Dublin may have the fame, but locals know that Cork has the craic. The Republic of Ireland’s second city has history and culture to spare, plus friendly locals, lively nightlife and a refreshingly human scale – travel to Cork from Glasgow Airport and see another side to Ireland.
Credit for founding Cork usually falls to Saint Finbarr, who established a monastery above the River Lee in the seventh century, but the Vikings also have a convincing claim on the city. Either way, Cork played a pivotal role in Irish history, from the War of the Roses to the Independence War and the Irish Civil War. Get a taste of ancient times in Elizabeth Fort, newly opened to the public and offering stunning views over the city.
One more for the road
With the Murphy’s and Beamish & Crawford breweries spilling hoppy aromas across the city rooftops, it should come as no surprise that locals are happy to raise a glass. Discover the craicalong Barrack Street, lined with authentic Irish pubs – the originals for the copycat chains overseas. Blistering live music from jazz to fiddles only adds to the Commitments vibe. Seek out local talent at Sin É (8 Coburg Street), An Spailpín Fánac (27-29 South Main Street) and The Oliver Plunkett (116 Oliver Plunkett Street).
Cork is nothing if not eccentric, and this extends to the city’s tourist attractions – take the English Market, where picnickers can sample a veritable serving platter of authentic Irish delicacies, or the Church of St Anne in Shandon, where visitors are invited to ring out melodies on the church bells. Top stops for rainy days include the Lewis Glucksman Gallery and CrawfordMunicipalArtGallery, and the CorkPublicMuseum, with its displays, nay shrines, to local hero Roy Keane.