Top 10 Things To Do In Cork Things To Do

Cork is home to an impressive range of attractions and activities, and you’ll be spoilt for choice when you plan an itinerary for your visit to the area. You can explore the stunning scenery and heritage towns around Cork, as well as the beautiful beaches nearby, and whatever your interests, you’ll be surrounded by attractions you’ll love.

cork city

(Photo: River Lee, Cork City, Image Source)

Of course, the most exciting tourist attraction in the Cork area is the stunning Fota Wildlife Park, set in 100 acres on beautiful Fota Island. You can meet animals from all over the world, at home in conservation habitats that are created to promote global biodiversity, including the Sumatran Tigers, Asiatic Lions, Gibbons, Giraffes and Rhinos. With two excellent cafes, play areas all around the park and a great range of activities and events throughout the year, Fota Wildlife Park is a wonderful day out for the whole family.

After you’ve enjoyed your visit to Fota Wildlife Park, you’ll discover many other fantastic tourist attraction in and around Cork. Here are our top ten things to do in Cork: let us know which is your favourite!

 

In And Around Cork:
Our Top Ten Attractions

 

1. Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens

Take a step back in time when you visit Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens on Fota Island, near Cork. This is a wonderful example of a Victorian Manor House, and you can find out how life was experienced here for the gentry and the servants.

Discover the Victorian Working Garden, including orchard, pit houses and working glasshouses, and explore one of the finest collections of landscape paintings outside the National Gallery of Ireland. Take a tour of the house or garden, or join one of the many children’s tours and events, to find out the secrets of this beautiful place.

fota house and gardens

(Photo: Fota House, Image Source)

 

2. Spike Island

Get a unique glimpse into Ireland’s darker history as you discover the Island that has been home to a 6th century Monastery, a 24 acre Fortress and the largest Victorian convict depot in the world. Take a boat tour from the harbour in the heritage town of Cobh, and find out more about this fascinating - and sometimes spooky - remnant of Ireland’s past.

spike island

(Photo: Spike Island, Image Source)

 

3. Titanic Experience Cobh

Located in Cobh Town, Titanic Experience retraces the steps of the last 123 passengers to board the fated Titanic from Heartbreak Pier, desperate to journey to New York. You will experience what life was like on board, and see how this differed for third class and first class passengers. A unique cinematographic experience relives the disaster, and you can find out what happened during the rescue attempts and during the enquiries that followed, as well as whether individual passengers survived the tragedy.

spike island

(Photo: Image Source)

 

4. Cobh Heritage Centre

Visit the Cobh Heritage Centre, situated in a beautifully restored Victorian railway station in Cobh, to immerse yourself in the history of the area, including the Irish Emigration story, the tragedies of the Titanic and Lusitania, and to trace your ancestors. Explore exhibits that reveal what it was like to live aboard a convict ship, and learn more about Irish naval and military history in the area. Look out for cultural events, held here throughout the year.

cobh heritage centre

(Photo: Cobh Heritage Centre, Image Source)

 

5. Jameson Experience Midleton

Ireland is famous for great whiskey, and Jameson was made in Dublin for more than 200 years before moving to Midleton, Co. Cork. You can peep behind the scenes at this important distillery to find out more about how this classic drink is produced, and enjoy premium whiskey tasting. Children are welcome on the tour, but must be accompanied by adults - and, of course, cannot take part in whiskey tastings.

Jameson Distillery Midleton

(Photo: Jameson Distillery Midleton, Image Source)

 

6. Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is a world landmark and home to the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that once you’ve kissed the stone, you’ll never be lost for words again! Discover this beautiful, historic castle and it’s impressive gardens all year round, as well as the unique Rock Close, a special walk in the grounds that was landscaped in the eighteenth century to conjure legend and romance. There is certainly magic in the air, here!

blarney castle and gardens

(Photo: Blarney Castle, Image Source)

 

7. Cork City Gaol

Cork’s magnificent gaol is often mistaken for a castle, although life was certainly not luxurious for the prisoners housed here! Explore the historic cells, complete with wax figures and original graffiti, and watch the audio-visual show to discover more about this fascinating building, which was renowned as the finest gaol in 3 kingdoms when it was opened in the 1800s. The gaol closed in 1923, and in 1927 the building became home to Cork’s first radio station, 6CK, which is remembered in the Radio Museum that is now located here.

cork city gaol

(Photo: Cork City Gaol, Image Source)

 

8. University College Cork (UCC)

Discover the historic UCC campus, including the Crawford Observatory, Stone Corridor, President’s Garden and Lewis Glucksman Gallery. This Cork Institution is a great place to while away an afternoon in Cork, with new audio tours available to make the most of the history and culture on site. The visitor centre is open 9am - 5pm on Monday-Friday and 12 - 5pm on Saturdays, but the Lewis Glucksman Gallery is closed on Mondays.

ucc main quadrangle

(Photo: UCC Main Quadrangle, Image Source)

 

9. St Fin Barre’s Cathedral

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral is an Anglican Cathedral, designed by William Burges and consecrated in 1870, on a site which had been important for Christian worship since the seventh century. You can attend a service here, or tour the Cathedral to discover the beautiful floor mosaics and historic bells, and find out how this impressive building plays its part in the religious life of the city.

st fin barres cathedral

(Photo: St Fin Barres Cathedral, Image Source)

 

10. Cork Harbour Boat Hire

For a trip with a difference, explore Cork Harbour from the sea! You can hire self drive boats here, in the second largest natural harbour in the world, complete with free training, life jackets and petrol included. You’ll be guided by a safety boat and fully insured, and this will be a truly memorable experience for your whole family! Alternatively, you can take guided tour in one of our new, high speed boats, where you will discover the harbour and its wildlife with a fully qualified skipper, before stopping off for refreshments at one of the many bars and restaurants around the harbour. This tour is suitable for groups from 2 - 40 people, and you can choose a 1, 2 or 3 hour booking with collection points located all over the harbour.

cork harbour boat hire

(Photo: Cork Harbour Boat Hire, Image Source)

 

However you choose to spend your time here, we know you’ll have a wonderful time in Cork and will want to return again and again to explore more of this beautiful area.