City Orientation Walk (Self Guided), Cork

Cork is one of the biggest city in Ireland,also called “The Rebel City”. The cultural diversity of the city attracts thousand tourists every year. Find out what can you visit if you decided to go there by browsing this list of top tourist attractions.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Ireland » Cork (See other walking tours in Cork)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Author: Caroline
1
National Monument

1) National Monument

Bearing a stark resemblance to the Holy Trinity Church is the National Monument that stands statuesquely on the Grand Parade Street. Unveiled in 1906, the monument stands as a tribute to all the great Irish patriots and martyrs involved in the revolts of 1798, 1803, 1848 and 1867.

The foundation stone for the monument was laid on 2nd of October 1898 by the Mayor of Cork, Patrick Meade. The monument was chosen to be erected at the junction of Grand Parade and South Mall that was previously occupied by the statue of George II. Despite the foundation stone being in place since 1898, it was only 4 years hence that the building started taking shape. Fundraising for the monument proved very difficult and the locals were regarded as disrespectful and indifferent towards the country’s patriots and independence struggles.

Nevertheless in 1902, the job of designing the monument was given to the famous architect, D.J Coakley and John Francis Davis was asked to sculpt the figurines on the monument.

The design of this monument is early Irish Gothic styled. It is adorned with statues of Wolfe Tone, Michael Dwyers, Davis and O’Neill Crowley at the four corners of the monument and in the center, under the canopy is the eight feet high statue of Erin.
2
Nano Nagle Bridge

2) Nano Nagle Bridge (must see)

Built over the River Lee, the Nano Nagle Bridge connects the Grand Parade Street and Sullivan's Quay. The bridge was built as one of the many structures to mark the 800th anniversary of Cork being given the status of a city. Located in one of the city's most scenic parts, the bridge adds an artistic appeal to the area. This beautiful bridge took about 7 months to complete and like many other structures in Cork, the Nano Nagle Bridge too has a story that comes with it.

The Nano Nagle Bridge is named after Honora Nano Nagle, the founder of the 'Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary' (PBVM), in Ireland. Born in 1718, Honora was one of the greatest women in Ireland. Despite being born in a strict Protestant English era, the Nagle family stayed rooted in their Catholic faith. The English were so determined to wipe out the Irish Catholic Identity that education was only offered to those who would first convert to Protestantism. The English efforts to eradicate the Catholic faith led to a period of poverty, distress and misery in Ireland.

The family moved to France for Nagle’s education. On completing her education, Nagle returned to Ireland and dedicated her life to help and educate the poor. Having done a lot for the downtrodden and poor she is looked up at by the people all over the world.

Why You Should Visit:
Perfect as a scenic shortcut from O'Sullivan's Quay to Grand Parade.
You get a good view of St. Fin Barre's Cathedral up the river, too.

Tip:
The bridge will lead you to the Nano Nagle Centre set on a 32 acre certified organic farm.
There is a nice Farmers Market on site run by the nuns, open every second Saturday morning from 10:30am to 1pm.
3
Cork City Club

3) Cork City Club

Located on the Grand Parade, the Cork City Club is one of the most beautiful buildings on the street. With its ornate architecture, the pure white structure stands on the south west corner of Grand Parade and adds to the beauty and grandeur to the street.

The Cork City Club was erected at the same site where the Post Office once stood in the mid eighteenth century. By 1800, the Post Office moved to Caroline Street and the Daly’s club was erected. The Daly’s club was then, known for its handsome interior and facilities like a billiards room, cards room, reading room etc.

During the nineteenth century there was a growing popularity for Gentlemen’s clubs and the period saw the emergence of three of the kind in Cork.

In 1860 two clubs, namely the Daly’s and the grand parade club merged to form the Cork City Club. The previous structure underwent a serious renovation and the new building that presently stands as the Cork City Club took form under the leadership and design of Sir John Benson and Robert Walker.

Post 1952 the building was used by several other organization like the Legion in the diocese of Cork, the ICC bank and later the Bank of Scotland.

With its presence this immaculate structure, he Cork City Club truly is one of its kind the city of Cork.
4
Oliver Plunkett Street

4) Oliver Plunkett Street

Oliver Plunkett Street (Irish: Sráid Olibhéir Pluincéid) is a key shopping street in Cork, Ireland. It was originally laid-out in the early 18th century as the city expanded eastwards beyond the original city walls. It was the only street in Ireland on a shortlist for the 'Great Street Award 2016' by London's Academy of Urbanism. The street runs in a straight line from Custom House Street to Grand Parade. Between Grand Parade and Parnell Place, the street is a shopping street. With the exception of the secondary entrance to the Penneys department store, most retailers on the street are small standalone retailers. However, there are a number of chain retailers that operate smaller stores too. This section of the street is also home to Cork's main Post Office. A small lane, known as Market Lane, provides access to the English Market.
It is also one of a number of nightlife centres in Cork - although there are more bars and restaurants on the neighbouring sidestreets than on Oliver Plunkett Street itself.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Berwick Fountain

5) Berwick Fountain

The city of Cork is filled with structures that are architectural delights and have a stories that run back well in the history of the city. One such structure is the Berwick Fountain that stands ornately on the Grand Parade Street in Cork. Built in 1860, the fountain was designed by Sir John Benson and named after Sergeant Walter Berwick, the Chairman of the Quarter Session court, who came to the city in 1847. The fountain was formally presented to John Arnott, the Mayor of the city of Cork on the 1st of January 1862 by Berwick himself.

As the story goes, Judge Berwick was very popular amongst Corkonians and the people of the county. Already established in the hearts of the locals, he became much more popular and venerated on joining the bankruptcy court. Warmed by the affection and gratitude he received from the people of the city, he presented this ornamental fountain as a token of his appreciation.

The fountain stands close to the former site of the statue of King George II. Although regarded as a symbol of gratitude and beauty in the city, the Berwick fountain has had its share of problems as well. In the nineteenth century, the water supply in the city was frequently interrupted rendering the fountain filthy and unfit for display. It was only after Berwick voiced his anguish about the state of the fountain that serious measures were taken to improve the situation, after which it was presented to the Mayor in 1862.

Today, the Berwick Fountain is a common landmark in Cork where people meet up.
6
Bishop Lucey Park

6) Bishop Lucey Park

If you fancy long walks in the park where you are surrounded by peace, tranquillity and nature then Bishop Lucey Park is a must visit. One of the few green areas in the city, the park is popular among locals and visitors. Not only is it noteworthy because of it greenery and beauty but the Bishop Lucey Park is also archeologically and historically very significant.

The Bishop Lucey Park was opened in celebration of Cork’s completion of 800 years of being awarded a city status. The park was named after Bishop Cornelius Lucey who served as the bishop of Cork for more than 30 years.

The entrance of the park is adorned with an archway which was the same that led to the City Corn Market on Anglesea Street. This entrance was specially reassembled to place as the entrance of the park. Other interesting features in the park include the Bronze fountain and The Onion Seller. The Bronze fountain designed by John Behan (1938) comprises of eight beautiful swans that celebrate the 800 years to Cork’s establishment. The Onion Seller, cast in bronze is a monument to the women working at the Coal Quay open market.

The Park is also a huge reservoir of historical and archaeological wealth. During the development of the park in 1984 archaeologist stumbled onto a stone wall that was believed to be the remains of the Hopewell Castle, one of the defence towers of the city. at the same timel, shards of Pottery from Normandy and other regions that dated back to the 17th century were also excavated. These now reside in the Cork Public Museum.
7
English Market

7) English Market (must see)

The English Market (Irish: 'Sean-Mhargadh na Sacsan'), or properly Princes Street Market, is a municipal food market in the centre of Cork, Ireland. The market is well supported locally and has in itself become a tourist attraction in the city centre.

The term 'English Market' was coined to distinguish the market from the nearby St. Peter's Market (now the site of the Bodega on Cornmarket Street), which was known as the 'Irish Market'. There has been a market on the present site since 1788 but the present group of buildings was constructed in the mid-19th century with the ornamental entrance at Princes Street being constructed in 1862 by Sir John Benson.

The market is best known for its daily caught fresh fish, and butchers and sources much of the food served in the city's top restaurants. It is a source of local specialties such as Drisheen, spiced beef, and buttered eggs.

Why You Should Visit:
Clean and charming old-fashioned market with a wide choice of top quality Irish food.
Ideal for local self-catering, but also for some quick sampling.

Tip:
Visit early and ask the vendors for menu and cooking tips!
The restaurant upstairs is very nice and fairly well priced.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am-6pm; closed on Sundays
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Queen's Old Castle

8) Queen's Old Castle

Contrary to its name, Queen’s Old Castle is actually a departmental store. What is interesting to know, is that it actually stands on the site of the King’s Castle, a fortress designed to protect the port of Cork. Historical records state that the site was known as the King’s Castle from 1206 to 1835. In 1835, William Fitzgibbon, developed the site into a departmental store and named it Queen’s Castle, perhaps in honor of Queen Victoria.

Queen’s Castle continued serving people of Cork as a department store until 1978 when it was closed for refurbishment. It reopened in 1980, as Queen’s Old Castle Shopping Centre with 37 shops and restaurants, which made it very popular until the recession hit markets in 1990 and closed down many shops. The site had an interior revamp in 1997 and opened as an outlet for Argos and Virgin Music Megastore around the January of 1998. Having seen owners like Brown Thomas Ltd and Primark, visitors like Joe McCarthy and Roy Keane, and also the burning of Cork in the 1920s, Queen’s Old Castle has quite a history to tell its current day visitors.

Standing on Grand Parade, this architectural beauty has twenty eight Corinthian columns which are twenty-six feet high and a Greek Doric break front. This site has been a Castle, a jail, a courthouse, then a department store and even a shopping centre, and is definitely to be visited if you are in Cork.
9
Cork Vision Centre

9) Cork Vision Centre (must see)

Cork Vision Centre at St. Peter's is a gallery and exhibition centre under one roof, dedicated to showcasing the works of local artists both from Cork and the neighbouring communities. In doing so, the centre sets a good example of preserving and promoting arts. The gallery is housed in a restored 18th-century church and successfully combines several roles lending premises for weddings, receptions, launches and seminars, along with all the necessary facilities. The centre is very easy to access because of its convenient downtown location.

Why You Should Visit:
Great space with an individual atmosphere; a special venue to view and hold exhibitions.
Entrance is free.

Tip:
The Centre incorporates a small café and accessible toilets.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Wed: 10am-5pm; Thu-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 11am-3pm; closed on Mondays
10
St. Peter and Paul's Church

10) St. Peter and Paul's Church (must see)

A hidden gem that cozily resides on St. Patrick's street in Cork and dates to mid-18th century – an era when it was prohibited for Catholic churches to be built on the main road. Nevertheless, this brilliantly designed church will manage to grab your attention, standing as a brilliant specimen of Neo-Gothic architecture.

St. Peter and Paul's Church was designed by Edward Welby Pugin whose father, Augustus Pugin, was responsible for reviving the Gothic style in architecture. Uncharacteristic to Gothic architecture, however, this church lacks a spire, due to insufficient funds and for fear that the structure would fail to support its weight.

Though the church impresses on the outside, the true beauty of the design and structure is found on the inside. With pillars of red marble and strong wood framework, the interiors are surely worth admiring. A few special mentions go to the high-raised altar designed by Ashlin, the intricately carved Russian oak pulpit and the stained glass windows that give the church an artistic feel and make the entire experience worth remembering.

Why You Should Visit:
The attention to detail in the architecture is exquisite.
Lots to see and lots of photo opportunities.

Tip:
Free to visit or leave a donation.
11
St. Patrick's Street

11) St. Patrick's Street

St. Patrick's Street, the main street of the city which was remodelled in the mid-2000s, is known for the architecture of the buildings along its pedestrian-friendly route and is the main shopping thoroughfare. It is dominated at its north end by the landmark statue of Father Mathew. Cork's main shopping street is the most expensive street in the country per sq. metre after Dublin's Grafton Street. Since its redevelopment in 2004, it has twice won the award as Ireland's best shopping street. St Patrick's Street is colloquially known to some locals as "Pana".
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Father Mathew Statue

12) Father Mathew Statue

The Knights of Father Mathew was a Catholic temperance society that originated in Ireland and promoted complete abstinence from intoxicating liquors. It was founded in Cork in 1838 by Theobald Mathew, a Capuchin friar – generally known as Father Mathew. Under his influence, branches the organization spread throughout Ireland, though it was badly disrupted by the Great Irish Famine. A biography, written shortly after his death, credits Mathew's work with a reduction in Irish crime figures of the era. The landmark statue of Father Mathew is located at north end of St. Patrick's Street.
Sight description based on wikipedia
13
Shandon District

13) Shandon District

Shandon (meaning "the old fort") is a district in Cork city noted for The Bells of Shandon, a song celebrating the bells of the Church of St Anne written by Francis Sylvester Mahony under the pen name of "Father Prout". Shandon was one of 28 settlements in and around ancient Cork and a medieval church dedicated to St. Mary was built on the site. Although not part of the original Hiberno-Norse settlement of Cork, Shandon is one of the more historic districts of the city, avoiding the fires and floods experienced by the newer developments and older parts of the city. Religious buildings in the area include the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne , the Church of St Anne and Saint Mary's Church. Other landmarks in the area include the Firkin Crane (a theatre and dance venue), Cork Butter Museum, the Shandon Craft Centre, and Skiddy's Almshouse.
Shandon Street Festival is an annual event which takes place during the summer.
Sight description based on wikipedia
14
Cork Butter Museum

14) Cork Butter Museum (must see)

The Cork Butter Museum is situated in the city's historic Shandon area and is one of a kind in a sense that it documents one of the country's greatest success stories, the butter trade. Dairy culture has always played an important role in the economy of the Island of Saints and Scholars. The Museum tells about the prominent in the 19th century Butter Exchange in Cork, the traditional craft of domestic butter making and today's popularity of the Kerrygold brand. The exposition also touches upon the commercial, social, and domestic aspects of life in Ireland.

Why You Should Visit:
A different take on Irish history and plenty to learn about butter-making processes.
This is the place to be if you like butter and its history in Ireland.

Tip:
Check with the museum beforehand for a live butter-making demonstration!

Opening hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
15
St. Anne's Church in Shandon

15) St. Anne's Church in Shandon (must see)

The Church of St. Anne is located in the Shandon district of Cork city in Ireland, atop a hill overlooking the River Lee. The name Shandon comes from the Irish, Sean Dun, and means Old Fort. Shandon was one of 28 settlements in and around ancient Cork.

The church is famous for its 8 bells due to the famous song 'The Bells of Shandon' by Francis Sylvester Mahony (each bell weighs 6 tons and were created by Rudhall of Gloucester). It is built with two types of stone, red sandstone from the original Shandon castle which stood nearby and limestone taken from the derelict Franciscan Abbey which stood on the North Mall.

As you approach Shandon you will see red and white colored stones from all directions, and such is the affection that the citizens of Cork hold for Shandon that they designated both colors to represent the City.

Why You Should Visit:
The place to go for a great 360 view of the city.
Plus, you can have a nice walk through the emblematic neighborhood of Shandon.

Tip:
Once you make it to the top you may get the chance to ring the bells!
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Cork, Ireland

Create Your Own Walk in Cork

Create Your Own Walk in Cork

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cork is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Walking Tour of Grand Parade Street in Cork

Walking Tour of Grand Parade Street in Cork

Grand Parade Street is one of the most famous and widest streets in Cork. The west side of Grand Parade is the old city wall built by Cork's earliest residents. In recent years the street has undergone major reconstruction, but its main attractions have stayed almost unchanged. Check this guide to the Grand Parade places worth visiting.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 km
Cork Pubs and Bars Tour

Cork Pubs and Bars Tour

Being the second largest city in Ireland, Cork is a cultural hub that offers guests a diverse selection of pubs and bars to let off some steam. On this tour you will find cozy traditional style pubs filled with friendly locals having a roaring good time, live rock and blues and cheap beer, a bar dedicated to the band Thin Lizzy, and much more. Be sure to absorb the rich culture of Cork when taking...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Cork Galleries and Museums Tour

Cork Galleries and Museums Tour

As one of the biggest cities in modern Ireland, Cork has gained much cultural diversity in recent years. You can see some of the fruits of this diversity at some of the city’s top art galleries, and learn about Cork’s rich heritage at several fascinating museums. Take our tour to get a cultural overview of the city of Cork, both past and present.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Christian Sights in Cork

Christian Sights in Cork

The "Rebel City" of Cork is most famous for its religious landmarks, a great combination of history and architecture. The local churches where built mainly in the 17th-18th centuries. In the center of the city you can find one of the best-known churches in Ireland. Grab the opportunity to tour the famous churches of Cork City.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Cork's West Side

Cork's West Side

The west side of Cork is considered the most ecological part of the city. Along the Lee river, you'll find some of the most important landmarks of the city, including the Cork Public Museum, Fitzgerald Park, Cork City Gaol, and University College Cork. It's also a quiet area where you can enjoy a walk.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Walking Down the Eastern Part of Cork Tour

Walking Down the Eastern Part of Cork Tour

The Eastern Part of Cork City is characterized by a mixture of old and new. Cork is the city that aims to evolve continuously while retaining its traditions. The upper side of of the city is a quiet sleeping area that wakes up only around the St. Patrick's Day. Walking down south you will notice the picture change to a more contemporary look. The suggested tour is to help you explore the East...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km