A weekend in Cork

Enjoy a craic-filled getaway to Ireland's third-biggest city

The city of Cork, in the county of the same name, sits in the very south of Ireland. The city’s heart lies between the north and south branches of the River Lee, and the omnipresence of these waterways give Cork its nickname of “Ireland’s Venice”.

Designated European Capital of Culture back in 2005, the compact city underwent extensive refurbishment, contributing to the lively modernity of the present-day university town. It’s just the perfect size to explore leisurely on foot. All our recommendations for things to do and where to eat and stay are rated by AA and/or VisitEngland

Things to do in Cork

Cork’s history dates to the mid- 7th century, when St Finbarr founded a monastery on marshland here, which went on to become a Viking town. St Fin Barre’s Cathedral lies to the south and is named for the city’s founder and patron saint. By the 19th century Cork had grown in prosperity with a thriving sea trade focused largely on shipping butter to Australia and South America – plenty more information about the city's fascinating story is on hand at the Cork Visitor Centre on North Main Street and the Public Museum in Fitzgerald Park.

Living up to its status as a former European Capital of Culture, Cork has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, with a calendar packed with regular international festivals throughout the year, including Jazz, Folk and Film. It’s in the numerous pubs and bars, though, that the cultural heart of Cork beats most fiercely, with the entire area known for its artists and musicians.

Just a short drive away from Cork is Blarney Castle & Gardens, the home of the famous and much-kissed Blarney Stone and, almost as quintessentially Irish, the Jameson Experience with its distillery tours and whiskey tastings.

Recommended things to do in Cork

Blarney Castle & Gardens

Cork City Gaol

Cork Public Museum

Forta Wildlife Park

The Jameson Experience

The Queenstown Story @ Cobh Heritage Centre

Places to stay in Cork

Cork has accommodation options to suit all tastes, from five-star luxury to quirky boutique hotels.

Top-rated recommendations

Hayfield Manor

Hotel Isaacs

Maryborough Hotel & Spa

The Montenotte Hotel

Where to eat in Cork

Whether you’re looking for a delicious pub meal or something a bit more special, Cork isn't short of tasty options.

Recommended restaurants

Bellini's Restaurant


Panorama Bistro & Terrace

Perrotts Garden Bistro

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