Walk. Cork has a small city centre. A backpacker will most likely be staying, eating, drinking and touring in the city centre.
Taxis are plentiful (except for late Friday and Saturday nights, when demand exceeds supply). There is a bus service to the residential suburbs. Most buses leave from the main street, Patrick's Street or the nearby bus station at Parnell Place.
A guided bus tour departs from near the junction of Grand Parade and South Mall at regular intervals and provides an interesting tour of the main highlights of Cork for those who do not have a lot of time on their hands.
Cork was originally built on several islands (the Gaelic name, Corcaigh, means marsh), and the center of the city sits between the north and south channels of the River Lee. In fact, many of the wider streets, such as Patrick Street or Grand Parade, are actually built on former river channels.
Since the City was founded by St Finbarr over 1,000 years ago, it has grown from a small merchant town into a cosmopolitan and vibrant city that within the Republic of Ireland is second only to Dublin in size and importance.
Statio Bene Fide Carinis' – "A safe Harbour for ships" is the motto of the city that is found on the coat of arms.
Cork Vision Centre. This is in an former church in North Main Street. It has a large scale model of the city which should help your understanding. Free admission.
Elizabeth Fort. Offers a good view over the city. However it is not easily seen from the city. From Southgate Bridge, go up Barrack Street and turn right. There is a police station within the fort.
St Finbarr's Cathedral. This is just a few minutes away from the Elizabeth fort and much easier to find. A fine 19th century Gothic building. Visible from the back is a golden angel high upon a tower.
Shandon Church. The tower and bells are symbols of the city, and overlook it from the north. Visitors are allowed to ring the bells. This church is situated in a conservation area.
Lewis Gluckman Gallery. This piece of modern architecture is situated within the grounds of University College Cork. Within is state of the art technology to protect and display major exhibitions of international art, along with facilities for workshops, film screenings, lectures and art classes. A café is situated on the ground floor.
Cork City Gaol. Slightly outside the city centre, this attraction is very much worth the visit. It can be reached by using the city sightseeing bus, by taxi or by a 30 minute walk. There is a small admission fee, but is worth every penny. The Gaol also provides fine views of the west of the city, including the University.
Cork Historic Walking Tours.offer the visitor the opportunity to understand the City's history, from its foundation by St. Finbarre right up to the 20th Century. The tour brings the visitor to the site of the ancient monastery of Cork, through the areas of Viking settlement, the mediaeval streets of the Norman walled city and along the waterways of the expanding 18th and 19th century city. The tour explains the history of the city in an informative and relaxed way.
Cork has a thriving cultural scene that was acknowledged internationally when it was named the European Capital of Culture for 2005.
Several festivals are held annually in the city giving the visitor an opportunity to experience a wide range of music, theatre and film.
Midsummer Festival. A month long festival featuring theatre, music, art, poetry and much more, throughout the city.
Film Festival. Established more than 50 years ago, the festival features an impressive selection of Irish and international films. Beginning of October. (See http://www.corkfilmfest.org)
Jazz Festival. One of the largest jazz festivals in Europe that consistently attracts top acts from around the world. Last weekend in October. (See http://www.corkjazzfestival.com)
Rossini's Best Italian.
English Market. This is an old covered market in the centre of the city with an abundance of excellent food to suit all tastes and a pleasant cafe, often with live piano music.
The Bodega. Coal Quay. This is actually a cafe/bar set in a very large old industrial space. Very beautifully refurbished. As a place for a drink in the evening it has become less appealing over the years. However they do a very nice brunch menu on a saturday and sunday. Priced from 8-12 euros. Also very nice lunch menu. The best eggs Benedict I have had outside New York City. The crowd is a very diverse mix of young people, professionals and families.
Café Paradiso. Fantastic vegetarian restaurant, one that even the most hardened meat eaters flock to. At the upper end of the budget but worth it for the gourmet vegetarian delights. The Bridgestone Vegetarian Guide says '…I now firmly believe that Cork's Café Paradiso is the only vegetarian restaurant – maybe in the whole of Europe – where the actual enjoyment of the food is paramount...' Find them at 16 Lancaster Quay, Cork. Tel 00353 21 4277939.
Scoozis. Off Winthrop Street. One of the most popular restaurants in Cork, always busy for lunch and dinner. Booking is advisable, but people also often just turn up and queue. Staff are young and friendly, menu is varied, cheap and full of very tasty food. Perfect for big parties, small groups of friends and even a romantic meal for two.
The Ivory Tower. Oliver Plunkett St. This restaurant is a Cork institution. Very eclectic and eccentric food. A five course set meal at 55 euros a head. Cheap it is not. However an intimate and unusual small room with very friendly staff and award winning food. The famous dish from here is Sword fish with banana ketchup. For the less adventurous there is a good selection of high quality quite game-y food. A great wine list.
Fenns Quay. No. 5 Fenns Quay, parallel to Washington St. Quite a modern looking restaurant, a step down price wise from the ivory tower. Contemporary and very high quality and continental cuisine in a nicely renovated old house. Expect to pay about 35-40 euros a head.
Quay Coop. This a great vegetarian restaurant across the walking bridge on Grand Parade. Opening at 9am it is a good stop for breakfast after an early arrival. Great selection of veg and vegan food. This was a coop set up in the eighties by a few of the alternative communities in Cork. It has since become one of the best health food and veg restaurants in the city. The three dining rooms function as an exhibition-space and the noticeboards are a good source of local information. The adjacent whole-food shop and bakery caters for a variety of dietary needs. www.quaycoop.com
Wagamama. South Main St. This is a Japanese noodle bar. Good lunch option starting from 8 euros. Nice Japanese beer. Has a bit of a chain feel. But good food and reasonable.
Ciao Ciao. Washington St. Grand Parade end. Great little Italian place. Run by and patronised by Corks growing Italian community. This place is kind of kitsch looking with the Chianti bottle candle holders etcetera but great Italian cuisine at reasonable prices.
Currans. Adelaide St, off North Main Street. Cheap and cheerful is the best way to describe this restaurant, with the charming rooftop garden a favourite when the weather suits. The restaurant itself is tastefully decorated with items from old Cork buildings, such as pews from an old church and radiators from a renovated hospital.
Lennox's. Bandon Road. This is one of the best chip shops in Cork, extremely popular with the locals, quite cheap, although a little outside the city centre. Chips & a burger: €5 or less. It can be found at the far end of Barrack Street, perfect for when you feel like chips after a night out.
Ecos. Douglas Village. This is one of the Best restaurants in Cork. A must is the fillet stake, with its famous homemade peppered sauce.
Luigi Malones. Emmet Place. Famous for its International Food, Luigi Malones sits across for Cork Opera House.
Sin é, Coburg St. Dark, small and welcoming. Good for traditional music. One of Cork's more atmospheric pubs.
Long Valley, Winthrop St. Busy pub with constant turnover of clientele. Sandwiches are not to be missed! Classical and jazz music in the background. A bit expensive, but not overly so given its city center location.
Franciscan Well, On the riverside north of the Gate Cinema. Has a large beer garden. Brews its own range of beers and has a fine section of foreign bottled beers. This pub organises beer festivals twice yearly.
An Bróg, Oliver Plunkett St. off Grand Parade. Diverse patrons and music make this a favourite among all groups. A late bar open until 2am. Expect to queue during the student year.
The Mutton Lane Inn, Mutton Lane. off Patricks St (first turn after Burger King). This is wned by the same people that run Sin é and it shows. Dark and very comfortable with candle lit tables and trad sessions every monday night. Get in early this place gets packed. Nice selection of beers both foreign and local.
The hi-b, Oliver Plunkett St. off Grand Parade. (Upstairs). This pub is owned by the grumpiest man in cork. It is a tiny room up old creaking stairs. It has a nice mixture of old guys and a young crowd very friendly and welcoming to newcomers despite its intimidating aesthetic. On a Wednesday evening an ole fella plays jazz piano and takes requests. This place is not for everyone, but if you like the kind of intimate place where a stranger sits to tell you his life story then the hi b is great. Be warned, the owner does not tolerate mobile phones in his bar (among numerous other things). Like a stranger sat at my table once told me "you are no-one in Cork until you have been kicked out the hi-b"
Freak Scene, The Qube / The Works Oliver Plunkett Street. Great Student night every Wednesday. One room has alternative and indie, the other disco and soul. Running for 12 years it has outlasted all competitors in a fickle Cork scene. Casual Dress, in fact wear whatever you want!!!! Freakscene website
The Gateway Bar. Can be found next to Elizabeth Fort (see above), and is the oldest pub in Cork. It was established in 1698 and the Dukes of Wellington and Marlborough were among its patrons. It is possibly the oldest pub in Ireland. That title is being claimed by a few pubs in the country. The Brazen Head in Dublin had was a pub before The Gateway, but didn't hold a continuous license!
Gay and Lesbian
taken from www.gaycork.com
INSTINCT, Sullivan's Quay
Recently relocated, spacious and bright, with a first class music policy, Instinct has quickly established itself as Cork's flagship gay venue. Its late licence means many punters now don’t bother heading to clubs any more.
LOAFERS, 26 Douglas St
A cosy pub just south of the city centre, Loafers is Ireland’s oldest gay venue. Less cruisy than Instinct, its laidback, friendly atmosphere attracts a diverse clientele, and it’s generally more popular with women than the other gay venues.
THE OTHER PLACE, Augustine St
‘The club’ now only runs the occasional weekend BUT instead operates a late cafe / bar. Well worth a visit, if you prefer a quiet drink / chat with your friends.
The Other Place website
CLIMAX, @ The Liquid Lounge (Clancy's)
Cork's newest all gay monthly night. It has proved a huge hit with the local gay community, both with then location, staff and the the music.
Grub Café, 8 South Main St
Grub Cafe @ the Other Place, is open Tuesday - Saturday 12pm to 6pm.
Grub Café website
Jury's Inn. This is a 3 star hotel, part of the Jurys Doyle group. Rooms from about €90. On Andersen Quay, very near the bus station.
Metropole Hotel. This is also part of a group, Gresham Hotels. Rooms from about €110. This hotel is on MacCurtain Street, on the north side of the city centre.
Imperial Hotel. This hotel, on South Mall right in the city centre, can have decent weekend deals, but is edging towards the more expensive end.
Hayfield Manor. Possibly Corks grandest hotel. Hidden away at the top of a cul-de-sac on Perrot Avenue, off College Road, this 5 star hotel is an expensive and luxurious hotel. Backpackers normally work here, rather than spend the night.
Kingsley House Hotel. Slightly outside of town, near Cork County Hall, (tallest building in Ireland), on Carraigrohane Straight this hotel is new and currently being expanded. Has a reputation of being a lovely, top-end hotel.
The Clarion Hotel. Brand new, boasting a nice riverside promenade, this hotel is proving very popular. Easily accessible, within close walking distance of the city centre.
Blarney Castle, This is a famous and probably over-rated Irish attraction (though the grounds are fairly pleasant). A historical story behind it has given rise to the word 'blarney' meaning the ability to talk your way out of trouble. Blarney castle has summer and winter opening hours so check before your visit to avoid dissapointment.
Cobh, Formerly known as Queenstown. This was the port for Cork in the ages of the great lines, and still sees the occasional cruise ship. It can be reached by a suburban train. Cobh also boasts an interesting heritage centre. Check opening hours before travelling.
Fota Wildlife Park and Arboretum, set on an island in Cork harbour and reached by road or the Cobh suburban train.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!