- Discover Cork
Co. Cork is the largest county in Ireland and its capital, the third largest city behind Dublin and Belfast. Know as the rebel county due to its reputation for resistance to British rule in Ireland, the county and its people has always seen itself as independent.
The city is lively and energetic, great places to eat and go out, its natives cocky but charming, the city itself is very pretty, built on the river Lee in a natural harbour. Follow the walking tour, buy some fish or veg at the English Markets. Visit the Beamish and Crawford Brewery off South MainStreet, home of Beamish stout, you won't see much Guinness being drank in Cork. The statue of Father Theobald Mathew, a 19th century apostle of temperance stands near Patricks Bridge and is one of Corks' best known landmarks. The old Goal provides tours showing what it was like to be incarcerated in the prison. If you fance a go at bell ringing climb up the tower in Shandon Church.
St Marys Collegiate Church is one of the few remaining medieval churches still in use in Ireland. It's an extremely impressive church. Myrtel Grove is where Sir Walter Raleigh used to live in the 16th century. Oliver Cromwell also took residence here in the mid 1600s. In the centre of Youghal stands a clock tower, which served as a jail until 1837. Many a rebel was hung from the windows of the tower as an example to their compatriots. Moby Dick was also filmed here.
On the harbour entering Kinsale stand two large forts, giving you an idea of the military history of this town. James Fort was built in 1607, and Charles Fort was built in the 1860s. There are many fine buildings, churches and museums but Kinsale is also an excellent place to visit for water sports such as diving, fishing, sailing and windsurfing. The food in Kinsale is worth visiting for. There is a crystal workshop and a silver workshop.
The town of Blarney is famous for the Blarney Stone. The stone resides in what is left of Blarney Castle, the rest of the castle was destroyed by the armies of King William III. The theory is that McCarthy, the lord of Blarney, avoided swearing allegiance to Queen Elizabeth by sweet talking and soft speaking and at the same time keeping his hands. Blarney Woollen Mills has many craft goods and is worth a visit.
Standing on the hill above the harbour of Cork, Cobh (Irish for Haven) has an interesting history. Once known as Queenstown, Cobh was a naval base for many years. During the American War of Independence, soldiers were shipped from here. The coffin ships during the great famine left from Cobh, as did the doomed liner, the Titanic. St. Colemans' Cathedral is a gothic revival building, with the largest Carillon in Ireland, with 47 bells. Cobh heritage centre will give a history of Cobh, with a fascinating insight into the immigrants heading to the states.
The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest of its kind in Europe.
Fota wildlife park has 70 species of wildlife. It is great to see monkeys and other animals roaming free. The cheetahs, thankfully are locked up.