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Amy Alexander, Short Break Specialist

"Food lovers will adore the choice of faire in Cork, from the abundance of local produce at the English Market to the fantastic eateries scattered throughout the city. Burn off those calories with a walk to the nearby hillside suburb of Shandon, offering great views of Cork as well as plenty of galleries, shops, and cafes tucked among its quaint squares and lanes."

Cork at a glance

Referred to by its inhabitants as the ‘real capital of Ireland’, Cork is a short break destination with a youthful vibe and regional culture that gives it a distinct atmosphere all its own. The heart of the city is literally its own island, separated on all sides by the River Lee, while narrow 17th century streets and cultural landmarks combine with modern shopping centres, restaurants and pubs to create a rich short break experience.

Major universities in Cork give the city a youthful flare with plenty of art centres, cafés and shops renewing the city to modern standards. But don’t let the contemporary attractions fool you into believing nothing of the old Cork remains. The city thrives on a pride for its own culture and history. Georgian buildings still preside over much of the city, while popular sites such as the Blarney Stone and St Fin Barre’s Cathedral continue to attract a multitude of visitors each year.

Traditional music is also an integral part of the city, with a history dating back to the Cork’s founding. The Music Library, established in 1978, works to preserve musical traditions, with regular recitals held each year. There are also many pubs and bars throughout the city that play host to live music nights.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • A weekend short break
  • Art and music
  • Culture and hiistory 

Getting around

Cork’s small city centre is easily explored by foot.  For those looking to venture further out into the suburbs or neighbouring towns, there is a Citybus network, with most buses departing from St Patrick’s Street.

Dining in Cork

Cork has a special location in the south of Ireland which means fresh seafood and high grade dairy and meat produce, which results in some glorious dining in Cork. Cork is the food capital of Ireland, bursting with fine restaurants, craft-beer pubs and a fabulous food market. The famous English Market in Cork is fizzing with amazing stalls and a wide selection of delights.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Bacon and Cabbage – a coveted family favourite, good quality bacon and cabbage is paired with a white parsley sauce.  
  • Smoked salmon on brown soda bread – Cork’s smoked salmon is one of the best in the region and paired with a brown soda bread makes for a good street food snack!
  • Irish Potato Cakes – often a side dish, these potato cakes are amazing.


The Merchant’s Quay Shopping Centre is located in the centre and is home to three main department stores and around forty five shops. The city’s shopping streets includes Patrick Street, Princes Street, Oliver Plunckett Street and 

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Cork designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Cork hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 119,230
Languages English
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for UK citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Hop in a taxi to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone.

Distance from airports
Cork 8 km
Railway stations
Cork Kent

Things to do in Cork

Cork is a city with a very rich historical and archaeological heritage - much of it still in evidence today.

  • Cork City Gaol: A fascinating insight into day-to-day prison life during the 19th century.
  • Crawford Art Gallery: The Gallery´s permanent collection comprises over 2000 works.
  • Cobh Heritage Centre: An exhibition of the origins, history and legacy of this lovely seaside town and its special connection with the Titanic.
  • St Fin Barre's Cathedral: Consecrated in 1870, it’s one of Cork's main landmarks with a magnificent interior.
  • Blarney Castle: Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland's greatest chieftains. Kiss the Blarney Stone and you'll never be lost for words!

Tours and Excursions

Ring of Kerry Day Tour

This full-day tour takes in some of the finest scenery Ireland has to offer, with green pastures, winding mountain roads, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. Highlights include the town of Killarney, Dingle Bay, the village of Sneem, Killarney National Park and Torc Waterfall.

Dingle Peninsula Day Tour

With amazing mountain scenery and beautiful beaches, the Dingle Peninsula is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Highlights include Inch Beach, one of Ireland’s most famous beaches renowned for surfing and fishing and a popular filming location, and the Slea Head drive. This dramatic route hugs the shoreline offering dramatic views of the Atlantic coast. During the tour you will also stop in the charming towns of Killarney and Dingle.

Cliffs of Moher Day Tour 

Travel to the West Coast of Cork with a visit to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher where you can take in the dramatic views of the Atlantic coast. Stop off in the picturesque village of Doolin where you will have time for a bite to eat and a pint of the local beer.  During the day you will also visit The Burren and marvel at the unusual limestone landscape.  Before returning to Cork stop off at the medieval Bunratty Castle.

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.