By Ciara McDonnell
There are many reasons to visit County Cork, but here are the top 10.
A friendlier bunch, you’ll never find. Cork people are warm and welcoming and always ready with a story. They are passionate about their home county and work extremely hard to ensure that visitors to Cork leave instilled with the love and passion that this county demands.
A rebellious past
Make sure to visit the historic ruins of Blarney Castle
Cork played a crucial role in Ireland’s War of Independence and the city and county are home to many testaments from their rebellious past. From jails to the village of Béal na Bláth, you can journey through the region’s past.
Myth and magic
From kissing a giant stone to navigating fairy forts, Cork is full of legend, myth and fairies – the perfect place to lose yourself and find your inner child.
Aubergine parcels are just one of many tasty dishes you can try at Paradiso
Cork’s reputation as Ireland’s food capital is well deserved, thanks to a host of incredible producers and chefs who are passionate about championing their food. Whether you eat from one of the many farmers’ markets or stop in for a bite to eat at a beachside restaurant, chances are, you are going to have a meal worth remembering.
Wild Atlantic Way
Heralding the beginning of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Cork is the ideal spot for a road trip. Head from Kinsale by Old Head, towards Mizen Head and then hop on a boat to one of the islands of West Cork.
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Whether you are enjoying a night out in the city or holidaying in the wilds of West Cork, the region’s musical heritage is never far away. There are festivals dedicated to music – all kinds – throughout the year, but the one that draws crowds from far and wide each year is Cork Jazz. This weekend of jazz spreads throughout the county and is a major ticket on any music lover’s calendar.
St Colman’s Cathedral overlooking the pretty town of Cobh
The seaside towns of Cork are renowned for their multi-coloured façades. As the sun sets on the Atlantic Ocean, it reflects back on villages like Kinsale and Courtmacsherry and as long as you have a plate of freshly-caught fish to eat, there is no greater happiness in the world.
There is a guided tour for every interest across Cork city and county. Whether you want to investigate the ancient stone circles of West Cork or ring the Shandon Bells, there is a friendly, local guide willing to show you the way.
Take a tour of the Jameson Distillery to see how the famous whiskey is made
You won’t go thirsty during your visit to Cork. It is the home of Ireland’s favourite tea – Barrys, as well as Murphy’s, Cork’s answer to Guinness. If you fancy a dram of the harder stuff, then head to the Jameson Distillery in Midleton to taste Ireland’s best whiskey, straight out of the barrel.
The beaches of West Cork are renowned for clean water and incredible surfing opportunities. Pack the wetsuit and spend a day in the crystal-clear waters of Garrettstown or Inchydoney before retiring to a nearby pub to warm up with a bowl of something homemade and delicious.
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