20 Best Things to Do in Cork, Ireland

20 Best Things to Do in Cork, Ireland

A city full of history and beautiful scenery, Cork is one of the gems of Ireland that won't fail to amuse you with its beauty.

Whether you're looking to surround yourself with nature, history, or art, this city surely has something for you.

With everything from majestic castles to breathtaking islands, Cork may just be the next best travel destination just lying under the radar.

There's never a dull moment in this charming city.

These are the best things to do in Cork, Ireland:

Explore Blarney Castle and Garden

Tall towers at Blarney castle and garden
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If you have always longed to live in a beautiful old castle full of huge walls and lustrous bricks, Blarney Castle and Garden is the attraction for you.

It is a medieval castle with an attached outdoor ground that is full of colorful flowers and lush greenery.

The castle also has a small beautiful cafe inside, which is an excellent spot to grab a drink and a bite.

Scenic view of the gardens at Blarney Castle
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Blarney Castle and Garden is the perfect place for nature photography, for the rocks and scenery in this place are genuinely worth capturing.

The theme of the whole castle, the trails on the grounds, and the aesthetic vibe make this place truly worth a visit.

The Blarney Stone in the middle of the grounds is a great tourist attraction, and there is no reason for you to miss out on it.

Interior of Blarney Castle and Garden
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It is a legendary stone, and people visit to kiss the rock.

The castle is often described as worth the climb, and the views from the top are mesmerizing and beautiful.

Visit the Stunning Fitzgerald Park

Fountain at Fitzgerald Park
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This beautiful park in Cork is full of greenery and colorful flowers.

Fitzgerald Park has beautiful small trails all around the park where you can walk, bike, or casually hang out with friends or family.

There are a lot of areas to sit in the park, and there is a duck pond with seating for your entertainment needs.

People enjoying their day at Fitzgerald Park
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The park is full of amazing well-defined, clean, well-maintained, and beautiful trails for hiking.

The paths are full of beautiful and outstanding views; the trails are pretty straightforward and cater to the needs of all age groups.

Kids enjoying in the play area at Fitzgerald Park
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This is an excellent place for wildlife photographers and even for ordinary people who want to take aesthetic pictures of the environment or themselves with pretty backgrounds to post on social media.

Do not miss out on this spot if you love hiking or just want to enjoy the subtle beauty of nature!

Shop and Dine at the English Market

Shops at English market
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This extremely famous 18th-century food market is definitely worth a visit when you are in Cork.

The English Market is an old-style market that is completely filled with fruits, vegetables, and meat.

The whole market looks super colorful and attaches a fresh feeling to it.

Different varities of chocolate stocked up at English Market
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You can find fresh fruits, fish, meat, cheese, seafood, vegetables, and different kinds of food and dairy products here, and you can buy as many as you like.

There are a lot of small cafes in this market where you can go for cute and aesthetic lunch dates with your peers.

The place overall is very aesthetic, and the interiors are very interesting to look at.

Vendors selling seafood at English Market
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The quality of the food is promising, especially at such pocket-friendly rates.

Do not miss out on this amazing market.

Meet Beautiful Animals at Fota Wildlife Park

Giraffes in Fota wildlife park
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This nature and wildlife preserve in Cork is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Homing hundreds of species of birds and animals, Fota Wildlife Park is one of the most famous wildlife preserves in the city.

The preserve is very well-maintained and kept clean.

The animals in this preserve are healthy and are taken good care of.

A prideful peacock with its wings fully spread at Fota Wildlife Park
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You can get a chance to see and even pet some local and exotic wild animals like birds, lions, and tigers.

Moreover, you may even meet cute little bears, feed the giraffes, or pet some adorable koalas.

Guests are welcome to photograph the animals at the wildlife park.

Family of Siamang Gibbon at Fota Wildlife Park
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This preserve is a great place to teach your kids about the importance of local wildlife and give them a firsthand experience of these friendly and cute animals.

The train ride that takes you around the preserve is the best part about visiting this park.

Fota Wildlife Park is a highly recommended spot to add to your Cork itinerary.

Go Bowling at Planet Family Entertainment Centre

While this entertainment center in Cork caters to all age groups, it is especially unmissable if you are visiting the city with kids.

Planet Family Entertainment Centre offers different kinds of games like laser tag, bowling, air hockey, and many more that visitors of all ages would enjoy.

The center also comes with the experience of a 9D Cinema, which you most definitely must take.

Airtastic Entertainment Centre is another one of Cork's gems and provides the ultimate source of gaming, food, and fun.

The perfect combo of food, fun, and beverages is truly not to be missed, and you should definitely check these entertainment centers out when you're in Cork.

Explore Blackrock Castle Observatory

Vibrant sunset at Blackrock castle observatory
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Blackrock Castle Observatory is a very interesting place from where you can get the most amazing of views.

With the best landscaping in the whole town, this spot offers the most historical of castles, which has been turned into a science center.

You can get a tour of the whole castle and find in it the most fantastic planetarium show, as well as interesting science exhibits.

Picnic benches at Blackrock Castle Observatory
Patryk Kosmider / Shutterstock.com

The castle now comes with an on-site cafe that will take care of all your food cravings.

You can simply get a coffee and enjoy the tour or go outside to enjoy the landscaping.

Front view of Blackrock Castle Observatory
Ailish Mullally / Shutterstock.com

This experience will not only be the most eye-catching, but it will be wholesome at the same time.

It is a highly recommended spot you shouldn't miss out on.

Take a Ferry Ride to Spike Island

Spike Island tour boat
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Spike Island is a very beautiful and historical place where you can go boating in the river and get a tour of the whole fort.

The scenery is pretty impressive, and the shores are very clean and well-maintained.

People waiting at Spike Island Tour centre
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You can get a tour of the fort through a ferry or simply spend some time near the shore, as the vibes are amazing.

You can spend a whole day at this amazing place without feeling bored for even a minute.

Huge buildings at Spike Island
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Both the history and the scenery of this place are very interesting.

Do get a tour of this island rich with history while you are in Cork, Ireland.

Experience Cork's Nightlife at Costigan's Pub

Costigan's Pub is for tourists who want to experience nightlife in Cork and Ireland in general.

The pub serves the best food and beverages, and the bar is often crowded with visitors due to its delicious food and happy vibes.

The bar offers live music at night to add to your experience of the city.

It is an amazing place to grab a drink and have a fun time when visiting Cork.

Visit the Quirky Yet Fun Butter Museum

Entrance of the butter museum
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This quirky museum offers the experience of getting to know how butter was made in Ireland.

It is a very strange, exotic, and interesting place to learn about the history of Irish butter.

The Butter Museum is filled with artifacts that are fun to look at.

Do pay a visit to this place if you are a fan of unique and fascinating attractions!

Exterior of Crawford art gallery
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Many people believe that art museums hold eternal beauty, and no other historic place could ever be as beautiful and significant as a place that holds art.

Crawford Art Gallery displays divergent exhibits, from older classic art to newer modern abstract forms of art.

The gallery displays modern Irish artwork, which is unconventional and stunning to look at.

Its aesthetics are beautiful and won't fail to mesmerize you.

This art gallery has a collection of various forms of artwork collected from all around the world.

The best parts about the gallery are its collection of abstract paintings that evoke different kinds of feelings in different people.

People from around the city visit this gallery to view the astonishing paintings, sculptures, and other works of art, making it a very famous and fascinating art gallery to see.

Do get the experience of the beautiful Crawford Art Gallery when you are in or around Cork.

Triskel Arts Centre and Sirius Arts Centre are two more attractions that art lovers will enjoy checking out.

Watch a Vibrant Performance at Cork Opera House

Street view of Cork opera house
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This is probably going to be the most fun place you visit in Cork.

Cork Opera House is a beautiful piece of art situated in the heart of the city.

The site is the best place for experiencing live music performances by the world's most renowned bands.

Entrance of Cork Opera House
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You can attend the best musical concerts in this house.

The site is beautifully lit in the evening and is amazing to look at.

This place can offer you the most amazing experiences of your life.

Make sure you attend the shows during full house days because those are the most fun.

Shop till You Drop at St. Patrick's Street

People strolling around at Saint Patrick’s Street
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St. Patrick's Street is a very famous tourist site and is usually very crowded, but that is what makes this street come to life.

It is Cork's main shopping street and is filled with different stores.

Pastel colored houses lined up at St. Patrick's quay
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You can call this the city's fashion street, for this place lives and breathes fashion and clothing.

It is the perfect place to go to if one wants to go shopping or simply visit the most famous shopping street in town.

Young women walking around with shopping bags at St. Patrick Street
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The vibe of this place is relaxed yet very cheerful.

Do pay a visit to St. Patrick Street, and you will be in for a treat.

Learn about Cork's Culture and History at Cork Public Museum

Exterior of Cork Public Museum
Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Cork Public Museum is the place to go for anyone interested in the area's history and culture.

Admission is free, and they're open five days a week, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a time to visit.

Garden filled with colorful flowers outside the Cork Public Museum
Sebastian “sebrem” B…, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Since 1945, the museum has been actively collecting, caring for, and exhibiting various historical items and artifacts.

Nowadays, they have more than 40,000 items in their collection that all tell the story of Cork and the culture that surrounds it.

Get the Old Cork Waterworks Experience

Old Cork Waterworks Experience was built to serve the British Empire and constructed during a rebellion.

It has a long and colorful history that any visitor would certainly find fascinating.

A visit to the place will grant you access to interactive exhibitions and a large courtyard where you can hang out and take in what you've seen.

As you wander the site, you'll get to know the building's importance to Cork's history and the many events that have come to define its existence.

In 1963, the Lavit Gallery was set up by a group of artists who wanted to promote the arts in the area.

Nowadays, they help artists have their voices heard by setting up an annual exhibition where they can show off their works.

The artists showcased are primarily based in Cork to further promote and help out local artists.

If you're interested in the arts, stop by the gallery and see what they have on display.

You can also buy some of their art, so take a look and see what catches your fancy.

Listen to Traditional Music at Sin É

The Irish words "Sin é" can be literally translated to "That’s it," which is in reference to the funeral parlour that sits right next door to this tavern.

Sin É is one of the traditional pubs in the area, so make sure to give it a shot when you visit.

You'll be treated to non-stop traditional music the moment you step in, and of course, no Irish pub would be complete without some good food and drinks, either.

Any patron will feel the overwhelming love and sense of community this place exudes and won't have any trouble joining in on the fun.

Visit the Historic Belvelly Castle

Distant view of Belvelly Castle with its reflection on the water
Susanne Pommer / Shutterstock.com

Belvelly Castle was built sometime around the 14th or 15th century and overlooks the only road that connects Fota Island to the Great Island.

Its single tower that looms large over people that pass by is definitely a unique sight, especially for those who are interested in all things medieval.

Closer view of the stone architects of Belvelly Castle
Jonjobaker, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The castle has a long history of wars and changed owners multiple times, but it fell to ruin by the time the 19th century came around.

Now, it's been restored for a private dwelling, but that doesn't mean you still can't stop over there and view the gorgeous sight from the outside.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Side Trip to Garnish Island

Garden in Garnish island
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Garnish Island is a beautiful, clean, and well-maintained island with breathtaking views for you to enjoy.

The island is full of framed gardens where you can find lush greens and the most beautifully colored flowers.

Artificial lilly pond at Garnish Island
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It is one of the most popular tourist attractions near Cork, and people from far away come here just to admire the beauty of nature.

You can take a ferry to visit this island and spot seals along the way.

View of the greenery at Garnish Island through the arches of an old building
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There is also an old tower on this island, adding a feature of history to this place.

Visit Garnish Island and experience it with your bare eyes, for words fall short to describe the beauty of this attraction.

Admire the Views from Haulbowline

Top view of Haulbowline
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This beautiful island near Cork will surely mesmerize you.

It is the perfect spot for walks, watching the boats dock and undock, enjoying the view of the sea, or simply hanging around.

The island is usually busy and is very well-maintained.

Lighthouse at Haulbowline
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The waters are crystal blue, and the landscaping is amusing.

There are cute little bakeries by the harbor where you can have some amazing desserts.

The whole area is pretty and full of positive vibes, and visitors enjoy checking it out.

Park at Haulbowline
Juri300(Tino Juric), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Cork is a lovely city that will give you a glimpse of a long and proud Irish culture.

It's filled with vibrant life and warmth, and any visitor that sets foot here will feel right at home.

Start planning your trip today, and give this place the chance it deserves.