There are several things to do in Cork City. Cork surely has a long history behind it. Being one of Europe’s oldest cities, Cork has gone through several developments which made it a hub for tourists nowadays.
Cork is close enough to other major cities in Ireland that a day trip can be done if you don’t have enough time. It is about 3 hours from Dublin, 2 hours from Limerick and Galway and 2.5 hours from Shannon.
If you’re eyeing to tick off Ireland’s second-largest city on your list, here are the best things to do and see in Cork City.
Things you'll find in this article
- 15 Things To Do In Cork Ireland
- 1. Fancy the 16th-century art in the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
- 2. Take a stroll along MacCurtain Street, Cork
- 3. Revisit the city’s history in Cork Public Museum
- 4. Check out fresh produce at the English Market in Cork
- 5. Make Irish butter in Cork Butter Museum
- 6. Take a trip to the Cork City Gaol
- 7. Listen to nonstop traditional music in Sin E
- 8. Be mesmerized by St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral
- 9. Meet the Four-Faced Liar of the Shandon Bells
- 10. Spend an afternoon at Fitzgerald Park
- 11. Experience an Irish nightlife at Hi-B Bar
- 12. Look over the city from Elizabeth Fort
- 13. Develop an eye for contemporary arts in Triskel Arts Center
- 14. Feel the soul of Cork in St. Patrick’s Street
- 15. Call it a wrap at The Roundy Bar
15 Things To Do In Cork Ireland
1. Fancy the 16th-century art in the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
The Crawford Art Gallery holds an array of art pieces from the 16th century until the present. It features paintings, sculptures, and prints on all three floors of the building.
While there are permanent exhibits, the gallery also has open doors for special exhibits which are only available for a certain season.
It also offers presentations and hands-on experiences.
Late opening Thursdays until 8.00pm
For an updated schedule, click here.
Address: Emmet Place, Cork, Ireland T12 TNE6
Phone: +353 (0)21 480 5042
2. Take a stroll along MacCurtain Street, Cork
The vibrant and busy MacCurtain Street will need no explanation why tourists add this to their list of things to do in Cork City. This street has a lot to offer whether you’re just up to grab a pint or craving for a slice of pizza, MacCurtain Street has everything you need.
You can find Japanese, Turkish, and Indian restaurants to feed your nightly cravings. After a sumptuous meal, head over to Everyman Theater for an entertaining play or to the Mother Jones’ flea market for some awesome finds.
3. Revisit the city’s history in Cork Public Museum
This Georgian House in one of the most popular parks in Cork City hosts a variety of artifacts which could help you take a tour back to the city’s past. The Cork Public Museum exhibits items from the Bronze Era, War of Independence, etc.
You can also find examples of Cork silver and needlepoint lace in this museum.
Tuesday to Friday – 10 am to 4 pm
Saturday – 11 am to 4 pm
Sunday 2 pm – 4 pm
Address: Fitzgerald Park, Mardyke, Cork, Ireland
Phone:+353 21 427 0679
4. Check out fresh produce at the English Market in Cork
The English Market is one of Europe’s popular indoor food markets where you can find fresh produce from farms across Ireland.
You can find various traders in the market from small stalls to large businesses selling all sorts of food items like meat and fish, herbs and spices, sauces and oils, fruits and vegetables, chocolates and cakes, and cheeses and pasta.
Souvenir items like t-shirts are also sold here. You can also find family secret recipes shared by some traders in the market. So if you fancy working in the kitchen and preparing one of a kind meals, a visit to the English Market pays a lot.
5. Make Irish butter in Cork Butter Museum
If you’ve had enough getting to know Cork City’s rich history, why don’t you visit what used to be the largest butter market in the world? Cork Butter Museum is the home of gold and creamy Irish butter.
In this museum, you can learn a few techniques on how to make butter traditionally and peek through its collection of butter wrappers. If you want a small, inexpensive, yet fun thing to do in Cork, this Butter Museum is worth a shot.
Mar to Oct: Daily, 10:00am – 5:00pm.
Group tours & off-season visits by prior arrangement. For more information, click here.
Full €4.00, Seniors/Students €3.00, Children €1.50
Family group, under 12’s no charge.
Address: The Butter Museum, O’Connell Square, Shandon CorkT23 H004
Phone: 353 (0) 21 4300 600
6. Take a trip to the Cork City Gaol
Of course, Cork City also has unusual tourist attractions which turned out to be one of the best experiences in the city. The Cork City Gaol used to be the city’s home for lawless citizens until it was closed in 1923.
From 1824 until 1923, this prison witnessed a lot of history which is now the main highlight of the guided tours in Cork City Gaol.
It also has a picnic area for families who want to stay after the tour, a souvenir shop for those who want to take home badass pieces of the prison’s history, and a cafe for those who want to take a break.
Apr-Sept 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Oct-Mar 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Family ticket: (2 adults and up to 4 children)
Address: Convent Avenue, Sunday’s Well, Cork City, Ireland.
For more information, click here.
7. Listen to nonstop traditional music in Sin E
One of Cork City’s heritage pubs, Sin E welcomes guests with classic and traditional Irish music. Get an authentic Irish vibe if you spend a night here.
Guests usually enjoy listening to nonstop Irish music with a glass of drink but if you prefer to munch on something while here, you can also bring a few munchies with you. Hot foods are not allowed though.
Sin E is one of the top spots where you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day so it would be a great thing to tick off from your list if you happen to be here during this huge Irish celebration.
Monday to Saturday -6:30-12 am
Sunday – 5:30 pm- 11:30 pm
Address: 8 Coburg Street, Cork City, Ireland
Phone : +353 21 450 2266
8. Be mesmerized by St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral
Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral is a neo-Gothic cathedral built for the devotees of the city’s patron saint. This cathedral is surely difficult to miss most especially when you’re walking along Dean Street at night.
The three spires of the cathedral and its architectural style give the city’s skyline a mystical touch.
The interior of the cathedral is also as breathtaking as the exterior so whether you’re in Cork City as a pilgrim or as a tourist, the Cathedral should make it to your list of things to do in Cork City.
Monday to Saturday -9:30 am-5:30 pm
Sunday -1pm-2:30 pm
Adult – €6.00
Seniors & Students with I.D. – €5.00
Children under 16 – Free
Address: Cathedral Office Library, House Dean Street, Cork Ireland
Phone : +353-21- 4963387
9. Meet the Four-Faced Liar of the Shandon Bells
Cork City’s beloved landmark, the Shandon Bells is your gateway to the most breathtaking view of the city. Once on top of the 132 steps, tourists can also ring the bells where the largest of which weighs 1.5 tons.
Another interesting fact about this landmark is that the four clocks on each face of the tower never display the same time thus being named “The Four-Faced Liar”.
March to April & October
Monday- Saturday- 10 am- 4pm
Sunday -11:30 am – 4pm ( last entry -3:40 pm)
Monday – Saturday – 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday – 11:30am -4:30 pm (last entry 4:10 pm)
November to February
Monday to Saturday – 11 am- 3 pm
Sunday 11:30 pm- 3pm ( last entry 2:40 pm)
For more details of your visit, click here.
Seniors: €4.00 (over 65 years of age)
Students: €4.00 (anyone holding a valid student card and over 16 yrs)
Children: €2.50 ( five to fifteen years of age, under-fives, go up for free)
Family: €12.00 (based on two adults and up to four children under 16 yrs)
Address: Shandon Bells Church St. Shandon, Cork City
Phone : +353- 021-4505906
10. Spend an afternoon at Fitzgerald Park
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and head over to Fitzgerald Park. This park will introduce you to the glassy waters of River Lee, historic sculptures like the bust of Michael Collins, a hero of the Irish War of Independence, and a rose garden perfect for picnics.
Cork City’s one and only pedestrianized bridge are also in the park popularly known as the Shakey Bridge.
November to February- 8.30am – 5 pm
April & September – 8.30 am – 8pm
June & July: 8.30 am- 10pm
Address: Mardyke, Cork, Ireland
Phone : +353 21 492 4333
11. Experience an Irish nightlife at Hi-B Bar
If you’re in the city to experience the nightlife, Hi-B Bar is the top spot for you. Add this to your list of things to do in Cork City and you will surely have the best night in Cork.
Mobile phones are not allowed inside too which makes it the best place to socialize without any distractions.
Truly one of Cork’s hidden gems, HI-B bar has a list of extensive beers you can try.
Monday to Thursday -3 pm – 11 pm
Friday to Saturday – 2 pm – 12: 30 am
Address: 108 Oliver Plunkett St, Centre, Cork, T12 E6CX, Ireland
Phone : +353 21 427 2758
12. Look over the city from Elizabeth Fort
If you want to take more breathtaking views of the city, head over to Elizabeth Fort. This 17th century star-shaped fort was originally a built to defend the city during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It was also once turned into a women’s prison during the War of Independence.
Its redevelopment turned it into a tourist attraction where tourists can now take a good look of the city.
October to April – Tuesday –Saturday 10 am-11pm
Sunday 12 pm- 5pm
May to September – Monday – Saturday 10 am- 5 pm
Sunday -12pm- 5pm
Address: Elizabeth Fort, Barrack Street, Cork City
Phone:+353- 021- 4975947
13. Develop an eye for contemporary arts in Triskel Arts Center
The Triskel Art Center also has an interesting history that you might want to know. This cultural hub in the heart of Cork City offers a lot of things like the Triskel Christchurch which is now acting as the main auditorium after it has been refurbished from an old Georgian Church.
It usually hosts Classical and Jazz concerts, art exhibits, movies, and other cultural events. This art center also has a contemporary art room known as the Triskel Gallery Space. The Makeup Bar and a Script Cafe Bar also share the space.
Monday – Saturday 10 am- 5 pm
Sunday – 1pm -8pm
Open until 9 pm for all evening events
Address: Triskel Arts Centre Tobin St., Cork City
Phone: 021- 427 2022
14. Feel the soul of Cork in St. Patrick’s Street
Another attraction you might want to check is Cork City’s main shopping hub. Also located in the heart of the city, this one is not hard to miss.
When the weather is good, you will usually find locals gathering and chit-chatting over great food. This is where you can also find a lot of places to stay in Cork.
15. Call it a wrap at The Roundy Bar
To wrap up your day, enjoy a relaxing evening with live music and comedy at The Roundy Bar. Whether you’re someone who has an eye for independent records or someone who just want to end the day with a good laugh, this bar can easily be located in the heart of Cork City.
Upstairs, it has Plugd Records, an independent record shop for those who love music. Roundy Bar can also host parties for up to 80 people.
Monday- Thursday -9am -11:30 pm
Friday –Saturday- 9 am- 12:30 am
Address: 1 Castle St, Centre, Cork, T12 RX09, Ireland
Phone: +353 21 241 7888