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Cork city guide

Cork City is Ireland's third city (after Dublin and Belfast) and has always been an important seaport. It began as an island in the swampy estuary of the River Lee (the name Corcaigh means a marsh), and gradually climbed up the steep banks on either side. Today the river flows through Cork city in two main channels, so that you find yourself constantly crossing bridges. Some of the main streets are built over channels where ships anchored a century ago. Along the South Mall, you will see large gateways at street level, under steps leading to a higher main door. These were once boathouses, when merchants arrived at their warehouses by water.

Cork Harbour is a natural harbour and river estuary at the mouth of the River Lee. It is one of several which lay claim to the title of "second largest natural harbour in the world by navigational area", including Poole Harbour in England.

Its reign as European Capital of Culture 2005 may have finished, but Cork still offers excellent restaurants, chic bars and lively pubs.

Top Attractions

Cork Opera House

Now in its 150th year, the Cork Opera House offers a world-class programme of events across all disciplines in the performing arts. It is Cork's premier venue and boasts a 1,000-seat auditorium.

The Cork Choral Festival

The Cork Choral Festival is one of Europe's premier choral festivals, and is held annually in Cork City Hall in May.

Cork Film Festival

The Cork Film Festival, held in October, attracts a mix of big budget pictures, world cinema, independent films, documentaries and short films from all over the globe.

The Cork Jazz Festival

One of Europe's friendliest jazz festivals, the event has hosted many of the 'greats' of jazz in its 30 year history. Stars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and lots more have thrilled the festival's audiences over the years. Crowds of around 40,000 are attracted to Cork every October for the Jazz Festival.

Crawford Municipal Art Gallery

The city art museum, located right in the heart of Cork City, welcomes more than 200,000 visitors a year. The collection comprises over 2,000 works from 18th-century Irish and European painting and sculpture through to modern video installations.

St Fin Barre's Cathedral

Built by William Burges at the end of the 19th century, St Fin Barre's is on a site that dates back to the 7th century. The present cathedral is within easy walking distance of the city centre and enjoys beautiful marble mosaics from the Pyrenees.

Triskel Arts Centre

Triskel is an arts centre with a broad range of exhibitions from poetry to photography.

Cork Butter Museum

The dairy industry is central to the history of Cork and this unique museum traces the craft of butter-making right back to the late 17th century.

Cork Public Museum

Cork Public Museum, in Fitzgeralds Park, was originally opened in 1910. After the burning of Cork in 1920 the building temporarily held the Municipal Offices, until re-opening in 1945.

Eating & Drinking

There are many fine restaurants in Cork offering a wealth of options to suit any budget. Cheap food in Cork does not necessarily mean poor quality and some of the heartiest offerings can be found in inexpensive eateries.

Being so close to the Irish Sea, the city of Cork delights in its seafood. Restaurants in the city all offer a fine selection of the best fruits of the sea. Cork is probably one of the best places in the world for salmon lovers, not only because the fish is in plentiful supply in most restaurants, but also because it will be hard to find a fresher, tastier salmon anywhere else on earth.