Cork may be best known for the Blarney stone. But there’s more to Ireland’s southernmost county than kissing the castle.
Riverside Cork City is the perfect weekend respite for Dublin travelers and New Yorkers in need of some serious fresh air, lack of crowds and several cheap shots of whiskey.
The best part? You can guide yourself through Cork to make the most of all that grass you are usually cramming to get space on in Central Park. Walk down the River Lee, drink the day away at a pub and check out these sites.
Cork City Gaol
If viewing the dilapidated hospital on Roosevelt’s Island intrigues you, add this former 19th-century prison to your itinerary for some grim Irish history. Upstairs, you’ll find the National Radio Museum, which throws back to the technology used long before the podcast. Admission about $8.50, $7/students, $5 children; corkcitygaol.com
Cork Butter Museum
For a more uplifting tour, explore the history of one of Ireland’s tastiest exports: butter. Observe butter artifacts and butter-making demonstrations, and expect strong dairy cravings to set in. Admission about $4, $3/students, $1.50 children; corkbutter.museum
Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral
Pretty much a requisite when visiting any European town, you’ll have to stop by Cork’s 19th-century French neo-Gothic cathedral when walking through town. Admission about $5, $4/seniors, $3 students; corkcathedral.webs.com
The English Market
Across the river is one of Cork’s main tourist attractions. This massive food hall dates back to 1788, though it has some serious Chelsea Market vibes. Shop for fresh produce, meat, dairy, flowers and crafts, plus find snacks like sandwiches, curry and pastries. englishmarket.ie
After walking through the market, stop for a drink at historic pub The Mutton Lane Inn (3 Mutton Lane), a favorite of Ruairi Curtin, a New York City transplant from Cork who co-owns the Bua Bar Group. Also on his list: The Long Valley Bar (10 Winthrop St.), an epicenter for epic nights since even before Curtin’s grandfather hung out there, and the petite Hi-B Bar (108 Oliver Plunkett St.), a neighborhood staple for live music.
Jameson Midleton Distillery
A free bus from St. Patrick’s Quay transports visitors to the this distillery, which turns that beautiful fresh water running through the Owenacurra River into Ireland’s finest export: whiskey. Take a class at the Irish Whiskey Academy to learn how the spirit is made, sit down for a premium whiskey tasting or book a behind-the-scenes tour to visit casks before they are bottled and taken to your local bar. Slainte! Tickets from about $19; jamesonwhiskey.com
Curtin can attest that this restaurant, located right outside the city center, is one of Ireland’s best. Ingredients are sourced from only a 12-mile radius for dishes like Irish butter-poached cod and salt-baked beets with candied oats. 8 Main St., Midleton, sagerestaurant.ie