Cork: an up-and-coming European city break destination

Wednesday, 7 March 2012 5:38 PM

Recent years have seen Cork emerge as an up-and-coming destination for wonderful city breaks. When you consider the range of things there are to see and do, though, it should really come as little surprise. Coming here for a few days offers something for every interest, but you may find you're hard-pressed to fit everything into a single trip.

Have you considered using car hire in Cork to get around? You'll have the freedom to see much more if you do!

Food

One popular draw for many visitors to Cork is the fabulous food on offer. From local specialities like Irish stew and drisheen to sumptuous international cuisine, you will discover at least one eatery that tickles your tastebuds.

Head to Farmgate Cafe, on the first floor of the English Market, and you can indulge in some authentic cuisine both for breakfast and lunch. Traditional soda bread is baked fresh onsite each morning, while the meat used comes from the butchers' stalls downstairs.

Shopping

If you're keen to do a little shopping during your short getaway, you'll be in the right place. St Patrick's Street is the city's main retail throughfare and contains several department stores and independent boutiques. Visit the MahonPoint Shopping Centre to pick up goods from some of the biggest, most well-known names on the high street.

Culture

Culture vultures will discover plenty to captivate them in Cork. The 1,000-seat Cork Opera House puts on a range of shows, plays and operatic performances, while The Pavilion - situated in the Huguenot Quarter - regularly has live bands playing.

Festivals

Festivals of all kinds take place in Cork throughout the year, with the Cork Jazz Festival - which happens every October - having included performances by Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald over the years. Cinema buffs should also consider having a short break here in October, as this is when the annual film festival is held.

Art galleries

Cork is renowned as a culturally-rich city, so head to the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery to find out why this is the case. Everything from Roman sculpture casts to 18th-century Irish paintings can be seen here, while you should also visit the Cork Butter Museum and Cork Public Museum.

Fota Wildlife Park

The Fota Wildlife Park has long been a popular draw for visitors. Situated on Fota Island, just outside of the city, it is home to a wide array of creatures, including cheetahs, bison and meerkats.

Sport

Cork is a great destination for sport lovers. You can watch the local football team - Cork City FC - play at the Turner's Cross Stadium, although if you want to be more active hop into your hire car to the nearby golf course. The Ted McCarthy Municipal Golf Course is situated just 3 miles from the centre of the city.

Parks

Cork is home to a wealth of outdoor recreation spaces, among them Bishop Lucey Park. Here, you'll see a pretty fountain, colourful flowerbeds and the remains of the old city walls.

Family

The city offers something for people of all ages, so it is the ideal destination for a family-orientated short break. Kids in particular will love the Chuckies Playzone, which features slides and a large ball pool. A trip to Cork City Gaol, meanwhile, enables you to see a number of life-sized wax figurines.

Hotels

Last, but certainly not least, Cork's fabulous array of hotels makes it a great place for a short break. From five-star accommodation overlooking the River Lee to self-catering apartments in the city centre, you will find somewhere suitable for your needs.

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