Munster, Republic of Ireland
Located in the province of Munster in southwest Ireland, Cork is a bustling and diverse city steeped in maritime history and a rich artistic culture. On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about must-see places, local delicacies and ferries to Cork and book your tickets easily and quickly!
Colorful houses in front of the Holy Trinity Church in Cork
Vacation in Cork
The city of Cork is proudly set on an island in the middle of the River Lee. After Dublin, it is the second-largest city in the Republic of Ireland but is known to locals, only half-jokingly, as 'the real capital'.
Its compact city center is surrounded by waterways and packed with artisan coffee bars, bustling markets, vibrant art galleries, beautiful parks, and modern masterpieces. It has a thriving foodie and craft beer scene, and is also known for its friendly locals.
It might be a city, but life in Cork is laidback, making it the best place to relax and unwind whether you’re traveling solo, with a family, or with a loved one!
How to get to Cork
You can travel to Cork by car, train, plane, or ferry. If you want to arrive in Cork by car, the drive from Dublin via the M8 motorway takes approximately 2.5 hours.
Traveling to Cork by train is another great option. Cork's Kent Station offers easy access to the national rail network and is just a 10-minute walk from the city center. Cork Airport is also located very close to the city center. It connects Cork to several destinations with domestic and international flights.
Alternatively, you can reach Cork by ferry. There are ferry crossings connecting Cork to Roscoff, in France. Traveling by ferry may take longer but you can embark your vehicle.
Also, you can book a cabin for a comfortable trip while enjoying the fascinating crossing and the breathtaking views from the ferry’s dock. Therefore, if you're planning to travel by ferry you can find more information about ferry routes and schedules to Cork below.
What to do in Cork
Cork is a vibrant, lively city with plenty of things to do. Nature and hiking lovers should definitely walk along the gorgeous coast of the Celtic Sea. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours and is suitable for all ages.
Stroll up to Shandon and visit St Anne’s church, one of the only churches in the world that lets you ring its bells unaccompanied. The bell tower will also reveal 360-degree views of the city. If it’s sunny, take your lunch from the English Market to the nearby Bishop Lucey Park, a popular alfresco eating spot. Later on, don’t forget to visit one of the city’s brilliant brewpubs and craft beer bars.
For a family-friendly activity, head to the Fota Wildlife Park, one of the leading wildlife and conservation sites in Ireland located 10 km from the city center. Alternatively, pay a visit to Blarney Castle, about 8 km from Cork, and home to the famous Blarney Stone!
Before leaving Cork you should visit the campus of the University College Cork (UCC) and its lovely surrounding grounds. Wander through the Hogwarts-like 19th-century university buildings and peruse the exhibitions of the unmistakable Glucksman art gallery.
Sightseeing in Cork
Although it might not be as popular a tourist destination as Dublin, Cork has so much to offer visitors that it will be difficult not to fall in love with its Irish charm, beautiful gardens and medieval architecture.
Here you can find a list of the top sightseeing in Cork:
- The Cork City Gaol, an imposing former prison
- The Charles Fort, an extensive star shaped fortress built in the 17th-century, with spectacular views
- The Camden Fort Meagher
- The Elizabeth Fort
- The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery
- The Cork Public Museum
- The Red Abbey Tower
- St Fin Barre's Cathedral, one of Cork's most distinctive landmarks
- St Peter's Cork
- The Church of St Anne
- The English Market, one of the world’s oldest municipal markets
The seaside Charles Fort in Kinsale, near Cork
Nightlife in Cork
Cork is a lively place to be at night and exudes traditional charm. It has to thank its relatively young population for that, since over 40% of the population is under 25.
The city offers an endless catalog of cozy restaurants, old-fashioned pubs open past midnight, late-opening exhibitions, and lovely evening walks. Head to Oliver Plunkett Street, a bustling shopping boulevard lined with late-opening shops and cafés. Numerous buskers, antique shops and historical buildings like the Theatre Royal can be found here.
Additionally, Cork has a long history of celebrating live music, including the renowned Cork Guinness Jazz Festival in October, heavy metal gigs at Fred Zeppelins and eclectic live performances at St. Luke's church. Ιf you prefer nightclubs, The Bodega, which is located inside the former St. Peter's Market building is the place for you.
Food in Cork
Cork’s famous English Market has made it Ireland's truly earned foodie capital. With more than 1,000 km of coastline to the south and productive farmland to the east, north and west, Cork is home to some of the best quality produce in the world as well as a variety of restaurants to suit all tastes.
Read below to find some of the most delicious local delicacies you should try during your stay in Cork:
- drisheen (a type of Irish black pudding made with milk, salt, animal blood, and breadcrumbs)
- crubeens (boiled pig’s feet coated in batter and fried)
- spiced beef
- bacon & cabbage
- Timoleague brown pudding (a variety of blood sausage)
- Clonakilty black pudding (made from beef, oatmeal, onions, beef blood, and a secret blend of spices)
- gubbeen (an Irish semi-soft cheese made from cow's milk)
- buttered eggs
Tip: for award-winning seafood in Cork, head to Kinsale town.
A delicious Irish dish of crubeen served with tomato sauce
Here are 4 tips for your stay in Cork:
- The best time to visit Cork is from May to November as the climate is moderate and there are plenty of festivals organized during these months.
- If you’re interested in picking up some cookery skills during your stay in Cork, head to the Firehouse Bread School and attend their 1-day course.
- An absolute must for lifelong fans of everything vintage is a visit to Mother Jones Flea Market. Here, you’ll find everything from clothing to vintage books and vinyl records.
- Whether you are interested or not in the history of the Titanic Cruiser Liner, a visit to the Titanic Experience in Cobh – the very place from where Titanic’s last passengers departed – is definitely worth a visit. The town is located just 30 minutes from Cork city center.
View to Cobh’s impressive promenade park
Useful information about Cork
Cork is a lively city offering a variety of amenities and activities to its visitors.
In regards to accommodation in Cork, you can find many options depending on your style and budget. If you want to be right in the middle of everything, then the city center is the right place for you. If you’re a fan of history, then the beautiful Victorian Quarter is where you should stay in Cork. This is also a great area to consider if you’re traveling on a budget.
As for hospitals, there are several options in the center of Cork and the suburbs in case of emergency.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Cork
Here are some useful contacts for your trip to Cork:
- Port of Cork: +353214273125
- Cork University Hospital: +353214922000
- Anglesea Street Garda Station: +353214922000
- Tourist Information Center: +3531800230330
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Cork
Getting around Cork by car or motorbike is the simplest option. In addition to the main attractions, you'll also have the opportunity to go off the beaten path and discover undiscovered jewels. In the city there are numerous affordable on-street parking options. There are also several multi-story car parks with thousands of spaces available.
Moreover, Cork boasts an extensive (and affordable) bus network connecting the county with Dublin, Limerick, Galway, and many more destinations. Bus Éireann offers a large variety of routes from Cork's city center to all parts of Cork, most of them leaving from Parnell Place, Cork’s main bus station.
For a sustainable alternative to public transport, we recommend getting around Cork by bike. In fact, there are over 30 bike dock locations in the city.
Ports in Cork
Located just 15 km from Cork city center, the Port of Cork (Port Chorcaí in Irish) is the world’s second-largest natural harbor. It has berthing facilities at Cork City, Tivoli, Ringaskiddy, and Cobh, but Ringaskiddy is home to the passenger and car ferry terminal.
Cork ferry: schedules and tickets
You can reach Cork by ferry from France. The company that operates the connection is Brittany Ferries. Here you can find more information on the ferry connection to Cork:
- Roscoff - Cork ferry: the ferry crossing between Roscoff and Cork operates between April and November with up to 2 weekly crossings. The crossings can last about 14-15 hours.
Aerial view of the seaside town and harbor of Cork
Where to book ferry tickets to Cork online
Don’t miss out on the beautiful town of Cork! Find the available ferry connection to Cork on our interactive Map of ferries, browse schedules and fares, and plan your trip online on Ferryhopper.