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Things to do in Cork

The Republic of Ireland’s second city is a town of commerce with a growing high-tech sector spearheaded by Apple, who have their European headquarters here. Cork is also a fresh-faced city as the home of the University College Cork, often touted as the best place to study in Ireland. Cork is only a few minutes from Blarney Castle and the famous stone that grants people the gift of the gab. In the city centre, St Anne’s Church has its own place in the heart of Irish culture, and also on the menu are dynamic cultural amenities and a roll-call of monuments that have just been revamped as high-class days out. You can set foot in a feared 19th-century jail, walk the ramparts of an artillery fort and catch some live music from the pews of a converted church.

Blarney Castle

Under ten kilometres from Cork’s city centre is the partial ruin of a Medieval castle that is etched into Ireland’s consciousness. As it appears today Blarney Castle was built by the King of Munster Cormac MacCarthy in 15th century, and most of the keep has been preserved from that time. Many come up to the battlements to kiss the Blarney Stone, which can be found on the machicolations and according to tradition grants its kissers the gift of eloquence. Although the stone gets most of the attention there’s a lot to keep you occupied around the castle, like the themed gardens that include a poison garden growing wolfsbane, ricin, mandrake, deadly nightshade and poison ivy. Rock Close on the grounds is the site of an ancient druidic settlement under lofty yews and oaks, and there are trails along the picturesque banks of the River Martin.

FOTA Wildlife Park

On the east shore of Lough Mahon, 18 kilometresfrom Cork’s city centre is a non-profit animal park in 40 hectares of parkland. FOTA Wildlife Park has been praised for its animal conservation efforts, and has large enclosures with discreet barriers. Some species, like the ring-tailed lemurs, move around the park at will, while the maras, wallabies and kangaroos are kept in semi-freedom. Other animals are kept according to their region, so the “Asian Sanctuary” has Indian rhinos, Asiatic lions and Sumatran tigers, while the “African Savannah” holds zebras, ostriches and giraffes in one large paddock. The stars of the show are the Northeast African cheetahs, which can be watched hunting down their meals at full speed using a device a bit like a greyhound lure.

Titanic Experience Cobh

Everybody knows the story of the Titanic. If you’re too young (or too old) to have seen the legendary film that was one of the biggest box office hits of all time, you will definitely have come across it in many a history book. Alternatively, if you have visited Ireland any time in the last few years, you’ll know that the tragic story of the Titanic began here. Both Belfast and Cobh have strong associations with the Titanic which now draw oodles of visitors to Irish shores to see how it all began.

Spike Island

In the middle of Cork Harbour, Spike Island is in a handy defensive location, and when France declared war on Britain in 1793 work began on an artillery fort. This was the last bastioned fort to be constructed on what was then the British Isles. An array of guns is on show, from the early cannons to the 6-inch artillery guns that followed later in the 19th century. For much of its history the fort doubled as a prison, and the Irish patriot John Mitchel spent time here in 1848 before being deported to Bermuda. Later the fort was a detention centre for Republicans during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), andwas in the hands of the Irish military until 1985. Now Spike Island’s deep history can be fully revealed, while the Glacis Walk on the outside of the fort has arresting views of the lower harbour.

English Market

Most of Cork’s leading restaurants get their produce straight from the English Market, which is in a splendid Victorian hall running from Grand Parade to Princes Street. This is the place to go for meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, spices, fresh herbs, cheese, baked goods, and a great deal more. For those who want to get in touch with Irish cuisine, you’ll be able to get hold of regional delicacies like battlebord (dried salted ling), drisheen (blood sausage), buttered eggs and spiced beef, which is similar to pastrami and seasoned with ginger, cloves, pimento, cinnamon and black pepper. At the Farmgate Cafe in the gallery you can go for a quick cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake.

Fitzgerald Park

In western Cork, the Fitzgerald Park is eight hectares of former marshland reclaimed from the River Lee in the Mardyke area. This was done in time for the Cork International Exhibition of 1902 and the park is named for Edward Fitzgerald, the Lord Mayor of Cork who proposed the plans. Holdovers from the event are still sprinkled around the park, like the pavilion and ornamental fountain. There are formal flowerbeds, mature deciduous and evergreen trees and a duck pond lush with water lilies. Crossing the River Lee is the handsome cast iron suspension footbridge Daly’s Bridge, built in 1926 and nicknamed the “Shakey Bridge” for obvious reasons.

Have you visited County CORK before? If so, When did you go and which is your favorite place to visit? We enjoyed each and every place we mentioned but our fav one is for sure Blarney castle and FOTA wildlife park. I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below. Check out our more WhereandEverywhere travel blogs just click on the "Travel Blogs"

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