We spent just one day in Cork Ireland and fell in love with the city’s history, architecture and food! Here’s what we did with just 8 hours in Cork!
Um, yes I still making my way through our Ireland trip recaps! (You can see the recap of our time in Dublin here!) Cork, Ireland was one of our very favorite places and we only spent one day there. (And not a full day at that!) I’m visiting Boulder, CO right now, and I figured a great trip was a good excuse to revisit another amazing trip!
After spending three days in Dublin, we drove to Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare. And the next day, after sleeping in a bit, we decided to backtrack to hit Cork rather than spend a full day doing the Ring of Kerry.
We were really happy with that last-minute change since we Ioved Cork. And, we still got to see plenty of the Ring of Kerry on our way to Adare.
What is there to do in Cork Ireland?
- Cork City Gaol
- Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral
- Walk along the River Lee
- Blackrock Castle
- The English Market
- St. Anne’s Church & the Shandon Bells
We did the first three and spent most of our day just walking around Cork. I often find walking without a set agenda to be the best way to explore a city vs. just going from attraction to attraction.
We saw kids getting out of school, people grocery shopping and others sitting and enjoying lunch together. Seeing “normalcy” while being a tourist makes the world feel a little more connected. It’s part of why I love running when I travel – you see the city in a different way!
Cork City Gaol
We came into the city and headed to the Cork City Gaol first. It’s a castle-like prison turned museum and super fascinating to tour.
It opened in 1824 and while the building is impressive, the audio guide (which we highly recommend) described how brutal the conditions were.
Some rooms are furnished with the conditions the prisoners had and some cells had writing on the walls from prisoners. It was honestly a little jarring at times since it was almost too easy to picture being confined there.
Overall, it was a little eerie, a little cool and definitely worth visiting.
Lunch in Cork
After the Gaol, we parked our car on the other side of the river and grabbed lunch at Perry Street Market. One of my Instagram followers recommended it and she did NOT lead us astray!! Not only were the employees lovely, the food was INCREDIBLE.
Tommy got chili and I got another soup and both of us agreed it was some of the best food of our trip — and Dublin’s food was AMAZING so our bar was high. As we left, we got scones for the road and the employees loaded us up with all sorts of pastries without charge. I guess they could tell we were obsessed?
After lunch, we just meandered. We headed in the general direction of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral but we were okay with not taking the most direct route. We stopped where we wanted to, took in the views and just enjoyed the day.
The River Lee was so peaceful with beautiful views along the water.
I mean, do you think the home of George Boole is a tourist attraction listed on most sites? Nope. But we found it on our meandering walk! Tommy and I both loved seeing where the creator of boolean algebra lived. I mean, who doesn’t love Algebra?! (For reals, I loved algebra.)
And we eventually made it to our next stop!
Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral
This place was UNREAL. It is just massive. Do you see me?
We had the cathedral nearly to ourselves, other than a couple other tourists and the organist who was there practicing.
After exploring the cathedral, we headed back to our car, passing by some more charm on the way. We drove drove back to Sheen Falls Lodge, which is one of the most magical places we’ve EVER stayed. More on that in another post!
Other nearby attractions
Tommy and I both agreed that we would stay longer in Cork (maybe spend one night?) to explore the area more. We’d love to hit the other things on the list above and some of the other attractions in the County Cork area.
- Blarney Stone & Blarney Castle
We didn’t feel particularly drawn to go see the Blarney Stone but if we had more time, we probably would, just for funsies.
We particularly wished we had time to visit Kinsale, which is a fishing village about 30 minutes from cork.
We drove by Cobh on our way from Dublin to Kenmare and it look gorgeous! It’s also only about 30 minutes from Cork, and looked like it would have been a fun place to stop and have brunch before continuing on.
Always another reason to visit!
Have you been to Cork Ireland? Or any part of Ireland?
What was your favorite part of your trip? Tommy and I would love to go back!! It’s such an incredible country!
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