Four Day Cork Itinerary
After a hearty breakfast served in Greenes Restaurant overlooking the waterfall, you are set up for a day of adventure.
For those wishing to escape the city, the quaint village of Blarney (home to the world renowned Blarney Castle and Stone) is just 7kms away or if you yearn for some fresh sea-air, how about a spin down to the picturesque harbour town of Kinsale, Ireland’s capital of gastronomy full of breathtaking coastal walks and two historic forts to explore.
If staying closer to home is more your thing, why not start your day with a leisurely walk along the banks of the River Lee (watch out for the resident otter) before winding up at Cork City Gaol. A fun and interactive experience awaits young and old at this nineteenth-century prison. Admission also includes entry to the quirky radio museum upstairs.
From here, you are a short walk along the river to one of the city’s best recreational spaces – Fitzgerald’s Park. Children will love the newly designed playground, sky garden and duck pond whereas those in search of a more educational experience can delve into the history of the city at the free Cork Public Museum. Don’t forget the Shaky Bridge behind the park too. Jump and you’ll see why!
If you still haven’t whetted your cultural/historical appetite, University College Cork is just a 5 minute walk from the park. Founded by Queen Victoria in 1845, the beautiful campus grounds are well worth a visit. Just don’t be fooled into thinking you have been transported to Oxford! Explore the Honan Chapel to marvel at its famous Harry Clarke stained glass windows and floor of half a million mosaics. Make sure you check out the ogham stones lining the Stone Corridor on the main quadrangle too. The Glucksman Art Gallery, a winner of numerous architectural awards is a contemporary art gallery on campus offering free admission with regular eclectic exhibitions on show.
You’ve certainly worked up an appetite by now. Head back into the city-centre for a visit to Cork’s top visitor attraction – the English Market where you will be spoiled for choice. The Farm Gate Restaurant upstairs is the perfect spot for lunch although beware, it fills up very fast. Closed Sundays and bank holidays.
After lunch, cross over the bridge to get a selfie outside of St Finbarr’s Cathedral. Located on the site of where the city first began with the founding of St Finbarr’s monastery, this nineteenth-century neo-gothic cathedral attracts visitors from all around the world.
Continue your cultural education with a trip to the Crawford Art Gallery, the city’s main gallery dating back to 1724. Canova casts from the Vatican, video, paintings and a stunning selection of Harry Clarke stained glass windows await.
Return to the hotel to freshen up before enjoying an exquisite meal in the multi award-winning Greenes Restaurant. Expect signature dishes of a seasonal nature with a simple food philosophy-local, fresh and staying true to each ingredient’s essence. Beloved by locals and visitors alike, dining in Greenes is not just a meal but an experience not to be missed during your stay.
After a delicious breakfast at Greenes Restaurant, it’s time to escape the city for the day. 16 kms from the city or a 10 minute journey on the train lies Fota Island, Cork’s very own pleasure island. Encompassing a world renowned golf-course and a fabulous regency style country house along with extensive gardens and an arboretum, there really is something for everyone. Best of all is Fota Wildlife Park, where young and old can marvel at the giraffes, monkeys and lions roaming freely. Check their website for details of up close and personal encounters with the animals.
Hop back on the train and in 10 minutes you will find yourself at Cobh, a pretty port town that boasts the second largest natural harbour in the world along with a rich maritime history as well as being the last port of call for the doomed Titanic. Families will love the Titanic Experience whereas those looking for a more comprehensive history of the town will appreciate “The Queenstown Story”, which not only provides a history of the town as a centre of mass immigration but an interesting exhibition with real artefacts found on board the Titanic. Stroll along the promenade, dine in one of the promenade’s many fine eateries, visit the impressive St Colman’s Cathedral for spectacular views of the harbour (you might even be lucky to hear the famous Carillion being played after service) or take the short boat journey out to nearby Spike Island (pre-booking essential).
Return to Hotel Isaacs Cork and try out one of the city’s many fine restaurants and bars for your final night in the city. If you still have energy left from the day, you may like to catch a play in the Everyman Palace Theatre directly across the road or how about some traditional music at the Lee Sessions
Rise early on the morning of your departure for a leisurely last breakfast before packing up your bags for your journey home. Before leaving the city, you may like to take in some fresh air with a refreshing walk/cycle down the newly pedestrianised Marina river-walk to Blackrock Castle. History and science blend perfectly in this iconic Cork landmark dating back to 1582. Take a guided tour of the tower overlooking Cork Harbour, explore a historical exhibit in the castle basement or lose yourself in the wonders of the cosmos with a trip inside the planetarium or one of the many science exhibits on offer.