Cork Travel Guide: Top 10 things to see and do in Cork City

“Familiarity breeds contempt” or so Chaucer believed. As we bask in these long summer days (well, attempt to bask when the weather cooperates), it is so easy to forget and take for granted the wide variety of things that are simply begging to be explored on our doorstep here in our little boutique hotel in the heart of Cork City.   We have therefore put together a list of some of the top ten things to see and do during your stay at our oasis o calm in the middle of a vibrant and ever-changing Cork city.

  1. The English Market:

Possibly the number one question we get asked by our guests during their stay with us is how to find the English Market. It is easy to see why! Dating back to 1788, the English Market is one of Cork City’s biggest tourist attractions.  Surviving wars, economic downturns and centuries of political instability, this indoor food market is a must-see on any visitor’s trip to Cork.

  1. Oliver Plunkett Street:

Voted the Best Street in Ireland and the UK in 2015, Oliver Plunkett St and its countless side-streets is a thriving shopping street in the city centre.  Bars, restaurants and numerous locally-owned shops give this street a quintessential local feel.

  1. St Finbarr’s Cathedral:

A nineteenth-century neo-gothic cathedral that visitors may recognise as the first image that pops up from a google search of Cork City.  A selfie outside the cathedral is obligatory.

  1. University College Cork:

A leisurely 30-minute walk from Hotel Isaacs is our very own mini-Oxford style university.  Founded by Queen Victoria in 1845, the beautiful campus grounds are well worth a visit. Don’t forget to explore the Honan Chapel to marvel at its famous stained glass windows and floor of half a million mosaics.  The Glucksman Art Gallery, a winner of numerous architecture awards is a contemporary art gallery on campus offering free admission with regular eclectic exhibitions on show.

  1. Fitzgerald’s Park:

A five-minute stroll from the university can be found one of the city’s best recreational areas.  Children will love the newly designed playground and the duck pond whereas those in search of more educational experience can while an afternoon away at the free Cork Public Museum, which provides a history of the city from the Stone Age right up to the present moment.

  1. Cork City Gaol:

Another one of the City’s major tourist attractions, Cork City Gaol is a fun interactive experience for young and old.  Explore this nineteenth prison and imagine what life was like a prisoner. Admission also includes entry to the radio museum upstairs.

  1. Shandon Bell Tower:

Less five minutes from our boutique hotel is the famous Shandon Bell Tower.  Climb 132 steps and see spectacular 360-degree views of the city at 36.65m/120ft. View the internal workings of the clocks, the ‘Four-Faced Liar’ and ring the famous Shandon Bells. Unwind in the beautiful surrounds of St. Anne’s Church – one of the oldest churches in the city.

  1. Crawford Art Gallery:

Dating back to 1724, Cork City’s main gallery offers a wide variety of art forms including Canova casts from the Vatican, video, paintings and a stunning selection of Harry Clarke stained glass windows.

  1. Nano Nagle Place:

Cork’s newest visitor attraction commemorates the life of the pioneering “Lady of the Lamp”, Nano Nagle who established a network of schools in Cork during the Penal Laws as well as founding the Presentation Sisters.  This fun and interactive exhibition takes the visitor on an evocative journey through 18th century Cork City. The centre also contains peaceful gardens for visitors to relax in- a true oasis of calm in the heart of Cork City.

  1. Sensory experiences at Greenes and Cask:

Who says you even have to move from the comfort of our hotel during your stay here with us?  The best hotels in Ireland offer everything under one roof and here at Hotel Isaacs, we buy into this “keep it simple” philosophy.  Our award-winning Greenes Restaurant, where our residents can enjoy a 15% food discount, offers inspiring and creative dishes by Head Chef Bryan McCarthy.

Alternatively, a trip to Cask Cocktail bar should be a must for any visitor to Hotel Isaac, currently the number 1 cocktail bar in Ireland for the second year running.  A summer menu is about to launch this month too. Another reason to get excited!

About the Author:  Katie McGarr is a resident writer for Isaacs Hotel Cork, an Irish boutique city hotel perfect for travellers who want to explore Cork City’s Victorian quarter and its award-winning restaurants and bars. She also loves to write content on various topics such as fashion, beauty, finance, home, and lifestyle.

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