3 days is more than enough to enjoy some of the things Cork and its surroundings have to offer. Here are some ideas on how to make the most of your long weekend here in Cork.
Elizabeth Fort is an early Seventeenth-century star-shaped fort in Cork City. This fort is steeped in history and the walls of the fort offer a fantastic view of the city below.
Originally built in 1601 during the reign of Elizabeth I, it was used as an army base for the protection of the city. It was demolished by the citizens of Cork in 1603 but they were compelled to rebuild it at their own expense.
It was replaced in 1624 by a stronger fort which had the same basic outline as that which survives today. It was used again in 1690 by Williamite forces to shell the city and a cannonball fired from the Fort at the old tower of St. Fin Barr’s was found during the 19th century rebuilding of the Cathedral and can be seen hanging in the new Cathedral.
In 1719, Elizabeth Fort became a British military barracks and housed approximately seven hundred men.
It was a Garda Station (Irish police force) until very recently, and to this day remains one of Cork’s most historic gems.
Having never been excavated, Elizabeth Fort has a wealth of stories waiting to be discovered and to be told.
The pretty fishing village of Ballycotton, at about a 40-minute drive from Cork, is a favorite escape for its beaches and seafood restaurants. It’s also a popular destination thanks to the beautiful Ballycotton Cliff Walk.
This awesome five-mile trail travels along the cliff top track from Ballycotton village to Ballyandreen beach, offering spectacular views along the way. The journey of around five hours, takes you between rolling meadows of the East Cork countryside and the cliffs with beaches below.
The Ballycotton lighthouse is also definitely worth a visit. Look forward to an exhilarating journey from the harbor to the island. Walk the original light-keepers path to the island’s summit.
Explore the lighthouse and enjoy stunning views from the bright red lantern balcony.
FOTA WILDLIFE PARK
A few kilometers’ drive east of Cork City, the 70-acre wildlife park is home to animals that are free to roam in their natural environment; where visitors can observe and interact with them. You may be joined at your picnic table by ring-tailed lemurs and giraffes.
Fota Wildlife Park’s vision is to inspire people to understand and conserve the biodiversity of our natural world.
The Park has made considerable investment in the past 10 years upgrading its infrastructure including an indoor Giraffe viewing area, the Madagascan Village and the Asian Sanctuary which opened in 2015 and features Asian lions, Sumatran tigers, and Indian Rhino.
Unlike many safari parks, Fota is not a drive-through experience; at least half a day should be put aside for a visit.
FRANCISCAN WELL BREWERY
The Franciscan Well Brewery was founded in 1998 and combines modern technology with age-old traditions to create classic and experimental brews.
The Franciscan Well has now also opened Cork’s first Brewhouse Cocktail bar, their expert brewers create new craft cocktails that go against the norm of the traditional ones.
Widely known by locals and tourists alike, the Franciscan Well Brewpub, based in the heart of Cork city, has a deep- rooted passion for brewing and distilling.
Within ‘The Well’, as known by friends, a large outdoor space is surrounded by the walls of the old Franciscan monastery, the unique atmosphere is derived from a mix of the enthusiasm and creative nature of the brewers and the diverse crowd made up of patrons and craft beer lovers.
CORK CITY GAOL
A mixture of grand Gothic and classical architecture, Cork City Gaol looks more like a castle than a penitentiary. But don’t be fooled – these elegant walls have enclosed some of the most battle-hardened veterans of armed struggle.
A step back in time to see what 19th and early 20th century life was like-inside and outside prison walls. Historical experience brought to life with lifelike figures, furnished cells, sound effects & exhibitions.
This was chiefly a women’s prison, where many republican women were held during the War of Independence. Take a tour through the gloomy cells and corridors to be transported back to those tough and turbulent times.
We are clear about the places we are going to visit this weekend, are you?