Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Travel Report: Cork, Ireland

We spent half the trip in Dublin (which you can read about here) and the other half in Cork. Cork considers itself the true capital of Ireland for reasons... that aren't clear. I think they just like the rivalry. The really nice thing about Cork is that it's not a big international city, it feels like a place where people live and we found it very friendly and approachable. (Dublin is also a friendly place, the Irish are just lovely people, but its bigger and more anonymous.) 


Elbow Lane - We came for drinks and immediately made a reservation for dinner later that week. Definitely the best meal we had in Cork and the nicest staff! The Old-Fashioned cocktail was out of this world. 

Son of a Bun - A fun burger place with amazing monthly specials and art posters to go with them. We ate here more than once.

The Spitjack - We had Sunday lunch here and it was delicious start to finish. It was medium-fancy and a bit traditional (think Sunday roast) which was fun. 

Museums and sites: 

Elizabeth Fort - We stumbled across this fort right in the middle of the city and wandered in. They had a museum section that really went into a lot of the women's history, as the fort was used as a convict depot for deportation to the prison colonies in Australia. (Read: a lot of poor women were sent to Australia for incredibly minor offenses. Great.)

Shandon Bells & Tower, Saint Ann's Church - This was something! For a small fee you can climb the incredibly not-to-code bell tower and after 132 steps up multiple narrow stairways and a tiny ladder (!) you pop out into an open balcony right at the top. It's an amazing view and totally worth it. (Usually you can also ring the bells but Covid ruins everything.) 

The Butter Museum - This little museum was basically a propaganda tool for the superiority of Irish butter (I'm already in! You got me, Irish butter!) but we enjoyed it quite a bit. I do think they missed an opportunity by not having a gift shop because I would've bought All The Things at a butter-themed gift shop. Just saying. PS. It made Accidentally Wes Anderson, which pleases me greatly.

Further Afield:

We took the train to Cork, which is my favorite way to travel, and from the minute we arrived we had locals telling us to immediately leave the city and go visit other places in Cork County. Like, this place is fine and all but you MUST go to Kinsale and don't miss Cobh!

So, we did! We took the bus to the historic port town of Kinsale and walked a few miles up to Charles Fort which was fucking magical. I mean. It was free to walk around and we spent and hour or so just exploring and admiring the view. Afterwards we had lunch at the Spaniard and then walked back to town and did some shopping. Kinsale is just a charming little town with rambling, narrow streets and brightly painted houses. I loved it. 

Cobh, another port town full of history, was also an easy day trip by bus and it was a lot of fun (though definitely not quite as charming as Kinsale.) It was the site of the last stop the Titanic made so we did the Titanic Experience which was much better than I was expecting it to be. You're assigned a ticket as a passenger (we were both in 3rd class) and then you do a led tour that explained what the passengers experienced as they boarded, the level of grandeur that even the steerage passengers received and then, boom crash. You find out if your person lived or died. (We survived!) We also visited St. Colman's Cathedral which dominates the town and is pretty spectacular. 

This is just a sample of what we did, saw and ate in Cork. I will say that it would've been hard to fill a week there without the side trips, so if you go, definitely don't miss Kinsale and Cobh. Both are less than an hour away by bus and we got to see a lot more of the county that way. Thanks for reading my travelogue! 


  1. Thank you for sharing your pics and experiences. I've never been, but Ireland sounds charming. Glad you had fun!

  2. Looks like a lot of fun. Lovely photos and descriptions, thanks for sharing your trip. Sounds like Irish hospitality is on point.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful, wonderful trip! I am totally jealous of your visit to the butter museum.