Cork city guide: what to see, and a best bars, hotels and restaurants

“It’s always Cork initial and Ireland second,” pronounced Roy Keane in a 1997 RTE documentary, Have Boots Will Travel. Keane, now a inhabitant football team’s partner manager, was describing how he replies when people ask where he’s from. However, a existence is this self-proclaimed “rebel city” mostly plays second fiddle to Dublin in terms of attention, change and media hullabaloo – and that even extends to it as a short-break destination. But blank out on Cork is a mistake. This is a city with a tiny bit of everything, and a reason of magic.

Blessed by a plcae in southern Ireland that means uninformed seafood and sensuous panorama for dairy furnish and livestock, Cork’s food stage is multiplying underneath a sharp eye of chefs such as Kate Lawlor and Denis Cotter, and during restaurants including Electric, Farmgate Cafe, Fenn’s Quay and Market Lane. Beer thoughts competence start with Beamish and Murphy’s yet qualification breweries, such as award-winner Rising Sons, as good as Elbow Lane, a Franciscan Well, and a Cotton Ball Brewing Co, yield impression in a pub stage that is alive, good and adhering to cliches – in a best probable sense.

Saint Fin Barre’s cathedral in Bishop Street. Photograph: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Yes, it has a ancestral attractions. Enjoy city views and ring a Shandon Bells during St Anne’s church (adults €5, children €2.50), marvel during a William Burges-designed Saint Fin Barre’s cathedral (€5), chinstroke during a Crawford art gallery (free) – or revisit Cork Butter museum (adult €4, child €1.50). But this student-rich city also has a clarity of fun and a clever informative heartbeat divided from a traveller hits.

Cork hosts 24 vital festivals each year, including Ireland’s oldest film showcase, the Cork film festival, that celebrates a 61st birthday in November. There’s also a world-renowned jazz festival in Oct and annual celebrations of folk music, literature, scholarship and food. What’s more, this is a place built for strolling and has a centre developed for exploring. It has a dim side, too … yet we can some-more simply inspect that amid the, during times, comic sourroundings of Lisa McInerney’s prize-winning novel The Glorious Heresies.

Cork competence mostly have been merely a starting indicate for those streamer west to a rugged, thespian view of a Ring of Kerry, Mizen Head and a Ring of Beara yet it is a fascinating journey in a possess right. The written jousting with Dublin about being a “real” collateral of Ireland is doubtful to finish yet collect any month and there’ll be a good eventuality here; collect a right time and an affordable lapse moody is likely. Cork could be a short-hop stop that turns into a best of adventures.


Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College, Cork. Photograph: Getty Images

Get on a Fab Food Trail

It’s not quick food yet fab food. This walking debate is nutritive and an essential approach to see Cork’s many reputable and up-and-coming cafes, restaurants and marketplace traders. The three-hour guided odyssey reveals good foodie destinations – with tasting opportunities – and provides an discernment into a city’s pattern and history. The groups are tiny (up to 14) and a stopoffs altered frequently – yet it competence embody a resourceful Filter cafe, a swishness of Fenn’s Quay restaurant, and a ace salad and extract bar, The Rocket Man.
Cork Tasting Trail with Fab Food Trails, €55,

Festivals a go-go

Robert Glasper will be behaving during Cork Jazz Festival on Saturday 29 October. Photograph: Hayley Madden/Redferns

It doesn’t matter if we skip a festival in Cork, there’ll be another along in a minute: a city averages dual a month. The jazz festival (28-31 October) attracts star names and this year has a double check featuring a Robert Glasper Experiment and a James Taylor Quartet. The Cork film festival (11-20 November) mixes home-grown movies, a well-curated collect from universe cinema, and a few Hollywood vast hitters. It creates use of venues around a city, including a considerable Opera House. This year, a festival facilities executive Nate Parker’s provocative The Birth of a Nation; Gimme Danger, Jim Jarmusch’s documentary about punk rope a Stooges; a strand of German films; and a array of late-night screenings including a 40th anniversary display of Carrie. If we wish to devise ahead: a midsummer festival in mid-to-late Jun is a balmy jubilee of a arts, while Cork Pride is customarily reason in July.;;;

Back to university

The drift of University College Cork make a pleasing place for a wander – shaggy circuitous paths, walks alongside a stream Lee – yet they also yield a glance of aged and new in harmony. At a opening to a drift is a Lewis Glucksman Gallery, a stately timber, mill and potion construction that hosts giveaway exhibitions. A few mins away, and confronting a tyro centre, is a Honan Chapel: an humanities and crafts design, it celebrates a 100th anniversary in Nov and is named after a Cork businessman family who financed a construction.,

Shop in a marketplace that’s super

The English Market is in a centre of a city and seems to be a heart, too; it positively fills a belly. A normal lonesome marketplace dating from a mid-19th century, it brings together greengrocers, bakers, butchers and fishmongers with a smattering of cafes and a purchase of stalls offered clothes, domicile equipment and art. It’s a finish in a possess right but, importantly, functions as a market, not a novelty. Stalls to check out embody grocer Tom Durcan, for his spiced beef, and Kay O’Connell Fish Merchants, where Pat O’Connell has copiousness of wit to compare his fish wisdom.


Farmgate Café. Photograph: Alamy

Farmgate Café

On a top building of a English Market, this daytime cafeteria has views of a stalls below, branch it into a gallery for watching a scale of a market. Family-run – Rebecca Harte, daughter of a strange owner, Kay, is now a manager – it gets many of a furnish approach from a market. The lunch menu facilities a locate of a day, while beef treats embody hearty-not-heavy pig sausages, mash, lentils and bacon (€12.50) and, for a subtle-but-sweet dish, there’s a St Tola goat’s cheese and roasted beetroot salad (€12.50).
English Market, Princes Street, +353 21 427 8134, Open Mon-Sat 8.30am-5pm


The thoroughness of a menu is on locally held fish and primary Irish steaks yet a art deco building and a views of a Lee from a restaurant, bar and patio supplement an additional jar of “wow” to this foodie haven. A new fish bar, open from 5pm daily, serves 3 Pacific oysters for €7, seafood chowder from €4.50 and a wealthy and poetic easily poached hake with cream (€12).
41 South Mall, +353 21 4222 990,

Cafe Paradiso

The simple, complicated taste of cook Denis Cotter’s grill provides an superb sourroundings for vegetarian cuisine that is gorgeous to demeanour during and usually as fulfilling to eat. Now in a 23rd year, Paradiso offers a menu of dual courses for €33 or 3 for €40. Highlights embody beetroot, watercress and orange risotto with uninformed Ardsallagh goat’s cheese, hunger bulb particle and kai lan greens; and a chilli-glazed tofu, pak choi, rice noodles, tamarind-coconut gas with gingered aduki wonton.
16 Lancaster Quay, +353 21 4277 939, The Paradiso also has dual guestrooms: two-night stay for dual with cooking on one night, €330

Market Lane

In a buzzy plcae on Oliver Plunkett Street, that is lined with shops, cafes and pubs, Market Lane has a menu blending normal Irish mixture with a lurch of continental flair. It’s a good mark for those formulation a longer night out as a early-bird menu, served Monday-Thursday from 5pm-7pm and Sunday 1pm-7pm, has 3 courses for €23.50, that competence contain French onion soup, slow-cooked west Cork ham hock, and vanilla bean ice-cream with almond brittle.
5/6 Oliver Plunkett Street, +353 21 427 4710,

Nash 19

The misfortune thing about Nash 19 – bakery, cafeteria and gallery – is that it closes during 4pm. The good news is, it’s open early: weekdays from 7.30am, Saturdays from 8.30am. And if it’s busy, collect adult a Nash2Go box of sandwiches. If a baked cakes and tarts, or owners Claire Nash’s residence granola (€4) don’t tempt, a full fry-up (€10), or a lunch-time feast of a residence burger with spare fries (€13), should put fuel in a tank.
19 Princes Street, +353 21 427 0880,


Mutton Lane Inn

The Mutton Lane Inn

Welcome to your new favourite pub: a kind of dark-but-welcoming bower that would be ideal were it on a track home from work. Time seems to reason no lean in this compress (and candlelit) pleasure in an alleyway by a English Market. Open from 10.30am (not Sundays), it’s mostly bustling yet somehow there’s always somewhere to lay or column yourself. Rising Sons’ qualification brews underline prominently.
3 Mutton Lane, on Facebook


This cocktail bar in a former cinema offers an remedy to a discord of a some-more required bars found on, and around, Washington Street. Cocktails start from €7 and embody classics such as Tom Collins, Old Fashioned and Mai Tai, with new twists in a Popcorn Daiquiri and The Lethal Weapon (dark rum, grenadine, passion fruit, orange and pineapple). The industrial-chic decor, with a filament-showcasing lightbulbs, nods towards hipsterville yet a fact it also bonds qualification brews from Franciscan Well and Cotton Ball Brewing Co shows a internal roots.
11-12 Washington Street, +353 21 427 3252, on Facebook

Charlie’s Bar

This is a Cork establishment for dual reasons: it’s a wonderful, normal pub to watch live song in, and it’s an early-morning bar. That final bit means it’s open daily (except Sunday) from 7am. Right by a Lee yet still tighten to a city centre, Charlie’s has a spark glow (for a cold mornings) and low-pitched offerings over usually fiddles, drums and accordions to embody rock, blues and more.
2 Union Quay, +353 21 431 8342,

Dennehy’s Bar

A integrate of doors down from Rising Sons’ complicated and cavernous pub-brewery on Cornmarket Street is Dennehy’s Bar – that is utterly a opposite. There’s no TV; instead a walls are flashy with records from a world’s currencies and framed covers of The Phoenix, Ireland’s answer to Private Eye. The bar has been run by a Dennehy family for some-more than 50 years, and that suggestion of smoothness is there in a gibberish of locals and a thoroughness on a basics: bar stools and wooden tables, decent beers and good conversation.
11 Cornmarket Street, +353 21 427 2343, on Facebook

Reidy’s Wine Vault Bar

It’s somewhat out of a city centre, on a highway to a university, yet Reidy’s is a good pitstop for decent beer, good-value food (soups, stews, sandwiches) and a ease atmosphere. It has a sentimental atmosphere with a prolonged wooden bar with copiousness of seats, high stools around round tables and globe-shaped bulbs that give out usually a right volume of comfortable light. There’s also a old-fashioned drink garden during a back.
Western Road, no website


River Lee Hotel

River Lee hotel

This large, plush, contemporary hotel has a picture-perfect plcae on a stream and is roughly inner from a university and a centre of town. The breakfast and dining area is light and airy, a bedrooms are a inexhaustible distance with many carrying views of a stream or Saint Fin Barre’s cathedral and there’s even a tiny spa, pool and gym area.
Doubles from €140 room only, Western Road, +353 21 425 2700,

The Imperial hotel

Whereas a River Lee is complicated and glass-fronted, a Imperial has old-style loftiness and a majority to contend “2016 is my 200th birthday”. The 125 bedrooms brew classical furnishings with complicated amenities and a run is a streaked consternation that is also a gateway to a New York-esque booths and winding bar of Seventy Six on a Mall. That grill is one of three; Lafayette’s Brasserie also impresses – since it seems desirous by Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s in a heart of a city so value a revisit even for those not staying here.
Doubles from €100 room only, South Mall, +353 21 730 6606,

More accommodation options

Montenotte Hotel. Photograph: Miki Barlok

For cheaper stays, try Hotel Isaacs (doubles from €70 BB, or Brú Bar hostel (doubles from €48, dorm beds from €15, Montenotte hotel (doubles from €109 BB, has city views from a terrace, and a possess cinema. The Metropole (doubles from €99 BB, has a poetic pool and is on MacCurtain Street, in what some are job a city’s Victorian Quarter.

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