ALL ABOUT CORK

GENERAL TOURISM AND ENTERTAINMENT

Cork.ie This  is a well-maintained site on the city, updated regularly with information on local attractions, upcoming events, exhibitions, etc.  Hosted by the local council: http://www.cork.ie/

Also useful is Cork City Guide:  http://www.cork-guide.ie/index.html

HISTORY AND CULTURE

Probably the best online resource for the city’s history and culture is Cork Past and Present, maintained by Cork City Libraries:  http://www.corkpastandpresent.ie/

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Map of Cork, 1774.

Cork is a small city (metropolitan area population 274,000 [2006]), founded by St Fin Barre in the 6th century. It is built on the River Lee, which splits into two channels on the western end; the channels converge at the eastern end, leading to Lough Mahon and Cork Harbour, one of the world’s largest natural harbours. Old maps of the city will show how the city was divided up by a series of channels: main thoroughfares such as St Patrick’s St were once channels populated by merchant vessels. Many of the main streets were formed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when the waterways between the islands were arched over with culverts carrying the water which still flows under the streets of the modern city. Corkonians call the city ‘the real capital’ in reference to the city’s anti-Treaty stance during the Civil War (1922-1923). It gained its cognomen the ‘rebel city’ through its support for the Yorkist cause during the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485).   Go to http://www.corkpastandpresent.ie/ for fascinating accounts of the city’s history.

POPULAR LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

The English Market, Cork, iguidedottravel

The English Market

The English Market is Ireland’s most famous covered food market. The best of local produce is found here. Our favourites are Iago and On the Pig’s Back for cheeses, Heaven’s Cakes, the Alternative Bread Company and The Real Olive Company. For people watching, take the stairs up to the Farmgate Cafe and take a seat on the balcony. Try their Bread and Butter Pudding with vanilla custard. Website: http://www.englishmarket.ie/

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Jamb figures, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Sharman Crawford St (completed 1869). A prime example of neo-Gothic architecture, St Fin Barre’s was designed by English architect William Burges and is typical of Burges’ flamboyant style. Burges found inspiration in classic French Gothic cathedrals such as Amiens and Chartres, particularly in the design of the west facade with its three portals, jamb figures and rose window. Website: http://www.cathedral.cork.anglican.org/index.php/Home/

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Christchurch at the Triskel Arts Centre

The Triskel Arts Centre, Tobin St/South Main St was founded in 1978 and is the city’s leading arts centre. The centre was redeveloped and expanded in 2010 when Cork City Council restored the adjoining Christchurch, an 18th century neo-classical building, and gave it to the Triskel to manage. The Triskel is home to the Theatre Development Centre,  the Black Mariah Gallery, an artist-led project and exhibition space and also hosts musical performances and world/arthouse film screenings. Guided tours of Christchurch costs 3 euro. Website: http://triskelartscentre.ie/about-us/

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Cork Butter Museum, Shandon

The Cork Butter Museum is a unique, curious museum located in the hilly north side of the city, near St Ann’s Church, Shandon (also worth a visit in order to ring the bells – a Cork visitor tradition). In recounting the history of Ireland’s butter trade – the Cork Butter Exchange was once the largest butter market in the world – it also traces the development of Cork as a city trading on the Atlantic in the 1700’s and the development of Ireland’s economic, social and domestic life. Website: http://corkbutter.museum/

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Crawford Gallery

The Crawford Gallery, Emmet Place (venue for Day 3) is composed of three building phases, the earliest of which was erected in 1724, as Cork´s Custom House.  In 1830 the building was given to the Royal Cork Institution, (a forerunner of the present University College Cork) with the object of ‘diffusing knowledge and the application of science to the common purposes in life.´ The building became a Government School of Design in 1850. A lavish extension, housing studios and galleries, was added in 1884 to accommodate the rapidly growing student numbers, at the expense of William Horatio Crawford (of Beamish and Crawford Brewery), after whom it was named the Crawford School of Art. The building was home to both the School of Art and Gallery from the early nineteenth century until the School of Art relocated to its current premises in 1979. An extension was opened in 2000 and since then the gallery has hosted numerous exhibitions of international significance. Gallery website: http://www.crawfordartgallery.ie/index.html

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Cork City Gaol

Cork City Gaol, located at Sunday’s Well, was founded in 1824 and closed in 1923. During the War of Independence, anti-Treaty prisoners were incarcerated there including the most famous female republican of them all, Countess Constance Markievicz the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament (1918). The remodelled section of the  building (1878)  is  a  fine example of the work of Sir Thomas Deane, who with Benjamin Woodward, also designed UCC’s Main Quad. From outside, the gaol looks more like a castle than a purpose built prison, with its turreted battlements and elegant Governor’s House, which forms the central block. Tickets including tour 8 euro/student 7 euro. Website: http://corkcitygaol.com/

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Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle and Observatory is a 10-minute bus ride (bus 202 from Parnell Place) from the city centre and a good half-day of leisure. The castle is a national monument and the location of a research centre run by Cork Institute of Technology. Tours (including a visit to the castle tower to view the powerful Meade telescope) take place at 15.30 (with seasonal additions). Admission 6 euro/students 4 euro. http://www.bco.ie/

Environs (less than an hour outside Cork):

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Kissing the Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle and Gardens is a short bus journey out of the city (bus 215, return journey 7 euro). The castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by the legendary chieftain Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, who is said to have sent over 4000 men to bolster Robert the Bruce’s army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. But the castle is most famous as home to the Blarney Stone (located at the top of the castle): once kissed, it will bestow the gift of eloquence (better said here as the gift of the gab). The lush grounds are very pleasant and one could easily spend several hours there; you’ll also find lesser-known treasures

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

such as a portal dolmen (neolithic burial tomb), the Wishing Steps, the Witch’s Kitchen and a sacrificial altar used by the ancient druids. There are a number of restaurants outside the grounds (small cafe inside the grounds) which some may find a bit pricey. Weather permitting, we highly recommend taking your own food, as the grounds have plenty of picnic areas. Adult admission costs 12 euro; student 10 euro. Note: no credit cards accepted; cash only. http://www.blarneycastle.ie/

Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery, Midleton is home to the world’s largest pot still and some internationally renowned whiskys. The centre recounts the history of whisky-making in Ireland and explains the whisky-making process through an audio-visual presentation while the tour includes visits to the maltings, mills, stills and warehouses, some of which date back to 1795. Tastings are included in the admission price. http://www.heritageisland.com/attractions/jameson-experience-midleton/

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Shops in Kinsale

Kinsale town is one of Ireland’s prettiest locations, nestled on County Cork’s south coast.  Strolling through the town, taking in the Atlantic air along the pier and browsing in some quaint little shops is pleasant in itself but Charles Fort is well worth a two-hour visit (take the tour, inc. in the admission price, to get the full breadth of its history). Also notable is St Multose’s Church, dating from 1180 and Desmond Castle, which houses the International Museum of Wine.  Kinsale is famous for its seafood. Favourite restaurants (tried and tested by UCC staff!) are Fishy Fishy (two locations, the one located off the beaten track is not as flashy but the food is better priced and  just as good), and Shanghai Express (no, it’s not a takeaway; the chef knows how to merge the best of French and Asian food). Day return bus journey from Parnell Place Bus Station to Kinsale town centre costs 11.50 euro. Journey time:  45 minutes. Kinsale website:  http://kinsale.ie/

On Campus

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Glucksman Gallery

The Lewis Glucksman Gallery is located just inside the main entrance to UCC on Western Road and is one of the country’s finest exhibition spaces. With a focus on modern and contemporary art, numerous shows of international significance have been held here, while the gallery also exhibits works from UCC”s notable collection of Irish art. The building itself is considered to be one of the country’s finest examples of contemporary architecture and has won numerous awards including RIAI Best Public Building in Ireland 2005, RIBA 2005 award winner European category, 2005 Project of the Year, UK Buildings Services Awards, UK Civic Trust Award 2005. The Glucksman included in the book, One of the 1001 Buildings you Must See Before You Die (Cassell, 2012).  The gallery also contains a shop and a busy cafe-bistro, Fresco. Gallery website: http://www.glucksman.org/

Honan Chapel, main campus

Honan Chapel, main campus

The Honan Chapel (completed 1916), is built in the Hiberno-Romanesque style. Its main portal is modeled on the 12th century Clonfert Cathedral and much of its interior and exterior features are reflective of early Christian Irish art and architecture.  The design of interior furnishings was inspired by early Irish Insuluar manuscript motifs and the herringbone pattern used throughout the building is redolent of the Nun’s Church, Clonmacnoise and St Cormac’s Chapel, Cashel.  The church is best known as home to eleven jewel-like stained glass windows by Harry Clarke, universally acknowledged as one of the greatest stained glass artists of the twentieth century. Drawings by Clarke can be seen in the Crawford Gallery. Chapel website: http://honan.ucc.ie/welcome.php

More information will be added soon.

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