7 February 2022
By Roger Kennedy
The southwestern county of Ireland has plenty to offer, from breathtaking scenery to an unrivalled dining scene and more.
There are certain places that come to mind when planning a trip to Ireland. For many, the capital city of Dublin may feature highly on your list. For others, it might be Galway, the Capital of Culture, that draws your attention.
While it is compact in size compared to many other countries, the Emerald Isle sure does pack a punch with plenty of diversity and exciting things to see and do.
Known by many as a rival to the capital, Cork is a microcosm of all things Irish compressed into one county. From stunning coastal scenery to magnificent islands, traditional Irish culture to a renowned dining scene, the Rebel County offers plenty to be enjoyed.
So, if you’re planning a trip to the island of Ireland, then we highly recommend you add the southwest corner to your Irish bucket list. If you’re not yet convinced, then here are our top five reasons to include Cork on your trip to Ireland.
Cork’s music scene – a thriving cultural scene
Music is a huge part of Irish culture, and County Cork is no exception to this rule. Of course, you can visit a local pub and take part in a trad session for an authentic Irish feel. However, if you fancy something a little different, then we recommend heading to Cork for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.
Taking place every October, the Cork Jazz Festival was first held in 1978. As Ireland’s flagship international jazz festival, the musical spectacular attracts musicians and music-lovers from all over the world every year.
Aside from this, you can enjoy live music at one of the fantastic venues around the city. Some of the most popular are Cork Opera House, The Oliver Plunkett, Crane Lane Theatre, and Sin É.
Plenty of history to discover – from ancient to recent history and everything in between
Like much of the rest of Ireland, one of the main reasons to include Cork on your trip to Ireland is the abundance of history and heritage to discover.
From ancient sites to more recent historical events, the county is an absolute must-visit for history buffs. Among the most interesting are the medieval Blarney Castle and Gardens, which dates from the mid-1400s, and the Cork City Gaol, a former prison turned museum.
That is not all, however, when it comes to historical sights in Cork. Visitors can discover the 18th-century Shandon Bells, the harrowing history of Spike Island, and the unusual Butter Museum.
Discover Irish beers other than Guinness – one of the top reasons to include Cork on your trip to Ireland
Yes, you read that right; there are Irish beers other than Guinness! International publicity would have you thinking that the people of Ireland drink Guinness, the odd whiskey, and nothing else. This is, in fact, far from the truth.
In Cork, stouts such as Beamish and Murphy’s are much more popular than Guinness. Beamish is an Irish stout, founded in Cork in 1792 by William Beamish and William Crawford. Similarly, Murphy’s is an Irish stout, founded in Cork in 1856 by James Jeremiah Murphy (James J. Murphy). Both stouts are now owned and brewed by Heiniken.
Ireland’s culinary capital – a thriving food and restaurant scene
With such a rich and diverse dining and restaurant scene, Cork has got the reputation of being Ireland’s ‘culinary capital’. So, if you’re looking to discover the very best of Irish cuisine during your visit to the Emerald Isle, then you need to add Cork to your list.
The Rebel County boasts some of the best local produce you will find in Ireland, including high-quality artisan cheeses and freshly caught seafood. This produce adds to the vibrant dining scene the county is so famous for.
While in Cork, you need to visit the historic English Market, home to tonnes of local producers and the fantastic Farmgate Café. Alongside this, some must-visit foodie spots in the city include Café Paradiso, Orso, Liberty Grill, and many others.
Epic scenery – the landscapes will blow you away
Set along the southern point of the Wild Atlantic Way, it may come as no surprise that Cork boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery that Ireland has to offer.
Discover the beautiful Mizen Head Peninsula or the incredible Beara Peninsula, the ultimate location for those backpacking Ireland.
Not forgetting the colourful towns of Cobh and Kinsale and the striking islands that dot the coastline around County Cork, the beautiful scenery here is undoubtedly one of the top reasons to visit Ireland.