Cork is found just inland on the South-West coast of Ireland along the River Lee. It’s name comes from the corcach, meaning marsh in Irish, after the marshy area the city was built on and around. It’s a great city to visit, full of attractions to keep visitors occupied.
In the 6th century Cork was founded as a monastic settlement by Saint Finbarr, however it was only in the years 915 to 922 when the Vikings settled in the area that Cork was established as a port and urban area. Cork was prized as one of the largest natural harbours by navigational terms which greatly aided the establishment of trading routes in and out of the city.
Since the 19th century Cork was a strong Irish nationalist city, nicknamed “The Rebel City”.
Things to do in Cork:
1. Check out the National Monument
The National Monument found on the Grand Parade was unveiled in 1906 on St Patrick’s Day to commemorate the rebellions: 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867. The statues are of Wolfe Tone, Michael Dwyer, Thomas Davis, Peter O’Neill Crowley and ‘Mother Erin’, all great Irish patriots in the rebellions. The Grand Parade on which the monument is situated on was once a waterway through the city.
2. Holy Trinity Church & Capuchin Friary
Like cool, old churches? Cork’s full of them. The 19th century church is found along the River Lee and is built in a Gothic Revival architecture. It reaches a 49m height
3.Walk along the River Lee
A great way to see Cork is by walking along the River Lee which empties in the Cork Harbour. Many of Corks great attractions are along the river.
4. Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral
Another 19th century church to take note of, not a far walk from the River Lee is the Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. It’s an impressive building dominating Cork’s skyline and is on the site of a 7th century monastery which it is believed was established by Finbarr of Cork. The old monastery on the site suffered damage and periods of rebuilding during the medieval times. Today the 19th century cathedral stands in it’s place.
5. Elizabeth Fort
The star-shaped fort was first constructed in 1601 and was pivotal in the defence of the city. Today visitors can tour the fort, take in the great views of the city from the top of the walls and learn more about the history of the city. Take a look at http://www.elizabethfort.ie/
6. Remains of a 13th century medieval wall
Just goes to show that you can find medieval history in the most unlikely of places in Cork. Just off Tuckey Street there is a park with the preserved medieval wall. Today it seems to be more of a recreation area for pigeons, but there you go.
7. The Huguenot Quarter of Cork city
In the 17th century approximately 5’000 French refugees fleeing religious persecution in France arrived in Cork. They settled in an area known today as French Church street, having built an almshouse (accommodation provided by charity to the poor), a school and a graveyard.
There are some nice restaurants along French Church Street.
8. The English Market
The English Market dates back to the 18th century and was historically was a social hub, meeting place and market full of local and foreign produce. Today it’s a popular tourist attraction, still with food sourced locally and afar.
You can expect to find everything from cheese, meat, fruits and veggies, herbs and spices. There is also some good coffee available.
Goes without saying, there’s some great craic that can be had in Cork! There are some terrific bars and pubs around. I can personally recommend The Oliver Plunkett (wish I’d remembered to grab a photo, but it proves I had such a great time I forgot!).
My impression is that Cork is a great city, full of history, full of great things to do and definitely worth a visit – or a few! I’ll definitely plan to be back.