Pure Cork. The Unofficial Capital of Ireland
February 3, 2022
An easier commute, a welcoming community, being part of a dynamic tech environment, working with colleagues from every corner of the earth – oh, and Cork itself. These are just some of the reasons rated by newcomers as making their transition to the Cork way of life so successful.
Corkonians are naturally and understandably proud of their home county. From its stunning seaside villages, to the rugged scenery of West Cork, to the bustling city centre, there’s a place for everyone – and all, as they say, within shouting distance of each other.
The University of Life
Cork is a university town with a young and vibrant student population. Which naturally adds to the lively atmosphere of the city. University College Cork, one of Ireland’s top 3rd level institutions, is located here. And even if your student years are behind you, the campus is well worth a visit. Take your time and explore the Stone Corridor. It’s lined with Ogham Stones, ancient gravestones which date from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.
A foodie’s paradise.
Just 40 minutes from Cork City is the multi-award winning Ballymaloe Cookery School. For three generations, their Slow Food philosophy had been educating both Irish palates and students from across the world. The restaurant and gardens are well worth a visit. And, if you’re interested in learning more, there are cookery courses to suit everyone. Look out for the delicious Ballymaloe Country Relish in shops too.
Local Farmers Markets are another place worth checking out. With a huge range of artisan produce on offer, this is where you’ll pick up an unexpected lunch or dinner treat. And Cork’s not short of fantastic restaurants either. Fishy Fishy in Kinsale is a favourite or try Denis Cotter’s Café Paradiso, for an elegant take on vegetarian cuisine.
An artist’s haven.
Crawford Art Gallery, in the heart of Cork city, is a national cultural institution. It’s housed in a beautiful heritage building and is the go-to spot for anyone with a love of visual arts, historic or contemporary.
West Cork’s scenery is a treat for the eyes too. So it’s no wonder artists of many nationalities have been inspired to set up home here. Through the years, locals and newcomers alike have made it a creative hotspot. So wherever you go, you’ll find small, intimate galleries, artists’ studios and craft workshops – from jewellers and glass blowers to wood carvers and sculptors. A fantastic way to see a whole other side of life in Ireland.
Family fun with four-legged friends.
With its mix of country living, city life and seaside adventures, Cork is magic for families of all ages. One much loved spot is the Donkey Sanctuary in Mallow. Its mission is to give rescue donkeys a safe and loving home. Spend a day there and you’ll understand why these wonderful animals have a special place in Irish hearts.
The Shandon Bells
If you’re after a hands-on experience in your new home, this is the one for you. St. Anne’s Church, one of the oldest in the city, houses the famous Shandon Bells. A mere 132 steps take you right to the top of it to enjoy panoramic views of the city, over 36m below. And the best bit? You get to ring those famous bells yourself.
And all that jazz!
Cork hosts 24 major festivals every year. The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival is one of the biggest and longest running. The city, buzzing at the best of times, echoes with the sounds of a thousand or more musicians and artists. Japanese psychedelic rock, Jamaican jazz piano and Dutch brass bands are just some of the acts that have taken to the stage here.
Check out the Cork Film Festival too. Or meet some world-renowned authors at the many literary gatherings that also take place across the county.
A Very Super Market
Cork’s iconic English Market is pretty unique. A traditional covered market, it’s been there since the mid-19th century. Today, you’ll still find bakers and butchers, greengrocers and fishmongers – and many more. Along with some distinctively Cork wit and wisdom which make it an experience like no other. Look out for some regional delicacies such as drisheen (blood sausage) or spiced beef.
Whiskey (with an ‘e’)
Irish whiskey is known the world over. But you can get to know it even better with a trip to the Jameson Distillery in Midleton. Take the tour, enjoy a premium whiskey tasting and see the world’s largest pot still. (They’ll explain more when you’re there) You even get to bottle your own whiskey.
Out on the water
Fishing, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, kite-surfing – Cork is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts (and enthusiastic amateurs). There are some spectacular beaches and picture perfect fishing towns and villages. Such as Kinsale, Bantry, Ballycotton, Baltimore and Cobh, with its eye-catching row of brightly-painted houses. Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic before it set sail for New York on its ill-fated voyage.
As befits a foodie county, this is just a flavour of what Cork has to offer. There’s so much more that could be said, but nothing beats moving here and experiencing it for yourself. Which we really hope you do very soon.