St. Finbarr's Cathedral

Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) is situated on the banks of the River Lee in the south of the country. With a city population of 119,230 in 2011 it is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the third largest in all of Ireland.



Cork is the anglicised version of the Irish word Corcaigh, which means marsh. The city centre was originally built on marshland and boats were able to navigate into the channels which separated the many islands. Many of the wider streets, such as St Patrick's Street, the South Mall and the Grand Parade, are actually built on former river channels. St Patrick's Street is Cork's commercial hub, and is known colloquially as either "Patrick Street" or "Pana".

The centre of the city forms an arrow-shaped island between the North and South channels of the River Lee. There are upwards of thirty bridges over the two channels. This, combined with the one-way traffic system, can make the centre a little bit confusing for first-time visitors. The River Lee flows from West to East, and outside of the centre, hills rise steeply to the Northside, while the Southside is that bit flatter but still hilly in parts. St. Anne's Church watches over Shandon, just to the North of the river. The University is about 2 km to the west of the centre.

The Train Station is about 1 km to the east of the centre. Shops are generally concentrated around St. Patrick's Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, Paul Street and North Main Street. Bars and Restaurants can be found everywhere, but especially around MacCurtain Street, Washington Street and Oliver Plunkett Street. Financial businesses are centred on the area around the South Mall and the Administrative heart of the city is on Anglesea Street.


The patron Saint of Cork, Saint Finbar (c.550-c.620) founded a monastery on the south bank of the River Lee approximately 1,400 years ago. A settlement grew up around this monastery and was added to (and ransacked) by Viking invaders during the ninth and tenth centuries. The town grew and the English Norman King Henry II, who had been requested by Pope Adrian IV (the only English Pope) to collect papal dues not paid, gave Cork city status in 1185.

Cork slowly grew during the late Middle Ages, developing into a crowded, walled city, centered around North and South Main Streets. The city enjoyed a golden age of sorts during the seventeenth century providing butter to ships which plied the North Atlantic. During this period the city expanded and many Italianate residences were built on the hills to the North in Sunday's Well and Montenotte.

After a sluggish start following independence, the city grew substantially during the latter half of the twentieth century. Currently, as a result of the Celtic Tiger phenomenon, development is having a profound effect on all aspects of the city, including its appearance, mostly for the better. From a small merchant town, Cork has grown into a cosmopolitan and vibrant city that, within the Republic of Ireland, is second only to Dublin in size and importance.

Statio Bene Fide Carinis' – "A safe Harbour for ships" is the motto of the city that is found on the coat of arms.

In recent years Cork has developed a slightly separatist mentality when compared to other parts of Ireland. This is most evident in colloquial speech (Cork Slang) and references to Ireland's capital, Dublin. This is, however, mostly tongue-in-cheek humour.

Get in

By boat

Car ferry services depart from Ringaskiddy (15 km SE of the city) to Roscoff. Ferries sail to/from Ringaskiddy through Cork Harbour (the second largest natural harbour in the world; Sydney harbour being the largest) and past Cobh - the last port of call for the Titanic. From April to October there is a weekly ferry service to Roscoff in France with Brittany Ferries . The Cork-Swansea ferry service was suspended in 2007 for lack of a suitable vessel. The Cork-Swansea ferry service was reinstated in March, 2010 by a new operator: Fastnet Line and closed again in 2012 .

By plane

Aer Lingus

Cork Airport (IATA: ORK) Cork Airport is the international gateway to the south of Ireland and Ireland's second busiest airport after Dublin Airport which is also part of the DAA Group of Irish State owned airports. Cork Airport manages an average of 7,000 passengers per day, rising to 15,000 during the peak season and up to 60 aircraft movements a day. An average of 2.4 million Passengers use Cork Airport annually, flying to over 50 destinations across Europe. The airport is located 8 km south of the city centre, connected by the N27 Kinsale Road.

Among the main scheduled passenger operators out of Cork Airport are Aer Lingus , , Ryanair , and Wizz Air .

Destinations include :

There is a taxi rank located outside the arrivals entrance. Taxis to the city centre cost around €20 and can carry up to 4 passengers (or up to 8 if you request a van-style taxi). Fares for longer journeys are reasonably priced and negotiable.

Bus Éireann route 226 links the airport with the city centre, including the bus station at Parnell Place and Kent Station.

By train

Kent Station, Cork

The train service in Ireland is operated by Irish Rail (Irish: Iarnród Éireann) which provides rail services from Cork to Dublin (16 trains per day), Cobh (22), Tralee (3 direct, 6 with one change) and Mallow. All other towns and cities are accessible through connecting trains.

Cork's main station is Kent Station, located on the Lower Glanmire Road, a 10-minute walk east of St Patrick's Street.

Trains in Ireland can be expensive by comparison with other modes of transport. For example, a single (one-way) adult ticket from Dublin to Cork typically costs €36 if booked online , though a certain number of services offer a €20 or €10 single fare if booked online. Be aware that adult single tickets bought at the station cost €66 , almost the same price as a return journey. By booking online on the Dublin train you will be automatically allocated a reserved seat; you can also select which seat you would like manually. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours.

The Irish Rail network is undergoing a significant upgrading in terms of both infrastructure and rolling stock.

Four routes operate from Kent Station, Cork:

  1. Intercity route to Dublin Heuston, serving: Mallow, Charleville, Limerick Junction, Thurles, Templemore, Ballybrophy, Portlaoise, Portarlington, Kildare, Dublin Heuston.
  2. Intercity route to Tralee, serving: Mallow, Banteer, Millstreet, Rathmore, Killarney, Farranfore, Tralee
  3. Commuter route to Cobh and Midleton, serving: Little Island, Glounthaune, Fota, Carrigaloe, Rushbrooke, Cobh; with a recently opened spur line serving Carrigtohill and Midleton.
  4. Commuter route to Mallow, serving: Mallow.

By bus

The main nationwide bus carrier in Ireland is Bus Éireann who run services from Dublin to Cork every two hours, on even hours from 08:00 until 18:00. Similar express direct bus services exist to Waterford (hourly), Killarney, Limerick, Skibbereen, Shannon Airport and Galway (hourly).

Aircoach also run services to and from Dublin on the hour every hour non-stop. They depart from the city centre. The bus goes to Dublin Airport. It's 3 hours to Dublin city centre and 3 hours 30 mins to Dublin Airport. Very cheap at around €10 single to Dublin City. The buses have toilets and wi fi. A connecting bus goes to Dublin Airport.

Gobus operates from Cork Bus Station at half past the hour every 2 hours (06:30, 08:30 etc.). They stop in Busaras in Dublin City Centre, close to Connolly Train Station. Again very reasonably priced €12 single and very comfortable buses with toilets and wi fi and it's non stop. Very good value compared to a train.

City Link operate services on the Limerick-Shannon Airport-Galway route.

By car

The main inter-city road network in Ireland has received a lot of investment in recent years, though sections of poor road still exist, even on the road between the largest cities.

The M7 and M8 motorways which connect Cork to Dublin is mostly motorway with 2 lanes in each direction. Approximate journey time is 2 hours 30 minutes in good conditions. There are 2 tolled sections of this road - Fermoy and Portlaoise - with the toll being €1.90 at each toll booth. The immediate outskirts of Cork and Dublin can be quite congested at rush hour like most major urban centres. Best to avoid at those times if you can as a tourist.

The N20 to Limerick is mostly single carriageway with one lane in each direction; there are short sections of dual-carriageway (2 lanes in each direction) around Cork and Limerick. Approximate journey time is 1 hour 45 minutes.

Cork to Killarney takes about 1 hour and Cork to Waterford is in about 1 hour 30 minutes.

The main arteries into Cork are mostly wide and in good condition, but outside of these the streets can be very narrow and steep; drivers who are unfamiliar with this style of close-knit street layout may find these conditions extremely challenging. There are many one way streets so best to use the Park and Ride facility at Black Ash (on the south side of the city and well signposted). It costs €5 to park there all day and that includes a shuttle bus to the city centre for all the car's occupants. Stress free all the way.

Car rental

Car rental services in Cork mainly operate out of Cork Airport. The close proximity of Cork Airport to Cork City means that this is not as inconvenient as it might appear, particularly when the excellent bus and taxi services are included.

Get around

Cork City's main thoroughfare, Patrick Street

By foot

Cork has a small city centre. A visitor will most likely be staying, eating, drinking and touring in the city centre. Taxis are plentiful and even on busy weekend nights you shouldn't wait long for a cab. There is a bus service to the residential suburbs. Most buses leave from the main street, Patrick's Street or the nearby bus station at Parnell Place.

A guided bus tour departs from near the junction of Grand Parade and South Mall at regular intervals and provides an interesting tour of the main highlights of Cork for those who do not have a lot of time on their hands.

Cork City, though small, is a nodal point for shopping in much of Munster. The City has several large department stores and many smaller interesting shops.

By bus

Bus Éireann operate a bus service around Cork City with many of the buses stopping on Patrick's street in the city centre. Some bus stops (including nearly all in the city centre) are equipped with real time information displays showing the next 3-4 buses due and their estimated time of arrival. All Bus Éireann buses are wheelchair accessible.

By taxi

There are numerous Taxi ranks located throughout cork city. Fares are calculated on a meter and all taxis are the same price. Fares are also negotiable for longer out of town trips. Most drivers also offer fixed priced guided tours. (See taxi regulator: )

Taxis appear as normal cars except with a yellow bar above it with their license number and 'TAXI' or the Irish equivalent 'TACSAÍ' written on it. If the light is on, the taxi is available for hire, but some taxi drivers forget to turn on and off their light, so check to see if anyone's in the cab.




Cork has a thriving cultural scene that was acknowledged internationally when it was named the European Capital of Culture for 2005. Several festivals are held annually in the city giving the visitor an opportunity to experience a wide range of music, theatre and film.


Cork City Pub Crawl

If you're in Cork City on a Friday night and you want to go out and enjoy the city's pub culture then a great way to do it is by going on the Cork City Pub Crawl. It's a pub crawl/tour/party organised by local energetic youths, with the aim of creating a buzz or a bit of craic among the tourists and locals of Cork City. They run it every Friday, starting at 20:00 outside the GPO on Oliver Plunkett St. and take the group to 4 pubs and a club in Cork. There's a €10 charge but that saves you money because it includes at least one shot of jaegermeister, one shot of whiskey/tequila, two shots of apple sourz and entry into the club. The group is a fun blend of locals and backpackers, all up for the craic.


English Market


Barrack Street is known in Cork for its amount and variety of bars. The Barrack St. Challenge challenge is to drink one pint in each bar starting in Nancy Spain's and still be able to walk by the time you reach the Brewery. Cork is also well known for its live music scene.

Outside of An Bróg



There are a handful of hostels in the city:


Mid range


Stay safe

Cork is a safer city than Dublin. During the night caution should be taken, as in any situation involving large numbers of people and alcohol. Late night fighting and anti-social behaviour are more common in Ireland and Britain than in elsewhere in Western Europe and Asia. However, as in any city the vast majority of people are out simply to enjoy themselves.

Sensible and vigilant behaviour when out late at night should mean that any trouble is avoided. If your safety feels compromised, approach any of the many police or doormen in the city centre, who will be happy to provide assistance. There is virtually no guncrime in Cork, even the general police don't carry guns, so there is no need to worry about firearm violence.

Go next

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