Officially, the summer is over, however Ireland often gets some of its best weather in the autumn. Cork is undoubtedly a beautiful city to visit and some of its main attractions are perfect for a sunny day. Here is a list of our favourite activities that are particularly enjoyable on a hot day.
1. University College Cork
Established in 1845, University College Cork has strong connections with St. Finbarr, the patron saint of Cork. The motto of the college is ‘Where Finbarr Taught let Munster Learn’ and it is believed that his monastery and school once stood where the lower grounds of the university now lie. The heart of University College Cork incorporates Gothic and Victorian styles and is home to a collection of Ogham Stones. These important historical artifacts are inscribed with the earliest written source of the Irish language. A visit to this special part of Irish history, as well as a stroll through the picturesque grounds of one of Ireland’s most impressive and well-established colleges, is definitely a must when visiting Cork City.
2. Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park is situated on Fota Island, just a short 15 minute drive from Cork City Centre. One of the greatest attractions of this renowned park is that the majority of the animals are free roaming, so visitors can be sure to have some exciting encounters as they stroll through the park! It is home to over 70 species of animal from around the world, from cheetahs and zebras, to kangaroos and wallabies, as well as a number of endangered species.
3. Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle, built in 1446, is the second replacement of the original wooden castle which dates back as far as the 10th Century. The Castle was originally home to the King of Munster, Cormac McCarthy. Seizure of the Castle was repeatedly attempted throughout the years, however none was successful, with the occupants of the Castle escaping through the three underground caves which lead to the nearby lake, to Cork City and, rumour has it, to Kerry. The most famous aspect of Blarney Castle is undoubtedly the Blarney Stone. Legend tells us that the stone was presented to Cormac McCarthy by King Robert the Bruce. This same stone is now incorporated into the Castle and every year it is kissed by hundreds of people hoping to receive the famous gift of eloquence! Within the castle grounds there is also a ‘Poison Garden’ where visitors are warned ‘Do not touch, eat or smell the plants!’ It contains a large variety of poisonous plants from around the world such as Mandrake and Wolfsbane, with detailed information on their history and affects on the human body.
4. Fitzgerald’s Park
Perhaps one of the lushest settings in Cork City Centre, Fitzgerald’s Park is the perfect place to relax in the sun. Boarded on one side by the River Lee and with a pond and fountain at the heart of the park, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll while watching or feeding the swans and ducks. With a café, museum and extensive playground, a trip to Fitzgerald’s Park will have something for the whole family. The park is also home to a number of artistic creations such as the ‘Boy with a Boat’ sculpture and the tree whose bark is entirely encrusted with mirrors.
5. Fota Island Golf Club Cork
Golf was first played on Fota Island as early as the 1800’s. Since then it has developed to become home to three championship-standard golf courses which have twice played host to the Irish Open. A traditionally styled yet challenging venue, Fota Island Golf Club is maintained to the very highest of standards, ensuring that you benefit from year round golfing enjoyment on your island haven. For those looking to improve their game, the Fota Island Golf Academy uses some of the most advanced golfing facilities to improve the skills and techniques of golfers at all stages of the game. You can also enjoy the renowned Clubhouse which has the delightful Spike Bar, perfect for light snacks before venturing out or for some excellent après golf cuisine.
6. Bishop Lucey Park
Bishop Lucey Park lies at the heart of Cork City’s medieval history. The most famous feature of the park is the section of the old Wall of Cork which is visible just inside the entrance. The impressive arched entrance was once the entrance of the Corn Market in Anglesea Street, which was disassembled and later reassembled in its current home. The park is also home to some impressive sculptures, including ‘The Onion Seller’ and the bronze fountain with eight swans.
A visit to the old medieval town of Kinsale is definitely something that everyone visiting Cork should take the time to experience. It is a bustling town with a hive of bars, restaurants, historical buildings, narrow streets and trendy shops. Charles Fort is perhaps the best known historical attraction of Kinsale, with its two huge bastions overlooking the estuary. Directly across the harbour sits James Fort, full of hidden passages and nooks and crannies just waiting to be explored! Another of Kinsale’s most popular attractions is the wide variety of water sports which are available. From sailing and fishing, to boat trips and charters, there truly is something for everyone.
8. Fine Dining Cork at Fota Island Resort
Fota Island Resort provides a tempting selection of restaurants with excellent food to choose from. The Cove provides an intimate atmosphere for a quiet and indulgent evening away complimented by an excellent menu to savour. The Fota Restaurant serves bistro style hearty evening meals and features an outdoor terrace, perfect for balmy summer evenings. There is also the mellow setting of the Amber Lounge where you can choose from specialty coffees and light meals, to afternoon tea or cocktails.