The city of Cork (from the Gaelic Corcaigh meaning “Marshy Place”) is a friendly walkable city with two river channels, two cathedrals and an unselfconscious open attitude to life and visitors alike. The sing song accent much imitated is a lively manifestation of the wit and humour of its citizens. The English Market on Grand Parade is a food lovers paradise where the bargain food stalls long beloved of those on a budget exist pigs cheek by jowl with specialist food shops from France, Italy and further afield. If a particular ingredient can’t be found here it doesn’t exist!
St. Finbarre’s Cathedral dominates the skyline towards the west of the city centre and this Gothic revival masterpiece completed in 1879 is on the site of an earlier medieval building. Other municipal buildings of note include the Courthouse, City Hall, Crawford Art Gallery, St. Anne’s Shandon (known locally as Shandon Steeple), the Firkin Crane Building and University College Cork. The hills on the north side of the city give much of the character to the city and in the suburb of Sunday’s Well there is the old City Gaol dating from 1824, well worth a visit for an insight into the sometimes turbulent past of the city.
The central shopping area, recently enlarged with new developments is enough to exhaust all but the most determined of bargain hunters but the proliferation of bars, cafes and restaurants throughout the city especially in the Huguenot quarter mean that refreshment and sustenance are on hand at all times. A thriving arts scene in Cork means that you are never far from the next festival of music, theatre, dance, choral singing, jazz or film – the Midsummer Arts festival in particular seems to combine just about all facets of modern culture and is worth a special visit in June (12th – 27th June 2010) but the twin delights of the Film and Jazz festivals each October rival it for size and variety.