Cork's Religious Landmarks Walking Tour (Self Guided), 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.
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Cork's Religious Landmarks Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Cork's Religious Landmarks Walking Tour
Guide Location: Ireland » Cork (See other walking tours in Cork)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: naomi
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St. Anne's Church in Shandon
  • St. Mary's Dominican Church
  • St. Peter and Paul's Church
  • Unitarian Church
  • Holy Trinity Church
  • South Presentation Convent
  • Church of Christ the King
St. Anne's Church in Shandon

1) 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.

Once you make it to the top you may get the chance to ring the bells!
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Mary's Dominican Church

2) St. Mary's Dominican Church

This church was dedicated in 1839 and had the portico added in 1861. The architect, Kearns Deane, delivered the project free of charge, even though he himself wasn't a Catholic. This fine piece of architecture has six fluted Ionic columns supporting a pediment surmounted by statue of Our Lady, created by James Cahill from Dublin. The building is constructed mostly of white limestone. The interior features sixteen fluted pillars along the nave and sanctuary. There are also four red 3.5 metre pillars of polished Aberdeen granite. The altar is adorned with a 14th century statue of Our Lady of the Graces which reportedly has miraculous powers. This fairly small statue originated in northern France and is said to have arrived in Ireland in the 15th century, floating in a log into Youghal harbour, where it remained until was taken to St Mary's.
St. Peter and Paul's Church

3) 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.

Free to visit or leave a donation.
Unitarian Church

4) Unitarian Church

Opened as far back as the early eighteenth century, this church is the oldest on record place of worship in Cork. Pre-dating the church in the middle ages was a meeting house that stood at Watergate Lane and had to be replaced for being too small for the growing congregation. The new church found place in the newly built streets of the expanding city. Its layout and design contrast the modern churches of the Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian traditions of Cork. The interior is virtually a square auditory, with congregation seats placed along three sides on ground and gallery levels, so as to enable the congregation to hear and see the preacher or clergyman at a closer distance than it usually is at a regular church service. The building remains an important part of social and architectural heritage of Cork.
Holy Trinity Church

5) Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity is a Regency Gothic-style church, built in 1832. In 1889 it had an addition of Gothic-Revival portico, followed by a memorial chapel in 1906. Topping the building is a slate hinged roof, with copper roof vent to ridge and stone spire. The limestone exterior shows buttresses, carved pinnacles, and Gothic arched windows with curvilinear cusped tracery and hood mouldings, plus a four-centred arched doorway. Hood moulding are also found on corbels with carved masks. Twinned doors with overpanels have quatrefoil glazed panels and three stained glass panels in east wall, created by Harry Clarke studios. Glazing on other windows is plain and coloured with undulating lead rods, and appeared around 1960. Surrounding the church is low limestone wall with iron railings and gates. At the back is a car park. With its prominent quay-side location, the church dominates the neighbourhood and adds elegance to the city centre.
South Presentation Convent

6) South Presentation Convent

The South Presentation Convent is framed between Abbey St., Douglas St., Evergreen St. and Nicholas St. The site is truly historic in a sense that here Nano Nagle opened her schools for educating the poor in the late 18th century. Her grave is found behind the chapel in the Nun’s graveyard. The oldest building on the site dates back to 1771. Rather modest in appearance, yet much extended, it was built by Nano Nagle for the Ursuline order. It stands in the middle of the present convent, and features a number of original spaces, including Nano Nagle’s Parlour on the ground floor and the former chapel above. The Heritage Room, surveying the garden, is part of a structure built in 1780 for the Ursulines; it has various artefacts and memorabilia on display.
Church of Christ the King

7) Church of Christ the King (must see)

With its towering presence and handsome architecture, the Church of Christ the King is sure to mesmerize you at Turners Cross, Cork.

Known as one of the most contemporary designed churches of modern-day Ireland, this is a must visit in Cork. The magnificent piece of architectural brilliance was designed by Barry Byrne, a Chicago-based architect. Quite monumental in its own right, as it is the first church in Ireland to be designed by a foreigner and the first to be built with concrete instead of traditional brick. The church was commissioned in 1927 by the Bishop of Cork, Rev. Daniel Cohalan and was built as the solution to the growing population and expansion of the South Parish.

The most stunning feature of the church is that despite its mammoth structure the interiors have no columns or support of any kind. This is specially designed so that the audience gets an uninterrupted view of the altar from any direction, making the Church of Christ the King the largest suspended ceiling in Europe.

Why You Should Visit:
Very much worth seeing for anyone with an interest in contemporary architecture; this modern church is rather unique and tastefully decorated.
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.
Western Cork Walking Tour

Western Cork Walking Tour

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: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Cork Heritage Pub Trail

Cork Heritage Pub Trail

A truly fun way to explore the city, the Cork Heritage Pub Trail takes you on a journey through time while enjoying great pints of Irish ale and hardy pub food. The city of Cork has a long history, and some of this history can be found in its modern pubs. From an old pharmacy to a former gentleman’s club, modern establishments make good use of the antiquated architecture and each pub included on...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
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: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Grand Parade Street Walking Tour

Grand Parade Street Walking Tour

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 or 0.2 Miles
Eastern Cork Walking Tour

Eastern Cork Walking 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 or 0.8 Miles
Cork Pubs and Bars Walking Tour

Cork Pubs and Bars Walking 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: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles