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Crawford Art Gallery

This impressive former custom house today houses almost 4,000 works, including many by former students of the Cork School of Art. Take an afternoon to explore paintings by acclaimed Irish artists Jack B. Yeats, William Gerard Barry and James Brennan – the former headmaster of the school. Contemporary art fans have plenty to look forward to, such as printmaker Noelle Noonan and potter John ffrench. The high-ceilinged café serves a mean breakfast, so pull up a chair and admire the revolving art on the walls.

The English Market

A market worthy of a Queen? Elizabeth II visited in 2011, posing with the fishmongers and butchers who have traded in The English Market for generations. A. A. Gill called it: “The best covered market I’ve come across south of Scandinavia and west of France.” A trip to Cork without a stroll through this food market’s hallowed halls is not worth the airfare. Try – and fail – to do just that without sampling Gubeen cheese from On The Pig’s Back, juicy dolmas from The Real Olive Co. or cognac truffles from The Chocolate Shop. The Farmgate Café upstairs (which brought Gill here in the first place) is a Cork institution, so save room.

Lewis Glucksman Gallery

Perched on the banks of the river in a peaceful corner of the University College Cork campus, the building itself is a much a piece of art as the works it houses. Designed by the award-winning O’Donnell + Tuomey architects, this contemporary visual art gallery has been named the Best Public Building in Ireland, amongst other accolades. Exhibitions focus on contemporary Irish artists, contain unexpected themes and are expertly curated. The pop-up café downstairs serves great coffee and a menu that is nearly as interesting as its art.

Fitzgerald Park

No visit to the Emerald Isle is complete without a bit of greenery. Stroll 10 minutes out of the city to one of Cork’s largest and prettiest parks with 18 acres of landscaped gardens, flowers, ponds and tree-lined walkways. Walk along the riverside, cross the “shaky bridge” and check out the many sculptures dotted around this peaceful haven before exploring the Cork Museum and its small but impressive collection of artefacts.

Triskel Arts Centre

A refurbished 1700s neoclassical church slap bang in the middle of town is an wonderful choice for a renowned cinema, visual arts centre and live-music venue. Impressive acoustics and in-built atmosphere attract local and international acts weekly. A minimalist café and wine bar has glass doors opening out onto Tobin Street and is a perfect daytime spot if the weather is dry. Plan a visit around one of its many writing workshops or during the Cork World Book Festival each April.

Currach Rowing

It would be tough to find a more authentic Irish activity than currach rowing. These wooden-framed traditional boats can be rowed down the River Lee from Naomhóga Chorcaí rowing club. For a small fee, even the most inexperienced seafarers can be taken for a trip, soak up the city from the water and learn some Irish history on along the way.

Cork Opera House

First built elsewhere in the city, the Opera House has existed on its current site at Emmet Place since the 1800s. The bar has floor-to-ceiling windows and is worth a visit for the view alone. It’s home to one of Ireland’s largest stages and is the only purpose-built opera house in the country, playing host to internationally acclaimed acts, comedy, theatre and, of course, opera. The bar has floor-to-ceiling windows and is worth a visit for the view alone.

Cork City Gaol

Once said to be the “finest in three kingdoms”, this 19th-century jail is today an unlikely tourist attraction. History buffs should take a tour through the corridors of cells that once housed the revolutionary Countess Markievicz. In 1927, Cork’s first radio station was broadcast from the then empty building, and the small radio museum is worth a look.

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  • Convent Avenue
    Sunday's Well
    Cork City

Crawford Art Gallery

The English Market

Lewis Glucksman Gallery

Fitzgerald Park

Triskel Arts Centre

Currach Rowing

Cork Opera House

Cork City Gaol

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