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Steeped in history, Ireland's second city is fast gaining a reputation as one of Europe's hippest. Built on islands in the River Lee, the many bridges give the city a continental feel which sites elegantly with the Georgian grandeur of its successful past.

Insider Tip

Climb to the top of St Anne's Church for an amazing 360 degree view of the city. You can even have a go at ringing the Shandon Bells yourself. Sample the charm and flavour of life, arm yourself with a guidebook and take the signposted walking tour of the city.

At one time the largest butter market in the world, Co Cork is still famous for its dairy produce, with local cheeses winning many awards. The area is seeing a growth in artisan food producers, from Cork's famous pastries to handmade chocolates.

Eating out is a favourite pastime and you'll find everything from hearty pub food offering traditional Irish stew and steak and Murphy's pie (you are in Cork now!) to restaurants serving both Irish and International culinary delights.

Patrick Street is the main shopping area and home to Brown Thomas, the oldest department store in the city as well as the major high street stores. For something different try the French Quarter for interesting book shops, small boutiques specialising in Irish crafts and antiques.

Cornmarket Street houses the Coal Quay market - great for second hand goods and antiques.

Must See

Old Midleton Distillery

Visit the world's largest Pot still holding 32,000 gallons of whiskey.

Cork City Gaol

Experience the sights, sounds and smell of life on the wrong side of the law during the 19th century.

Crawford Municipal Art Gallery

An elegant former customs house built in 1724, now home to one of Ireland's finest public art collections outside of Dublin.

St Finbarrel's Cathedral

It's three spires are one of Cork's main landmarks whilst the interior lives up to the beautiful exterior.

Day trip to Cobh

Visit the idyllic seaside town of Cobh and learn about its fascinating links with Irish emigration and the famous ships that visited its port - including the Titanic. All this with a magnificent Cathedral dominating views of the town.

Must Do

Explore the English Market, a covered food market dating from the early 17th century that specialises in tempting local produce such as smoked salmon and ballycotton potatoes.

A visit to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone is a must for all visitors to Cork.

To enjoy a peaceful day away from the bustling city take a train direct to Fota House and Gardens or visit the Fota WIldlife Park...

Take a trip out to West Cork to experience some fantastic whale & dolphin watching on the Irish Coast. Whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds are often spotted on this coastline of outstanding natural beauty.