the audio file and map, then set out for a stroll.
Alternatively, a hop-on hop-off bus tour covers more ground in less time while still allowing you the freedom to explore at your own pace.The bus stops at attractions such as Blarney Castle and Cobh, and you can board and disembark where you wish.
Round out your day in Cork with a true taste of Irish culture and history at the Jameson Experience. Tours of the distillery are typically an hour long. Learn about the distillation process, and visit the restored 19th-century warehouse, where Jameson’s best-selling Irish whiskey is aged in oak casks. At the end, you’ll have an opportunity to sample some of the finished product.
After the tour, continue drinking at the distillery’s on-site bar and restaurant. Or, head back into the city center for dinner at one of the restaurants or traditional pubs clustered around the Grand Parade.