Cork Travel Guide

The Republic of Ireland's second largest city Cork is situated on an estuary that opens onto the Atlantic Ocean, and has been likened to Dublin without the traffic. Crammed with cosy pubs and cultural attractions, it is a charming and popular destination to add to the itinerary.

There is a great rivalry between Cork and Dublin, and the majority of Cork's residents see themselves as distinctly different from the rest of Ireland. Cork is vibrant and cheerful, with music, theatre and film all playing a major role in city life. World-renowned annual festivals add to the lively atmosphere and, in 2005, it was named the European Capital of Culture.

Cork is also the gastronomic capital of Ireland, with the widest variety of top-class restaurants in the country. Nearby Kinsale, also known for its host of award-winning pubs and restaurants, hosts the annual Gourmet Festival.

County Cork is located in the southwest, and it is the largest county in Ireland. It's noted for its maritime identity and impressive coastal scenery as well as being the site of Ireland's most famous attraction, the Blarney Stone. The city is a major seaport and is built around the waterways of the River Lee, connected by numerous bridges. Cork harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world.

The hip and historic Victorian Quarter is perhaps the best place to stay for first-time visitors. It's right by the main rail and bus station, and taxis are easy to find, making it an ideal base from which to discover Cork. The neighborhood gets its name from the architecture of the buildings, which are laid out in an elegant Victorian style. Saint Luke's is best for those visiting on a budget. Located to the east of the Victorian Quarter, it's a more residential area, though it's also the site of a fair number of pubs and restaurants. Shandon is a good choice for those visiting with children, as it's where a lot of the tourist destinations are. The city centre is perfect for travellers who are interested in the nightlife.