Cork city centre sits on an island, and a maze of one-way streets and bridges can be confusing for first time visitors. A hop-on, hop-off bus tour is an excellent way to acquaint yourself with the city, as you get your bearings during the tour, look out for the city’s notable eateries for future use. Many of Cork’s restaurants offer good deals, at least compared to their Dublin counterparts, and many provide truly fine meals.
Some initial observations on Cork:
- Cork has a different ambiance compared to other Irish cities, and the atmosphere has been compared to port cities in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
- One advantage of taking a hop-on, hop-off tour is being able to sit down. That may not sound like much, but the city centre doesn’t have a lot of benches and if you’re doing a lot of sightseeing you’ll welcome the chance to rest your feet.
- If you can’t understand one of the pedestrian signposts, look on the other side as they’re written in Irish on one side and in English on the other. It’s a bit of a nuisance, as you may sometimes have to cross the road to read a sign.
- Cork, like other cities in Ireland, is a ‘low city’. Most buildings are five stories or less and this adds to Cork’s unique visual appeal
Try to find a street map rather than wander aimlessly in a tourist office or from a hotel concierge, again, a bus tour will help you get your bearings. If you’re looking for accommodation, the tourist office can make bookings on your behalf. The Paddy’s Palace hostel in Cork is located next to the famous Shandon Bells, and offers ideal accommodation for someone looking to enjoy the best of the city on a budget.
Like most Irish cities, Cork was never built with cars in mind, and as such you’ll find narrow streets and turns at almost 45 degrees in the hills, another reason to avoid driving around the city and taking a bus tour which tackles these roads so you don’t have to.
Cork is known among those who live there as the real capital of Ireland and this charming city will delight and enthral you during your stay. From the exotic delights of the renowned English Market to the Gothic wings of Cork Gaol, the city has something to appeal to everyone.