Cork City Gaol
This imposing former prison really is really worth a call, if just to find a sense of how horrible life was to get offenders. An audio tour ($2 extra) guides you round the restored cells, which feature models of anguish prisoners and sadistic-looking guards. Take a bus to University College Cork (UCC), and from there walk north along Mardyke Walk, cross the lake and then observe the signs uphill (10 minutes).
The English Marketplace — thus called because it was founded in 1788 by the Protestant or’English’ corporation that dominated the city (there was formerly an Irish Market nearby) — would be really a genuine stone, with its ornate vaulted ceilings, columns and glistening marble fountain. Scores of vendors set up photogenic and colourful exhibits of the very best local produce of this region .
Crawford Art Gallery
The public gallery of cork houses a small but excellent collection within the 17th century to the present day, although the works on display shift from year to year. Highlights include paintings by Jack B Yeats, Sir John Lavery and Nathaniel Hone, and women artists Mainie Jellett and Evie Hone.
St Fin Barre’s Cathedral
Spiky spires gargoyles and sculpture decorate the outside of Cork cathedral, an attention-grabbing mixture of medieval whimsy and Gothic. The grandeur continues inside, with a bright ceiling marble floor mosaics and a huge pulpit and bishop’s throne. Quirky items include a cannon ball blasted into a previous medieval spire during the Siege of Cork (1690). The cathedral sits on the spot where Fin Barre, Cork patron saint, founded a monastery.
Cork Butter Museum
Cork has a very long tradition of butter fabricating — in the 1860s that it had been the world’s biggest butter market, exporting butter and also the history of the trade has been told through dioramas and the displays of the Cork Butter Museum. The square in front of the museum has been dominated by the neoclassical front of this Old Butter Industry , and the stunning, circular Firkin Crane building, where butter casks have been weighed (it now houses a dancing center ).
University College Cork
Launched in 1845 as one of three’queen’s colleges’ (the others come in Galway and Belfast) set up to present nondenominational alternatives to the Protestant Trinity College in Dublin, UCC’s campus spreads across a stylish selection of Victorian Gothic buildings, gardens and historical attractions, including a 19th-century astronomical observatory. Audio tours are available from the visitor centre.
Blackrock Castle is just a restored castle which today, rather incongruously, hosts a pleasant courtyard cafe, an inflatable planetarium and a small handson science center. Kids love it and also the opinion from the tower is worth the jaunt. It’s on the south bank of the River Lee, 5.5kilometers east of the city centre; just take bus 202 out of Parnell Pl into Blackrock Pier, from where it is really a five-minute walk.
Originally built in the 1620s, and serving as a garda (police) channel from 1929 into 2013, this small starshaped artillery fort formerly formed an important part of the city’s defences. Newly opened to people, it delivers an insight to the military history of Cork, and there are good views across town from the ramparts. Guided tours (per person $3) at 1pm provide additional context.
St Anne’s Church
Shandon is dominated by the 1722 St Anne’s Church, aka the’Four-Faced Liar’ — so called because every one of the tower’s first four clocks being used to share with a time. The bells will ring over the 1st floor of this 1750 Italianate tower, then continue the 132 steps up to the top for 360-degree views of the city.
Cork Public Museum
Located in a Georgian mansion using today’s extension, this tradition resisted the history of Cork. The narrative is told by the diverse selection of local artefacts from the Stone Age up to local football superstar Roy Keane, having an exhibition on Cork and the growth of this city. There exists a good cafe around the trunk.
Lewis Glucksman Gallery
This building is really a building of lime stone, steel and timber. Three floors of galleries display exactly the finest in both national and international contemporary art and installation. The onsite bo-bo cafe is fantastic.
This covered walkway on the north side of the Victorian Gothic main quad of University College Cork houses the biggest collection of Ogham stones of Ireland.
Holy Trinity Church
The Holy Trinity Church was designed by the Pain brothers in 1834 from the honour of Father Theobald Mathew, whose statue sits just south of the River Lee North Channel. He was one of Cork’s most renowned figures, the’Apostle of Temperance’, ” who went on a short-lived crusade against alcohol at the 1830s and 1840s — a quarter of a thousand people shot the’pledge’, also whiskey production halved.
Old Butter Market
Cork had the butter market in the world during the 1860s, exporting butter as far as India, South America and Australia. The Steak Exchange was in Shandon and it’s still possible to spot dairy motifs throughout the area: look out for that cow’s mind over the arched entry to the Old Butter Marketplace (now closed). The foundation of the Sector is covered in the Butter Museum next door.
The National Radio Museum is a portion of this Cork City Gaol which, as a result of its closure in 1923, housed a radio station out of 1927 until the 1950s. The change of usage is reflected in the museum where, alongside collections of older radios that were exquisite, you can hear that the narrative of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi’s conquest of the airwaves.
Statue of Father Mathew
The imposing statue on St Patrick’s St, just south of the River Lee North Channel, ” is composed of Father Theobald Mathew, the’Apostle of Temperance’, who crusaded against the ills of alcohol at the 1830s and 1840s with such success that a quarter of one million people took the’pledge’ and whiskey production was cut by 50 percent.
St Peter’s Cork
Founded in an old civilization, that this centre and gallery space houses a heritage display changing exhibitions of ceramics, art and historical photographs as well as charting the history of Cork. There’s also a cafe and tourist information desk.
Integrated Georgian style in the 1930s to restore the city offices, which were burnt by renegade British forces at 1920, Cork City Hall overlooks the South Channel of the River Lee.
- 1 Cork City Gaol
- 2 English Market
- 3 Crawford Art Gallery
- 4 St Fin Barre’s Cathedral
- 5 Cork Butter Museum
- 6 University College Cork
- 7 Blackrock Castle
- 8 Elizabeth Fort
- 9 St Anne’s Church
- 10 Cork Public Museum
- 11 Lewis Glucksman Gallery
- 12 Stone Corridor
- 13 Holy Trinity Church
- 14 Old Butter Market
- 15 Radio Museum
- 16 Statue of Father Mathew
- 17 St Peter’s Cork
- 18 City Hall