Don't be surprised if you suddenly feel like you're walking on water - Cork is a maritime city, an island between two arms of the River Lee.
Cork lives up to its title as a European Capital of Culture - an abundance of galleries, museums and local cultural centres sustain the creative vibe associated with the city. An artisan food scene makes Cork one of the island’s biggest culinary hot spots. Fresh fish floods into the city from nearby towns while artisan producers furnish restaurants and market stalls with sumptuous dairy products and meats from the surrounding pastureland.
To wash it all down, you'll find pubs at every nook and cranny - this is a city that easily lend itself to merrymaking.
Despite all this action, Cork is at its heart a small and intimate city, warm and welcoming, with a relaxed pace of life that makes you feel you have all the time in the world.
Cork was founded 14 centuries ago, on islands in an estuary, where the River Lee joins the world’s second-largest natural harbour. Waterways circle the city-centre, crossed by 22 bridges. Hilly neighbourhoods climb the river banks stacked with colourful houses, while the University’s historic campus seamlessly connects to the city centre.
The Cork coast, with its colourful sailing races and regattas, is studded with some of Ireland’s most iconic places.
At the harbour’s edge is Cork’s port of Cobh, a picturesque seaside town which was once the departure point for millions of emigrants headed west. It was also the last calling point of the Titanic - this is a place with a poignant history beneath its cheerful seaside vibes.
To the North West lies Blarney and its castle, a legendary edifice wherein lies a magical stone said to bequeath the gift of eloquence to all who kiss it.
To the east you will find Jameson’s distillery at Midleton: a pure taste of Ireland enjoyed by millions around the world.
Just south again, on the Atlantic coast, is picture-perfect, smart Kinsale with its yachts, its pretty quayside, narrow 18th century streets, festivals and gourmet cuisine.
Grounded, witty and irreverent, “The People’s Republic of Cork” is a fusion of new and old, experimental and traditional. The city's unique identity helps it to stand apart from the rest of the country - but despite all that, it remains an intensely Irish place to visit.