30 Unique Things to do in Cork City + County: A Local’s Guide

30 Unique Things to do in Cork City + County: A Local’s Guide

Wondering what to do in Cork? Let us give you the local’s tour.

To some, it’s’ the maverick county’ and to us Corkonians it’s’ the real capital of Ireland’( no hard feelings, Dublin !). Whatever list you take for it, Cork is brilliant.

A panoramic view of Baltimore Beacon and the coast of Sherkin Island, County Cork.Visiting Baltimore Beacon& Sherkin Island is amongst our favourite things to do in Cork( district ).

At virtually 7,500 square km, it’s the biggest county in Ireland in terms of size.

Cork City is a hive of cosy pubs, live music venues, high-pitched street browsing, student life, and artistic culture. Meanwhile, the countryside is home to heather-coated slopes, farmland, and some of the country’s most dazing southerly coastline.

For an outdoor devotee, it’s a total dream( as long as the weather’s on your line-up ).

For those of you planning on meeting the trip over — and those of you who are already here — let us make you through our favourite things to do in Cork City and province.

We’ll share our take on the best places to visit, things to see, favourite entertainments, and our favourite underrated gems — from adventurous outdoor activities to the best inns to hole up in when the brave turns nasty.

If you like this post and you’re keen to know more, head over to our epic list of 50 outdoorsy things to do in West Cork for specific gratuities on towns like Bantry, Skibbereen, Kinsale, Castletownbere, Baltimore, and more!

Things to do in Cork City

Grab chocolate in Gulp’d

If you don’t know it’s there, this phenomenal hidey depression of a coffeehouse is all too easy to miss; but sidle down the alley next to Soho on Grand Parade and you’ll find the doorway to Gulp’d.

Head inside for a gourmet sandwich stuffed with regional cheeses and light-greens or for a slap up breakfast of shakshuka. Top it off with a bangin’ cup of coffee( if the sunlight is out, give your bowl and take it out to the garden and sit on the lawn outside the Triskel Christchurch ).

‘Obsessed’ isn’t even the word — this is the loveliest little coffeehouse in Cork City by a country mile.

Visit the Triskel Arts Centre

Once you’ve slurped down your coffee, president inside the Triskel Arts Centre( it’s attached to the cafe below ). The converted school multitudes a variety of art exhibitions and art house cinema screenings; invariably interesting and always worth site visits.

Grab a ticket for one of their daily cinema screenings and watch the show from your seat in a religiou pew.

Speaking of which, we once went to see that outrageous Lars von Trier’ Nymphomaniac’ film in here — relatively fantastic to watch what can only be described as soft core porn in a place of worship( while I imagine some might find this offensive, I were simply guess that those people have never seen Shia Labeouf in the snip ). But umm, I guess that’s a story for a different pole?

Peruse the Crawford Art Gallery

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We love this beautiful moment from a group of South Korean visitors who recently invested their last day in Cork soaking up some last flecks of Irish culture in our shows.( We also adoration this’ store hang’ of draws in THE GIBSON BEQUEST !)* What do you enjoy most about your hall?* #crawfordartgallery #gibsonbequest #corkcity #cork #ireland #irelandsancienteast #purecork #mickeymouse

A post shared by Crawford Art Gallery (@ crawfordartgallery) on Jul 28, 2019 at 1:03 am PDT

Cork’s imaginative feeling guides late, and if you want to check out the best of the city’s visual arts you can’t miss out the Crawford Gallery. The sprawling brick building convenes just behind Patrick’s Street — the biggest retail street in the city. With a focus on Irish art, the gallery lives a permanent collect of contemporary and traditional offices as well as revolving exhibitions.

Go to the theatre

Between the Opera House, the Everyman Theatre, and the Cork Arts Theatre, there’s ever a indicate to see in Cork City.

With a ability of 1,000 people in their prime auditorium, the Opera House is the largest theatre; followed by the 650 -seater Victorian Everyman Theatre, and the intimate Cork Arts Theatre which benches only 100.

Between them, they register a huge range of romps, pantos, comedy, dance achievements, opera, musicals, and live music acts of all kinds.

Catch a show in City Limits Comedy Club

Cork’s iconic slapstick fraternity has been becoming since the 1990 ’s and has played host to tons of stand-up behaves over the years. From Irish lores like Dara O’Briain, Tommy Tiernan, and Jason Byrne to international comics like Eddie Brill, City Limits is one of our favourite residences to visit in Cork City when we’re looking forward to a laugh and a few beers.

Check out upcoming acts on City Limits’ website.

Discover the English Market

There isn’t a single nice roll of things to do in Cork City that doesn’t include a see to the English Market — and for good reason.

The bustling indoor marketplace is one of the most vibrant arranges to visit in Cork, whether you’re there to do the week’s shopping, give a cheeky bottle of organic wine-colored, or simply ogle at all the wares.

Local cheese, fleshes, fish, artisan dough, and fresh develop are all on the menu here; with batch of grab-and-go food stallings to boot. For the carnivorous amongst you, don’t miss O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausage Company’s sandwiches, while veggos should look out for the incredible spread offered by The Real Olive Company.

Psst: you can visit the English Market as part of a self-guided audio tour of Cork City! It’s very affordable, and a great way of getting to know the highlights of Cork for first-time visitors.

See George Boole’s House

One of the best things to do in Cork for biography admirers, visiting George Boole’s house is a brilliant way of familiarising yourself with some of the lesser-known parts of the city’s heritage( for those that might not be familiar, Boole is the founder of Boolean logic which underpinned the development of the firstly digital computers and is still crucial to today’s computer sciences ).

During the 19 th Century, the acclaimed mathematician was a lecturer at University College Cork( Queen’s University, as it was back then) and lived in a house on the banks of the River Lee — which is where he appointed some of his seminal works.

The Irish government has put an enormous amount of money into an bold redevelopment of George Boole’s house in recent years — in itself a true evidence to his importance to the city.

Get a attitude of Cork City& reverberating the Bells of Shandon

Leave the humming of the city centre behind you and cross the footbridge over the River Lee to reach Shandon Street, dwelling of St. Anne’s Church and the Bells of Shandon. Climb up the 130 -something stairs for the best panoramic view of the city — and for a chance to pealing the bells yourself.

It payments EUR5 to enter the church and pass’ em a hoop, the proceeds of which go to maintaining the historic site. You can also include the above activities as part of a self-guided audio tour of Cork City, which includes a inspect to the English Market and Patrick’s Street.

Pizza+ beers in the Franciscan Well Brewery

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It’s certainly a epoch for the beer garden !! #Beer #Pizza #BeerGarden #Cocktails #TGIF

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By far one of my favourite places available in Cork City to go for a few scoops! It may be a microbrewery, but the infinite itself is slew large-hearted, with a big beer garden out the back. There’s an genuine timber shot pizza oven out there too, and confidence me when I say to you there’s no better pizza+ brew combo in Cork than one of the following options babes and a beer of Rebel Red. Yum.

Live music in Crane Lane( plus cheese+ wine-colored in Arthur Mayne’s)

Slip down the side streets by the GPO on Oliver Plunkett Street and you’ll reaching Crane Lane, one of Cork’s best live music venues. They host a regular lineup of musicians — many of whom are neighbourhood up-and-comers — performing anything from electro shaking to acoustic guitar.

The pub has a brilliant selection of craft brews, but if it’s a really good glass of wine-coloured you’re craving merely pop over the alley to their sister business, Arthur Mayne’s. Set in an old-time apothecary( with all the mesmerizing remnants of bygone years still on display ), the menu is all mouthwatering cheese cards and vino. All the vino.

Visit Saint Finbarre’s Cathedral

Sitting at the top of municipality ignoring Grand Parade, St. Finbarre’s Cathedral is a real landmark of the City of Cork — and touring is a must when you’re in municipality for the first time. The magnificent Gothic spires and impressive structure belies an even more opulent interior. Though there is a EUR6 entry fee, there are steers available inside who are happy to show you around the complex interior and share the fascinating history of St. Fin Barre, so plenty of bang for your buck.

Things to do in Cork County

Baltimore Beacon

Grace and Blacky the dog standing on a cliff facing the Baltimore Beacon, County Cork. The blue sky is filled with fluffy white clouds and the scene overlooks Sherkin island.The Boo cherishes the Beacon.

Visiting Baltimore Beacon is one of our all-time favourite things to do in Cork on a sunny daylight( though admittedly it’s still mega superb on a morose date as well ). The beings futuristic-looking structure was originally built to act the way a lighthouse does( minus the flame, that is ); its white-hot colour and prominence is enough to warn oncoming ships of the approaching coastline.

The Beacon is surrounded by grass, gorse, and heather coated mountains offering an absurd consider of the coast of Sherkin Island( more on that below !). It’s exactly a short scramble up a mound from a small car park below, which is free to use.

Once you’re all tuckered out, fix your method back to Baltimore proper and treat yourself to a jar of Moretti from Jacob’s Bar and an authentic thin layer pizza from La Jolie Brise next door. So. Damn. Good.

Kayaking& SUPing on Loch Hyne

Set just outside the lovely little town of Baltimore, Loch Hyne is a lake where you can go fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. The unit at Atlantic Sea Kayaking proposal all kinds of extraordinary jaunts now, including a really unique starlight kayaking ordeal at night.

Psst: they likewise do kayaking and SUP tours in Cork City! If you’re not into going this far into the countryside, emphatically check out their website and identify what’s on in the city.

Sherkin Island

Two friends standing on the coastline overlooking Horseshoe Bay, Sherkin Island, County Cork at sunset.

Cork is home to a exceptional regalium of islands, all of which merit a visit in one way or another, though our personal beloved( because scenery, beer, and music) is Sherkin Island. It’s exactly a 10 time boat ride over from Baltimore harbour( tickets can be bought on the boat and cost EUR1 2 return — a little steep but it what it is ).

As soon as you step off the boat it feels as though time has slowed down. Small island developing is host to 100 -odd people, a few spoilt castles, a couple of pubs, and not much else. Simply set, it’s perfectly f’ing delightful.

The Jolly Roger is our go-to for a good beer and part of burrow( the Stonewell Cider, brewed in Kinsale, is a winner; as is the draft beers of Sherkin Lass, the regional Baltimore brew ). Keep an nose on their Facebook page for gig inventories; they get absolutely amazing musicians in there — from homegrown acts like the Jukebox Gyspys to international lores like Natty Wailer.

Jameson Whiskey Experience

Visiting the Jameson Distillery is by far one of the most popular things to do in Cork for first-time visitors to Ireland. Located in Middleton, you can visit the microbrewery and learn the ins and outs of the production of one of Ireland’s most famous whiskeys.

Snag yourself a place on the Jameson Whiskey Experience and in addition to the guided tour, you’ll too be able to take part in a whiskey savouring conference( and become a qualified taster while you’re at it !), tour the world’s largest bowl still, and enjoy a complimentary Jameson for yourself at the end.

Visit The Donkey Sanctuary

Set on the outskirts of Mallow in the small town of Liscarroll, visiting The Donkey Sanctuary is one of the loveliest things to do in Cork if you’re an animal lover.

They have four locations, though Knockardbane Farm is the only one that’s open to public guests. At that farm alone, they have something like 150 ass in their upkeep — though it’s a breathtaking 5,600 that they’ve rescued and cared for since they opened in 1987.

There’s no record fee( though subscriptions are appreciated) and pilgrims may wish to make their duration strolling through “the farmers “, getting to know the animals, and compiling employment of the picnic area.

Walk the Blackwater Way

The Blackwater Way is a 180km network of stepping paths that run by Mallow, Fermoy, and into South Tipperary. The waymarked road combinations the two much-loved walkings of the Avondhu Way and the Duhallow Way, comprised of heatherland, quagmires, boreens, rivers, lakes, mountains, and a handful of farms.

Thanks to the trailheads, it’s an easy one to take over logistically. Those looking for a challenge can test their hiking sciences on some of the steeper areas, like the Paps Mountains and the Nagle Hills, where you’ll score unreal views of the sprawling countryside.

Wakeboarding at Ballyhass Wake Park

If you’ve been following along with Extreme Nomads for a while, it’ll come as no surprise that we scouted out Cork’s one and only cable park as soon as we got back( lies, Jim actually had it pegged before we even arrived in the country !). Ballyhass is located precisely north of Cork City, and is home to the province’s exclusively 2 fortres cable wakeboarding park.

Serving up sauciness for both rookies and advanced shredders, Ballyhass Wake Park boasts a 2 castle structure with a mix of kickers and runways. They regularly host contests, meet-ups, and travelling conferences at the park( including an formidable ladies-only morning sesh !) — a luminous behavior to get out on the spray and in with the local act sports crew.


Just north of the city, Adventure Park on Watergrass Hill is one of the most fun places in cork to visit with kids( or if you’re a bit of a big kid yourself ). Not simply do they give some of the best extend karting experiences in Ireland, they’ve also recently expanded the roster to include laser tag, laser clay shooting, archery, and human bubble football.

Zorbing& paintball at Funmanway

The West Cork town of Dunmanway is, relatively unexpectedly, residence to Ireland’s largest zorbing line. Yup, you can head to Funmanway and hurl yourself and your friends down a slope in a beings transparent bubble, and if you tell me that doesn’t sound like fun you’re almost definitely lying. Funmanway also offers paintballing ordeals on the country’s largest outdoor paintball terrain, kayaking, and mountain boarding.

Cork- Gougane Barra- Beara cycling route

For those of you with a ignite for outdoor adventure, this is one of the most extreme outdoor events you can find in Cork. The street cycling route will consist of over 300km of waymarked footpaths, making you from the Mardyke in Cork City the whole way down to the outermost outcome of the Beara Peninsula. Cyclists can also choose to stop off in Gougane Barra( details below !) which we highly recommend.

Explore Gougane Barra

vertical image of mystical looking forest with a moss covered floor and super tall skinny trees (captured in the forest park behind Gougane Barra, West Cork)Fairy land at its finest

We’ve dubbed Gougane Barra as Cork’s most magical forest and as soon as you step out of the car it’s pretty easy to see why. The forest common is home to towering spruce and larch trees, an emerald green mossy storey, and miles of hiking trails through the forest. It’s too the ancestry of Cork’s iconic River Lee, which begins here in the Shehy Mountains as little more than a stream.

Psst: Gougane Barra is one of our favourite places to hike in their respective countries! Check out our ended usher to hiking in Ireland for more tips-off on where to find awesome mountains.

Gougane Barra is also residence to a stupendous little chapel which sits out in a quiet lake, guarded by mountains behind. Placid, tranquilize, and drenched in biography, a visit to Gougane Barra is one of our favourite things to do in Cork’s countryside by far.

MTB at the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails

The largest system of motorcycle footpaths in Ireland, the Ballyhoura MTB paths are comprised of nearly 100 km of single way, boardwalks, mounds, and technical rock gardens. Some of the easier going roads are great for apprentices, like the Greenwood Loop( 6km ); while those looking for a real challenge could take over the epic 50 km Castlepook Loop.

There’s a EUR5 entry fee to the park( or you can pay EUR4 0 for an annual pass) and bikes can be rented locally from Ballyhoura Trail Riders.

Surf+ stroll at Inchydoney Beach

Surf travellers will once know that Ireland’s beaches receive some of the biggest and best growth in the nations of the world. The patrol of Atlantic whirlwinds combined with a coastline abounding with stage undermines establishes it a tide seeker’s dream.

Inchydoney beach in West Cork is arguably the best spot in the county to catch some surf; or for the less adventurous, to take a seriously nice stroll on the sea and slurp down some yummy paw roasted chocolate, should you luck out and have The Wandering Bean parked up there.

Kiss the Blarney Stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone is kinda, sorta a liberty of text for sightseers coming to Ireland, so in fairness we couldn’t really left open off our list of top things to do in Cork. Blarney Castle sits exactly north of the city and is pretty easily reachable by public transport, if you don’t have your own specified of wheels.

You can also tour Blarney Castle, caresses the Blarney stone, and check Cobh as part of a navigated day trip from Cork, which saves you the hassle of trying to plan your room with modes of public transport. Handy!

Though you likely don’t need much preface( it’s one of the most documented places to visit in Cork by far) I’ll just say this: the plots are ideal for the purposes of an easy promenade, the castling itself is gorgeous, and clambering to the top with the sole purpose of lying upside down over the leading edge while a stranger harbours your legs so that you can kiss a freaking stone is as memorable as it is ridiculous. Gotta adoration that sh* t.

Trawl the local business

people milling around the market stall in Bantry, West CorkThe Bantry market starts in the car park and guides all through town.

Cork, like much of Ireland, is abounding with ability — and the regional markets are where it all assembles. Craft manufacturers, jewellers, craftsmen, chefs, both producers and farmers all get together to castigate their wares on a regular basis in markets like Bantry( every Friday ), Skibbereen( every Saturday ), and Castletownroche( every other Sunday ). Well worth a stay — especially for all you veggies in search of awesome plant-based food.

See wildlife on Fota Island

Those of you visiting Cork with kids, as a couple, and all ye animal love have got to head to Fota during your bide. It’s far from what you’d expect at your median zoo; no bad enclosures or tiny enclosures. The animals have gargantuan grasslands while some of the tamest wildlife moves free. The monkey even have their own island! Trust me, visiting those little rapscallions alone is one of our favourite things to do in Cork.

There are quantities of pathways guiding through the park as well as all the usual facilities — a coffeehouse, restrooms, and parking. The majority of the common is out in the open, so you’ll want to pick a date when the forecast is playing ball, really.

Trip Charles Fort

Kinsale is such a special town; the convergence of Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way. As such, you’ve went wiping coastal their opinions and certainly, really cool ancient organizes in one place. Charles Fort is the pinnacle of’ em all in these roles; its big pentagonal design is something fairly distinct. Culture, design, and autobiography lovers should definitely “ve been thinking about” including Charles Fort on their index of things to do in Cork.

Walk through Glengarriff Woods

Calm scene of a river that's barely flowing alongside a walkway in glengarriff woods, west cork.One of dozens of walkways through the lumbers

Glengarriff is a lovely, single street village with a handful of ship supermarkets, pubs, and arranges to eat. Beyond it lies the woodlands. There are dozens of picturesque pathways through the forest, preceding along rivers and creeks, and rhododendron-lined pathways. Most are loop treads with little to no incline so they’re moderately clear sailing and suitable for children, if you’re travelling with a brood.

When you finish your saunter, utter your highway back to the village and stop off for a jar of the black stuff in The Blue Loo or a distinguish of lunch at Casey’s Hotel.

Explore Cobh

Cobh is historically known as the Titanic’s last-place point of departure before it set sail on its fateful journey( though more recently the town has earned itself some Insta-fame for its cute colourful sequences of houses ). Inspect the showy St. Colman’s Cathedral on its perch mis the harbour; tread along the waterside; and take a peek in the Cobh Heritage Centre and get to know more about Ireland’s Ancient East.

You can mix your call to Cobh with a trip-up to the iconic Barley Castle and caresses the Blarney stone with a guided tour. Super handy for those of your travelling without a rental gondola, as the leaders pick you up right from your hotel in Cork.

Still stumped on what to do in Cork, Ireland? Or d’ya reckon our register is missing something crucial ?! Drop a comment down there and tell us know, or assemble our FREE adventure travel Facebook group — where we answer all questions.

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