A Locals Guide on What To Do in Cork Ireland

Why visit Cork? Why are you telling me in all caps that I MUST visit? Well, I may be biased as Cork, Ireland is where I grew up. But, I’m of the opinion that Cork has it all! From the best beaches in all of Ireland, to quirky coffee shops that serve an excellent brew, to its colourful local characters who will welcome you with arms wide open. Read on to find out why you must visit Cork. You will be adding Cork to your Ireland itinerary in no time.

“Maybe you had to leave in order to miss a place, maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was”

Despite, travelling the world for the better part of 6 years Cork still and always will be the place closest to my heart. The quote above is what encouraged me to write this post, even though I’ve been to some of the most beautiful destinations on the planet Cork remains the place I want to be my ‘forever home’.  All together now ‘awww’, on that note here’s 9 reasons why you must visit Cork ASAP!

What to do in Cork? Well here’s 9 activities I highly recommend.

#1 Cork has the best beaches in Ireland

Boasting the second largest coastline in the whole country,  there’s certain to be a beach that tickles your fancy. The beaches in West Cork are the best in my opinion. My personal favourites being Garrettstown for surfing and The Dock near Kinsale winning the ‘cute factor’, it’s teeny-tiny. With Cork also,  being the most Southerly county, the weather is typically the warmest in the country. It’s still Ireland though, so please don’t arrive expecting a Mediterranean climate or anything.

You’re reading this blog because you love Ireland, then, why not read my detailed guide on how to move to Ireland

garrettstown beach, cork

#2 The sunsets in Cork ain’t bad

I was blown away last month when I spent a couple of weeks back home, I saw three of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen and I’ve lived in the sunset capital of the world – Australia. This photo speaks for itself really. Be sure to head down to West Cork for the best sunsets in my opinion – particularly at Mizen Head or the Beara Peninsula!

cork ireland sunset

#3 Charming colourful Cork towns

Having lived abroad for the better part of 6 years, this is what tourists to Ireland always tell me was their favourite thing about Ireland.  And Cork has some of the most charming and most colourful towns in all of Ireland. Just check out this photos of the coastal town of Kinsale. Cobh too, in East Cork is especially colourful. FYI if I had a spare million I’d move home and buy a house in Kinsale.

Read all about our trip to rural and green Ballyhoura in Cork County!

kinsale, ireland, colourful irish town

#4 Charming colourful local characters

Oh the Irish people. We’re the best aren’t we? Who doesn’t love us. I’ve travelled a lot, and still for me, the Irish people are the warmest and friendliest people in the whole wide world. I know I’m biased being an Irish gal myself. But even my very British husband agrees

#5 Way too many excellent restaurants

Way too many to mention in just one article, but personal favourites of mine include – the Bulman an award-winning gastro pub in Summercove, Kinsale; Liberty Grill on Washington Street in Cork City for the best breakfast of your life; Bunnyconellan’s in Myrtleville for yummy food and even yummier views.

#6 Cork’s coffee would impress even the harshest critic

It really would. I love coffee. So much so, that I plan my whole day around how and when I can get a decent coffee. Luckily for me, this wasn’t a problem in Cork City. From the locals favourite of Cork Coffee Roasters to Farmgate above the English Market to Three Fools Coffee for good coffee with a side of ‘cool’, there’s certain to be something to quench your caffeine fix. Also, Starbucks only opened it’s first shop in the city over a year ago, so, that’s a testament to how much we Corkonians support our local coffee shops. Please don’t go to Starbucks, unless you really really need a Caramel Frapuccino, I totally get it.

#7 It’s home to the famous Blarney Castle

You’ve heard of the famous Blarney Castle right? The legendary stone that gives anyone who kisses it ‘the gift of the gab’. American tourists LOVE it. Believe me, I grew up in Blarney and the hundreds even thousands of American tourists who descend on the castle every day is insanity. Especially in the summer. But, despite the crowds, the castle is well-worth a visit. The grounds are outstandingly lush and green, you could easily spend a full day getting lost here. Be sure to bring a camera,  because there will be lots of instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

blarney castle ireland

#8 There’s good reason why Cork City is referred to as the ‘real capital’ of Ireland

Corkonians are notoriously patriotic, I don’t even know if that’s the right word, basically we think we’re better than everyone else. We have very unique phrases, that ‘outsiders’ struggle to understand. Even our neighbours in Kerry or Limerick don’t have a clue what we’re saying most of the time. You can even buy a Dictionary of Cork Slang in most bookshops in the city. There’s also, an online Peoples Republic of Cork store where you can buy all sorts of merchandise to express your love for this glorious county.

cobh, cork, irish colourful town

#9 Visit one of Cork cities’ amazing parks

Fitzgerald’s Park on the outskirts of the City is a favourite of mine, home to the ‘shaky bridge’, with a great little coffee shop, and lots of great photo opportunities. The park also, hosts lots of cool free events during the summer.

While you’re here, why not book your Ireland airbnb –

I’ve done days of research and come up with a detailed list of the most insane places to stay in Ireland! Here are the absolute best airbnb’s in Ireland!!!!!

And, that’s it folks. If you’ve visited Cork previously or are a legendary Corkonian like myself is there anything else you would include that I’ve missed? If so, please leave a comment below.

P.S if you’re planning a move to Cork I’ve written a detailed blog post about renting in Cork that you may find helpful!

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Why visit Cork, because Cork has it all - from the best beaches in Ireland, to quirky coffee shops to its colourful local characters.
#corkireland #irelandtravel
Why visit Cork, because Cork has it all - from the best beaches in Ireland, to quirky coffee shops to its colourful local characters.

35 thoughts on “A Locals Guide on What To Do in Cork Ireland

  1. Karen Reply

    I missed Cork when I visited Ireland because I thought it was too touristy but this post sets me straight. Have to see it next time.

  2. Michelle Reply

    My friend just moved to Cork so I had to come and check out your blog! You’ve got me all excited about what I’ll be seeing when I visit her – love it, thanks!

  3. Monique Reply

    I live the colors! I have never heard of Cork but when I feel safe enough to travel again, I’m definitely going to add it to the list!

  4. travelingness Reply

    Love this post! You have convinced me I need to visit Cork. Over the past year I’ve been seeing more and more about Ireland that makes me want to go! I can see why you love Cork as it looks so charming and a beautiful place. I’d definitely want to see Blarney Castle too for sure. Hoping to go next summer if possible! 😁

  5. Kariss Ainsworth Reply

    I really need to go here on my next trip to Ireland!

  6. kkuhlwilm Reply

    These colourful houses are beautiful and the beach looks amazing. Might have to take a trip over the water soon!

  7. Linn Reply

    I haven’t been to Ireland yet, but so wanna go! Cork seems like the perfect place to add to my itinerary, though. Thanks for showing off your beautiful home town. I’ll definitely go there one day!

  8. […] Cork is another fun city to visit in Ireland. It’s actually the second largest city in Ireland... https://volumesandvoyages.com/2020/01/18/towns-ireland-you-have-visit
  9. Ophelie Reply

    This city looks so charming! I would love to visit it!

  10. Nina Reply

    Cork look amazing! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I love the colorful houses.

  11. Chere' Beavers Reply

    I realize the this was posted nearly 4 years ago, but I was glad to find it. I am in the very beginning process of planning a trip to Ireland, particularly to Cork. My heritage is Irish from Mallow. All of the above reasons are enough to draw a person in, but I want to explore the area where my family originated. What will there be for a 65 year old couple to enjoy besides the picturesque views, the coffee shops, and general shopping? We are healthy and can hike if needed. I’m asking for your perspective, as you’ve lived there. I know all about all of the “big” attractions, but what do the locals enjoy most? Thanks for a reply. Chere’

  12. juleenmeetsworld Reply

    I do love a killer sunset. Guess I’ll have to make my way to Cork when I make it to Ireland.

  13. Alexandra Booze Reply

    I am going to Ireland in April and Cork is 100 percent on my list of places to visit! I have heard wonderful things and this just solidifies it. Love to see they have great coffee too 🙂

  14. Emma Reply

    Ireland in general is next on my list to visit. It’s really been too long a time coming. But Cork looks lovely. Such a beautiful place

  15. Jas Reply

    I’m not much of a coffee drinker but all the other reasons have resonated with me. Seems like I’ll need to plan a trip over soon! And that’s so funny how you have your own slang dictionary hahaa.

  16. Claire Reply

    Travelling has made me appreciate going home so much more, you see it from a totally different point of view! Cork looks lovely, I’d definitely go up to Patrick’s Hill and admire the views!

  17. Candy Reply

    I’ve never heard of this city in Ireland and now I’m rethinking of visiting this area when I book my trip. I love coffee and colorful towns. I especially love the photos of the beaches you shared. Usually, I see gloomy photos of the beaches in Ireland, so this gave me a whole new perspective!

  18. Lisa Reply

    I love Cork, though I only saw one part, in Killarney. You’re right about the Irish people, they’re so warm, friendly, and very funny too! I didn’t get to see any beaches while there, but the landscapes and vistas are incredible. I also didn’t realise you call yourselves ‘Corkonians’! Now I know 🙂

  19. Anda Reply

    I will surely be adding Cork to my Ireland itinerary after reading your post. I had no idea that Ireland has so beautiful beaches. The small coastal town of Kinsale seems like photographer’s dream. I love those colors.

  20. Jennifer Reply

    Cork was hands down my favorite place in Ireland! We met a lady before Mass at St Patrick’s who was so charming and invited us to tea in her home. Cobh was gorgeous and had the best scones I’ve ever tasted. I was amazed at how much Blarney Castle had to offer – we could have spent the entire day there. The Jameson Experience in Midleton was also wonderful – the history in those buildings was spectacular and the whiskey Divine. The only problem we encountered in Cork was that we had to leave. I will definitely be returning and will spend the better part of the trip exploring more of this fabulous county.

  21. Sabine Reply

    That looks amazing, Cork just became part of my bucket list. I actually would not have expected these colourful houses here, among other things. Well, too many things to explore, so better I go check it out myself 🙂

  22. Kenny Reply

    Thanks for sharing – I am not yet convinced to visit Cork;
    but the country, Ireland, on the other hand, would be on my list. 🙂 @knycx.journeying

  23. Voyager Reply

    Cork is so charming and your post has bowled me over. The beaches, the natural beauty, the elegant town and to wash it all down Irish Coffee, it can’t get better than this.

  24. mark wyld Reply

    Looks amazing, i never knew Cork had so much to offer. The beaches look great for a swim if the sun ever comes out lol.I really must get to Ireland one day soon we have done most other countries in Europe. Glad to see somewhere in Europe does great coffee, being from Australia great coffee is a way of life here.

  25. Katy Reply

    Lovely, lovely Cork. You have captured the beauty and spirit of the place wonderfully. I had a great fish chowder at the covered English Market there a while back and was just thinking about it today

  26. Joy Reply

    It really DOES look like a photographers dream! I have yet to go to any part of Europe, but when I do I’ll be sure to get to Ireland (I’m mostly Irish in heritage too) and visit Cork!

  27. Nicole | Wee Gypsy Girl Reply

    Wow, I didn’t realise that the towns were so colourful! I need to go to Ireland- I’m from Glasgow so I have absolutely no excuse!

  28. Stephanie Reply

    I agree, but the #1 reason I went to Cork was to see the Jameson distillery!!

  29. Danielle Reply

    Love the colorful town of Kinsale – the colors really do draw the eye in. Would it be too expensive to live there?

  30. Gina Reply

    Cork definitely looks like a photographer’s dream. The city is so picturesque. I’m not exactly sure about what is the gift of the gab but it sounds interesting to kiss a stone. Hahaha

  31. Lauren Reply

    Yes! I totally agree Cork is amazing! I loved the beach and watching the sunset from those beaches. The colourful towns and beautiful scenery are definitely a photographer’s dream come true!

  32. Kachina Reply

    I like your photos 🙂 I’ll be heading out to the UK at the end of the year so will def have to visit Cork 🙂

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