INTERESTING THINGS TO DO IN IRELAND: CORK

I’m going to advise some interesting things that you can do in Ireland so enjoy your journey.

The first city that I want to submit is Cork.
Cork is the second biggest city of the Republic of Ireland after Dublin and the capital of the homonymous county. It is located on the southern tip of Ireland, on the estuary of river Lee, and it is an important seaport. It is a very old city: it was mentioned the first time in 1185, so it has lots of ancient monuments that you can visit.
First in Cork there are two principally cathedrals: Cathedral of st. Mary and st Anne and St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral is the most important cathedral in Cork because it is the seat of the diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross and it owes its name to the patron of Cork, St. Fin Barre, who created an important centre of culture in which gathered many monks and students.
The building was built by the architect William Burges starting from 1862 until 1879 and he embellished it putting a golden angel on the pinnacle.
Inside the building is amazing, rich of symbols and religious meanings; the staff is very knowledgeable and it can give you important information and it is happy to answer your question.
St Fin Barre’s Cathedral is also call “The South Cathedral” to distinguish it from “The North Cathedral” which is the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne.

St. Mary and St. Anne’s Cathedral is the Catholic Cathedral of Cork and it was built in 1808 in a Neo-Gothic style but it needed a restoration due to a fire that was carried out by the architect George Richard Pain in 1820. In 1964 was built the tower that reaches a height of 80 meters. It is very beautiful inside too, rich of religious details and altars dedicated to the saints; you should visit it.

Another famous and interesting cathedral in Cork is “St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral” which is located in the hearth of the city, close to the main road “St. Patrick’s Street”. It was built in 1859 and it was consecrated in 1866. It is famous because, in addition to its primary function as a sacred place dedicated to prayer and the worship of God, Saints Peter’s and Paul’s, is also important because of its architectural significance and as the repository of baptismal, confirmation and marriage records dating back to 1765. Those records provide a rich source of information for individuals in Ireland and around the world tracing their genealogy and composing their family trees. So if you want to try to find some of your ancestors you could go to this cathedral and enjoy the experience.

The last religious built that I want to advise is “Holy Trinity Church” which is located in city centre near the river Lee. It is not as famous as the cathedrals but it worth a visit. Founded by the Capuchin after the persecution of the 17th century, Holy Trinity Church is now the most important centre of meeting of this ecclesiastical order; it’s an imposing building which offer a great view of the river Lee and it’s amazing see it in the light of the sunset. So don’t miss the opportunity to go visit it!

But Cork is not only a religious city, there are lots of interesting building that you can visit during your stay in the city.
One of these is the tower of “Bells of Shandon” and the name Shandon comes from the Irish, Sean Dún, meaning “old fort”. Shandon was one of 28 settlements in and around ancient Cork.
The church is noted for its 8 bells due to the song “The Bells of Shandon” by Francis Sylvester Mahony. To reduce vibration, they were placed in a fixed position. They first rang on December 7, 1752. Today, visitors can climb to the first floor and ring the bells themselves.
The clock of the tower is known to Corkonians as “The Four Faced Liar”. This is attributed to the fact that, depending on the angle of the viewer, the time shown appears slightly different on each face during the hour. The reason for this is that the numbers on the faces are made of wood and gilded, with some of the wood being thicker than others, and so some hands stick when they reach these numbers. However, on the hour, the hands all come together on each face. Lots of people go to visit it everyday and everyone remain very happy, so don’t forget to visit it!

Another important construction is “Fort Camden” which is not located in the city of Cork but it is positioned on Rams Head near Crosshaven, County Cork.
The fort derives its name from the Earl of Camden, who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1795. Fort Camden, though internationally recognize to be one of the world’s finest remaining examples of a classical Coastal Artillery Fort, has sadly become derelict and overgrown.
The Fort was briefly used as a prison, and prisoner were used for there labour in the construction of its fortification. Then in 1855 Cork harbour was again recognised as being an important strategic position for the defence of Ireland, the west coast of England and Wales.
During the Second World War, the Irish Army formed its own coast artillery service with headquarters at Spike Island. The Coast Defence Service was maintained until it was dissolved in 1949.
In 1987 Cork County Council indicated that they were interested in having the fort developed as a military museum and suggested that the fort should be transferred for a nominal sum to a public body such as the council. In 1989 Cork County Council acquired ownership of the fort.
It will be a great experience for who is interested in history but also for who likes nature because is situated in a wonderful place!

Now I’m going to introduce the most particular and suggestive place in Cork which is “Cork City Gaol”. It is situated at the top of the city, away from the bustling center and this gives it an air of gloomy and mysterious.
The Cork City Gaol in Sunday’s well, was designed to replace the old Gaol at the north gate Bridge in the heart of the city. The first site chosen was at distillery fields-an area prone to frequent flooding! This fact and enlightened thinking that hilly airy sites were best for containing Gaol fever probably influenced the change to the present site. In 1870 the west wing was remodelled into a double sided cell wing & in 1878 the gaol became an all female prison. The Gaol closed in August 1923 with all remaining prisoners either released or transferred to other gaols. To the older generation around Sunday’s Well the place with the “big high walls” is often referred to as the “Women’s Gaol”. This is because in the early years its use was for a time confined to female prisoners. Inside you can still see all components of prison and understand what was the real life of the prisoners thanks of statues that depicting scenes of everyday life in prison. You can’t miss such a beautiful step back in time.

The last building that I want to advice is the University Collage Cork (UCC).
If you have seen the amazing films of Harry Potter’s saga, I’m sure you will think that the UCC is the famous school of Hogwarts but be careful not to tell it to the students: they don’t like the comparison!
Apart from that, the university was founded in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges located in Belfast, Cork, and Galway. It became University College Cork in 1908. Queen’s College Cork was founded by the provisions of an act which enabled Queen Victoria to endow new colleges for the “Advancement of Learning in Ireland” and the three colleges of Belfast, Cork and Galway were incorporated on 30 December 1845. The college opened in 1849 with 23 professors and 181 students and a year later became part of the Queen’s University of Ireland.
The original site chosen for the College was particularly appropriate in that it is believed to have had a connection with the patron saint of Cork, Saint Finbarr. This is also reflected in the College motto “Where Finbarr Taught, Let Munster Learn” which is also the current university motto.
Today the university has over 18,000 students. This student base is supported by 2,747 staff – of which 762 are faculty. The university is one of Ireland’s leading research institutes, with the highest research income in the state. The university had seven faculties in Arts and Celtic Studies, Commerce, Engineering, Food Science and Technology, Law, Medicine, and Science.

So I gave you lots of possibility to enjoy your stay in Cork, but I’m sure that you will think that all of this wonderful destination will be boring and you will want to know “Is there something funny that I can do?” Of course!!

Cork city can offer lots of different opportunity to have fun. One of this is definitely the theatre “Everyman”. It’s on of the most particular theatre in Cork County: you can book for a dinner and a show in this wonderful theatre. It could be little expensive but I’m sure you will have lots of fun and you will pass a great night with lovely theater and good food, and this will become a fantastic night if you bring someone with you.
If you find this choice too expensive or formal but you would like to go to a theatre I advice you to go to “Opera House” which is the principal theatre of Cork. It is near the city center and is perfect for who want to go alone or with the family because it can offers lots of different type of theater for young and old with local and international artists. So if you like going to the theater don’t miss this possibility, I’m sure you will enjoy yourself!

If you instead want to see something unusual you should visit “Butter Museum” of Cork City. It is situated near “St. Mary and St. Anne’s Cathedral” it isn’t expensive; it can explain you the importance of the butter in Ireland in the early ’60 and how this trade has evolved over time. The newspaper “New York Times” wrote in one of its article: “Visit this museum for a surprisingly, engaging and multi-faceted view of history”, what I have to say more? It is also possible see how butter is made with ancient instruments. What are you waiting for? Run to “Butter Museum”!
There is also a great experience in Cork for those who are fascinated by astronomy: Cork has an Observatory too, “Blackrock Castle Observatory”.
Blackrock Castle is a 16th-century castle located about 2 km from the heart of Cork city on the banks of the River Lee. Originally built to defend the port and upper flows of Cork Harbor, the castle is now the site of an observatory, visitors centre and restaurant.
The “Cosmos at the Castle” project was intended to create a centre for scientific research, outreach and communication. A feature of the facility is the manner in which children and adults are encouraged to interact with science. The exhibition is open to the public and is themed “The Search for Extreme Life in the Universe”. Highlights of the exhibition include:
-A tour of the Universe using interactive floor-to-ceiling screens.
-A “social software” cinema designed by Martello Media, with digital post production by the award-winning Irish company The Farm
-A radio telescope that beams messages composed by school groups towards nearby stars
-An optical telescope that continuously searches for very short flashes of light that may be evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence.
I think this will be a great experience for young and old and I’m sure you will find it very interesting.

But now, to conclude, I will advice you two destinations which are engaging and relaxing.
The first is “Ballycotton Cliff Walk” which is a wonderful walk along the Irish cliffs that is perfect for who want to stay alone with the wild nature and listen to music or run or only relax seeing the sea and the cliffs which are really fascinating. It is not a hard walk so you can do it with your family and children will love it. Don’t forget to visit Ballycotton City at the end of your excursion: it is a typical and traditional port city that can help you recover from the walk with tea, cakes and traditional dishes.
The second destination is “Fitzgerald Park” which is the biggest park of Cork city; is near the city center and it is perfect to spend your spare time in contact with nature but not so far from urban convenience. It is provide of a big playground for babies and lots of comfortable benches for adults, so it is perfect to spend a sunday afternoon with your family.

I’m now at the conclusions but I want to put the current that in Cork there is another experience that is waiting for you: a match of Gaelic Games, I don’t want to spoil the surprise but you shouldn’t miss this opportunity, you will have lots of fun with your friends!

Now I’m really at the end, I think I have said all I had to say and I’m sure you are very bored now. So enjoy your journey in Cork, I hope my tips will be helpful!

MC

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