A visit to Ireland would not be complete without going to Cork. The city kept me mesmerised with its beautiful beaches and scenery. It is something which I would treasure my whole life.
Even author John Fitzgerald in describing Cork once wrote “I have sought to discover a haven of rest, where the sun sinks by night in the land of the West”. Certainly, it is the perfect place to spend your time off after working hard the whole week or month.
Several days there has left me revitalised. The city is also a natural port. At just an hour’s flight from Heathrow, I was able to admire the spectacular coastal line on board the plane.
Like most European cities, Cork enjoys the four seasons. Its winter is however mild due to its closeness to the Irish Sea. Hence, winter is moderate unlike any other place.
The city derives its name from the Irish phrase `Corcach Mor Mumhan’ meaning ‘Great Marsh of Munster’. Beautiful trees decorated the landscape and with more than 20 bridges it makes an evening stroll enjoyable and fun.
From outdoor cafe’s to lovely boulevards
Cork is also a fabulous place to dine with its outdoor cafes and lovely boulevards. It is also a haven for shopping and there is little wonder why the city was chosen to host the European Capital of Culture in 2007.
Gifted with beautiful beaches and coves, in fact nine of them, the locals and tourists throng there to unwind and relax while admiring the Irish Sea and breeze. Most of the beaches in the city have acquired world class standards with its ample parking space, amenities, cleanliness and environmental management.
As with most European cities, Cork also has several prominent art galleries and museums to display local art work and its collection. They include the Crawford Art Gallery on Emmet Place which houses a collection of local works by James Scanlon, sculptor Seamus Murphy and James Barry.
A recent addition is the Lewis Glucksman Gallery that features an award winning architecture of timber and steel, hosting various contemporary art exhibitions, and films.
If you are a shopaholic like me then you can go to St Patrick’s Street and Oliver Plunket Street where you will be spoilt for choice. Visitors in Cork may be surprised to know there is a plastic tax imposed as part of the environmental protection initiative adopted by the local council.
Having a fun time
Like any Irish cities, Cork is well known for its pubs and bars, offering good food and beverages which formed a part of the culture of the locals there. Offering seafood, stout brewery and `drisheen’ , tourists are certainly spoilt for choice.
You can also take a boat ride to Kinsale where you can view some of the most expensive yachts. This locality also boasts several well known restaurants. It is not known as the `Culinary Capital of Ireland’ for nothing.
The month of October seems to be the busiest month in Cork as there are festivals galore to feast your eyes, ears and mouth on . There is the Cork’s Film festival, the annual jazz festival and the International Gourmet Festival.
The Blarney castle estate is another popular place where it is reputed that those who kiss the famous Blarney Stone will receive the gift of eloquence. Other places include Charles Fort Kinsale, Cobh Heritage Centre, Cork City Gaol, the city’s vision centre, Desmond Castle, the Donerale Wildlife Park, the Fota Wildlife Park, and the Michael Collins Centre, a facility dedicated to the freedom fighter.
There are many places to go where you will certainly be spoilt for choice. Cork is certainly a wonderful place to relax and unwind.