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How to Spend One Day in Cork, Ireland - Travel Itinerary

How to Spend One Day in Cork Ireland Travel Itinerary

Welcome to Cork, Ireland! As the 2nd largest city in the Republic of Ireland, Cork is brimming with history, culture, and an undeniable charm making it a must-visit on your Ireland adventures! We had the pleasure of spending one day exploring this captivating city doing our best to uncover the best sights, tastes, and experiences along the way! From strolling along the River Lee to savoring delectable culinary delights at the historic English Market to immersing yourself in the city's rich heritage at Blarney Castle and so much more, this itinerary promises an unforgettable day in one of Ireland's most vibrant and welcoming cities! We hope that this guide helps you make the most of your time in Cork, and if it does, please consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel content!

Watch our “One Day in Cork” travel vlog for a closer look at our time in this charming city!


⬇️ Best Cork Tours & Experiences ⬇️ 


⬇️ Where to stay in Cork ⬇️

⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Metropole Hotel (WHERE WE STAYED 10/10 RECOMMEND)

⭐⭐⭐⭐ The River Lee Hotel

⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Dean Cork

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Hayfield Manor

Or use the search tool below to find the perfect accommodations for you!


8:30am: Quick Coffee/Breakfast to get you going

If you chose to stay at The Metropole Hotel like we did, then you won’t even need to leave property for a fantastic breakfast, but if you are staying somewhere else or just want to venture out to see what the city has to offer, here are a handful of places that came highly recommended:

  • Three Fools Coffee (Grand Parade, Centre)

  • SOMA Coffee Company (23 Tuckey St, Centre)

  • Cork Coffee Roasters (2 Bridge St, Victorian Quarter)

  • Cafe Depeche (19 Lancaster Quay, Mardyke)

  • Alchemy Coffee and Bookstore (123 Barrack St, The Lough)

9:30am: Visit the Blarney Castle & Gardens and kiss the Blarney Stone! (Location: 51.9291° N, 8.5709° W)

Situated just 5 miles (8km) from the city center, Blarney Castle is a medieval fortress steeped in history and folklore. Constructed in 1446 by Cormac MacCarthy, a Gaelic chieftain, the castle stands as a testament to Ireland's rich past. And while the castle and gardens are enough reason to pay this sight a visit, it’s the Blarney Stone that sets this castle apart from the rest. Set in the battlements of the castle, the Blarney Stone is said to give the gift of eloquence or "the gift of gab" to all those who kiss it. We both kissed the stone and have nothing to show for it (other than great memories), so you be the judge of whether this legend is fact or cap! Regardless of the legitimacy of this folk tale, the stunning panoramic views from above make a climb to the top of the castle more than worth the effort! Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to partake in the time-honored tradition of kissing the fabled Blarney Stone. 

*For the most up to date info on pricing and hours, check the Blarney Castle website.

Blarney Castle; Blarney Stone; Blarney Gardens

1:30pm: Lunch at Farmgate Café (Location: 51.8977° N, 8.4739° W)

I always like to provide multiple options for meals when putting together these itineraries, but to be honest, I think you would be missing out if you didn’t go to Farmgate Café during your visit. So, while I will still offer some other suggestions, Farmgate Café should be your top choice if at all possible! 

Farmgate Café is a charming café located on the mezzanine floor of the English Market (Cork's iconic food emporium) with a foundation laid upon a commitment to showcasing locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, fostering a deep connection with regional farmers and producers. Over the years, Farmgate has evolved into a renowned destination, offering beloved traditional Irish dishes infused with contemporary flair. Its enduring popularity is owed not only to the culinary excellence but also to the warm hospitality and dedication to preserving Cork's gastronomic traditions. The café's rustic charm, coupled with its commitment to sustainable practices and support for local suppliers makes it a must-visit place when eating out in Cork!

Other Recommendations:

  • The SpitJack (Brasserie - 34 Washington St, Centre)

  • Jackie Lennox Chipper (Fish & Chips - 137 Bandon Rd, The Lough)

  • O’Flynn’s (Gourmet Sausage - 14 Winthrop St, Centre)

Farmgate Cafe in Cork

2:45pm: Explore the heart of Cork’s culinary scene at the English Market!

Established in 1788, the English Market has stood as a centerpiece of Cork's cultural and culinary heritage for over two centuries. Throughout its history, the English Market has weathered various challenges, including fires and economic fluctuations, yet it has consistently remained a vital hub for locals and visitors alike. The market's distinctive red-brick exterior and its interior, adorned with high ceilings and rows of stalls brimming with artisanal produce, fresh seafood, cheeses, meats, baked goods, and international delicacies, offer a feast for the senses. Over time, the English Market has evolved into more than just a marketplace; it's a symbol of Cork's resilience and a testament to the city's passion for quality, locally sourced food. Today, it stands as a must-visit destination, celebrated for its authenticity, diversity, and the unique blend of modernity and tradition that continues to attract visitors from across the globe.

Notable Stops within the market:

  • The Alternative Bread Company (ABC)

  • Heaven’s Cakes

  • The Sandwich Stall

  • O’Flynn’s (Gourmet sausage)

  • On the Pig’s Back

  • The Real Olive Co.

  • Start-Up Stall

The English Market in Cork

4:30pm: Tour Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral (Location: 51.8943° N, 8.4808° W)

The cathedral's origins trace back to the 7th century when a monastery was founded by St. Fin Barre, the patron saint of Cork. However, the present cathedral owes its existence to a later era. Construction of the current cathedral began in 1865 resulting in the magnificent structure that stands today. The cathedral's completion took over a decade, finally consecrated in 1870, although ongoing additions and embellishments continued for years. Now, more than 150 years after completions, Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral remains a cherished landmark, not only for its architectural magnificence but also for its significance as a place of worship and cultural importance, drawing visitors and worshippers alike to admire its beauty and delve into the history and spirituality it embodies.

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork

5:30pm: Explore City Center

Cork City is a vibrant and historic hub renowned for its rich culture, lively atmosphere, and stunning architecture. This charming city boasts a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, so take some time to roam around and soak in as much of the city’s culture as possible!

Notable sights and things to do:

  • Visit Cork City Gaol: A fascinating museum housed within a former prison, providing insight into Cork's penal history through immersive exhibits and guided tours.

  • Walk along the River Lee: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the banks of the River Lee, passing picturesque bridges, charming cafes, and scenic views.

  • Crawford Art Gallery: Discover a diverse collection of Irish and international art, including paintings, sculptures, and exhibitions that span various periods and styles.

  • Shandon Church: Climb the iconic Shandon Bells tower for panoramic views of the city and ring the bells!

  • Fitzgerald Park and Cork Public Museum: Relax in this beautiful park, home to the Cork Public Museum, which showcases the city's history and culture through fascinating displays and artifacts.

  • Shop & Stroll St. Patrick's Street: Take a stroll on this popular street humming with activity as locals and tourists alike peruse the wide array of goods, from high-street fashion to unique handmade crafts and local products.

  • Saints Peter and Paul's Roman Catholic Church: Constructed in the mid-19th century, this awe-inspiring church boasts a stunning façade adorned with intricate Gothic-style details. Its towering spires and grand entrance draw the attention of passersby and invite all to explore its sacred interior.

Cork City Ireland

8:00pm: Drinks/Food/Live Music

Again, if you chose to stay at The Metropole Hotel like we did, then the MET Bar & Restaurant (located adjacent to the hotel lobby) is the perfect spot to get your night started with some excellent cocktails and small plates. And even if you didn’t stay at The Metropole, the MET is worth a visit. Once you’ve finished there, you can head out on the town and explore some more traditional Irish bars and pubs. Here are some that we recommend:

  • The Oliver Plunkett (116 Oliver Plunkett St, Centre)

  • Rearden’s Bar (26 Washington St, Centre)

  • Sin é (8 Coburg St, Victorian Quarter)

  • Coughlan’s Bar (7 Douglas St, Ballintemple)

  • Franciscan Well Brewery & Brewpub (14 N Mall, Sunday's Well)

  • The Corner House (7 Coburg St, Victorian Quarter)

  • Rising Sons Brewery (Cornmarket St, Centre)

The Metropole Hotel in Cork


We hope that this guide has helped you make the most of your time in Cork, and if it has, we hope you’ll consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel content!

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