Nestled in the south of Ireland, Cork is the Emerald Isle’s second largest city and was the European Capital of Culture in 2005, so you won’t be short of fantastic things to see and do during holidays in Cork.

As with Ireland’s other busting cities, Cork boasts an abundance of history and culture to explore. Start with a visit to Cork City Gaol, a restored 19th century prison that offers tours by day and, for the brave, by night too.

Perched on the banks of the River Lee, Blackrock Castle Observatory was constructed in the 16th century as a defensive structure, but today is home to an observatory and visitor centre.

The imposing and architecturally stunning Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral is worth a visit, along with the neighbouring 17th century Elizabeth Fort, while for something a little different, the quaint Butter Museum explores the history of Irish butter and its importance to Cork in particular.

Head out of the city itself to take a trip to Blarney Castle and Gardens, where you can earn the ‘gift of the gab’ by planting a kiss on the famed Blarney Stone, or you can take time to visit Spike Island, home to Fort Michael and Punishment Prison – are there any other types?

Back in the heart of Cork, Oliver Plunkett Street is the lively centre of the city, where you can shop ‘til you drop, then enjoy a well-earned Guinness or tuck into some boxty in a local restaurant.

On the flip side, peace and tranquillity can be enjoyed at the beautiful Fitzgerald Park, sprawling along the banks of the River Lee. From here, you can also walk across the aptly named ‘Shakey Bridge’ or wander round Cork Public Museum.

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