“I’m here for just a couple of days, what should I really see in Cork?”
Without a doubt, this is one of our most frequently asked questions at the Hotel Isaacs reception desk. Let’s face it: we’ve all been there! We’ve arrived to a place with little or no research and don’t know where to begin. We feel overwhelmed. FOMO (fear of missing out) is starting to attack. We know we can’t do everything but we sure want to try. The great news is that our boutique hotel, located in the heart of Cork’s vibrant Victorian Quarter, not only boasts a thriving shopping, dining and entertainment scene (Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy all performed in the Everyman Theatre directly opposite us) but is also within walking distance of all of the city’s many great attractions meaning no time is wasted trying to find parking spaces or navigate yourself around.
Nevertheless, one of the best ways of getting a quick overview of the city is to jump on the Cork City hop-on, hop-off bus conveniently located at the bottom of our street. The tour takes just over an hour, is reasonably priced (just €15 for adults and €13 for seniors/students), tickets are valid for 24 hours and you’ll also be provided with a factual commentary as you “cruise around the town”. To make things easier for your trip, we have selected the top stops to disembark at on your tour:
Beloved by locals and visitors alike, no visit to Cork would be complete without a visit to this bustling indoor food market serving the city since 1788 and home to Cork’s infamous tripe and drisheen.
For those in search of some retail therapy, St Patrick’s Street, the adjoining Oliver Plunkett St and Opera Lane are sure to satisfy all your shopaholic cravings. Make sure not to miss the Huguenot Quarter and the remains of the city walls on display at the peaceful Bishop Lucey Park. Who says shopping can’t be a little bit educational?
One of the oldest parts of the city, the Shandon Quarter was once the centre of industrial life with the biggest butter market in the world in the 18th century. Find out more in the quirky butter museum or for those who fancy some panoramic views, a climb up the Shandon Bell Tower is well worth the effort. Known locally as the Four-Faced Liar, it was the largest four faced clock in the world until the arrival of Big Ben. The North Cathedral and Cork’s only homemade sweet shop, Linehans are other places that should feature on your bucket list in this area.
You’ve no doubt seen the spires on your journey around the city. Make sure you take the time to get up close and personal to St Finbarr's Cathedral though along with its neighbour Elizabeth Fort for more great panoramas of the city.
University campuses don’t come much prettier than the stunning landscaped grounds of the university and with an award-winning contemporary art gallery at the Glucksman and the famous Harry Clarke stained windows to be admired in the Honan Chapel, this is one stop you don’t want to miss.
If walking isn’t your thing, getting off at the City Gaol stop is highly recommended especially for their guided tour. Opened in 1824, it was the site of many a grotesque hanging and once housed the Countess Markievicz. The upper floor also contains a small radio museum including the microphone John F. Kennedy used on his trip to Cork.
Of course, no great visit to the city would be complete without some culinary delights. Rest assured, we have you well catered for with Ireland’s number one fine dining restaurant, Greenes where residents receive a 15% food discount and Ireland’s number one cocktail bar, Cask who have just launched their exciting new autumn menu. A taste adventure you don’t want to miss.
Colette is a hotel receptionist working at Hotel Isaacs Cork. Her favourite part of the job is meeting the many guests coming from all corners of the globe and sharing with them all the wonders that Cork City and County has to offer. One of her great passions is travelling and exploring new places especially museums, galleries and castles. "One of the things I feel very strongly about is how so many people in Ireland are completely unaware of some of the hidden treasures right on their door-steps. When people go abroad, they push themselves to see all the cultural delights on offer but too often, they have no idea how great what is right in front of them, readily available every day is. I came to Cork as a student in 2008 and I too limited myself and didn't push myself to explore. It took a friend to take me off and show me how truly amazing this city and county is and this is what I want to share with my guests and readers.