We arrived in Cork after a sleepy bus ride from Galway. Jenna left us earlier that morning to fly to Manchester for a conference, but Elisabeth and I continued our trek around Ireland. Cork was a bustling city, bigger than Galway, but still quaint. We stayed at an Air B&B a short bus ride outside of the city center. We had the nicest French hosts who lived in a cute apartment and were extremely welcoming. Overall we had a great experience in Cork.
What to do:
Because we were a bit short on time, we didn't do much besides eat in Cork city. There is more to do, but Blarney Castle is probably the biggest "attraction" nearby.
Stroll around the Old English Market
The market has a welcoming atmosphere and is full of fresh meats, produce and pastries. A really cool place to walk around and either buy food or just shop!
Go to Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle is my top recommendation for what to do while in Cork. There is bus route from Cork that goes directly to Blarney Castle. It really couldn't be more convenient, and the ride only takes about 15-20 minutes depending on where you get on. Elisabeth and I spent an entire day exploring the castle grounds. We lucked out and had great weather, although at times cloudy, there was never a drop of rain. The foliage in the area is awesome. There are unique plants all around the grounds and plenty of different areas to explore. Of course you have to kiss the Blarney Stone and explore the castle, but be sure to give yourself enough time to explore everything. You can also walk to Blarney Woolen Mills after for shopping!
Where to Eat
Cork had some amazing restaurant options. The places I listed are all in the city center area of Cork and relatively easy to find if you visit.
Orso is a modern Lebanese/Moroccan cafe. They offered well-priced lunch options. The cafe is quite small and there isn't really a waiting list. Everything was fresh and the food was great. After we finished eating I already knew I wanted to go back.
Market Lane was the perfect dinner spot after a long day exploring. They have a great menu and its relatively affordable. Both Elisabeth and I loved our food. Besides the nice atmosphere and great food, Market Lane also uses ingredients from the English Market and other local vendors, which makes you feel good about what you're eating!
We went to the open air part of the Farmgate cafe for coffee and dessert. We ordered the Banoffee pie, and it was sooo good. Elisabeth and I agreed on it being our favorite dessert of the trip. I'm sure there normal cafe menu is also delicious. A perfect place to eat before or after you've explored the rest of the English Market.
Hopefully you enjoyed a little glimpse into Cork and Blarney Castle. The next and last Ireland post will be about our time in Howth, a cute little city a 20-minute train ride from Dublin.