Discover 7 Things about Irish Culture in the Real Capital of Ireland

If you are planning a trip to Ireland, do consider visiting Cork – the real capital of Ireland, as locals will insist. In Cork it’s easy to experience the Irish culture in a genuine way even on a brief visit- here are 7 things to do and places to see.
1. Irish food rocks and Cork is a perfect place to discover it – just hit the English Market, where you’ll find local artisan stalls with all sorts of goodies on sale – bread, fish, cake, cheese, meat, sweets – you name it, and they have it here.

The English Market in Cork.

The English Market in Cork.

 

 

Fish stalls have an amazing variety of fish, but best souvenir or present is smoked salmon.

Fish stalls have an amazing variety of fish and seafood, but the best souvenir or present is smoked salmon.

 

Sweet tooth will be satisfied as well!

Sweet tooth will be satisfied as well!

 

Cork specialty - spiced beef. Even Queen of England got this as a souvenir after visiting Cork.

Cork specialty – spiced beef. Even Queen of England is said to have received it as a souvenir on her visit to Cork.

 

The city has a number of great restaurants serving local produce and imaginative dishes.

Fish platter in Farmgate Cafe.

Fish platter in Farmgate Cafe.

 

Goats cheese parcel and salad in Nash19

Goats cheese parcel and salad in Nash19

 

You’ll get good, honest Irish food in any of these : Farmgate Café, Isaacs Restaurant, Nash19Electric and many others that aren’t on this list.

 

2. Irish people are well known for their friendliness and Cork is a place where you can easily end up having a chat and a laugh with a perfect stranger. During my ten years in this city I’ve observed first hand Irish good humour and hospitality time and time again. Even with the economic downturn, the vibe in the city remains a very welcoming one to the visitor.
3. If you know any Irish people, you know they like having craic, pronounced ‘crack’ (and no, it’s not an illegal drug…. this word has an approximate meaning of ‘having fun/good time’. Here’s a better explanation of this elusive term, click here to read).

Maybe because of its craic-loving people, Cork has so many festivals, making the city a vibrant and fun place to visit at any time of the year. I recently visited Cork Guinness Jazz Festival and had lots of craic with friends!

Cork Guinnees Jazz Festival takes place every year in October

Cork Guinness Jazz Festival takes place every year in October

 

Cork is filled with jazz tunes - bands play on every corner during Cork Guinness Jazz Festival.

Cork is filled with jazz tunes – bands play on every corner during Cork Guinness Jazz Festival.

 

Apart from festivals, Cork boasts a number of theatres, concert venues and galleries with exciting year-round programmes.  A great little guide of city events is Whazon , the printed version is a small booklet with a wealth of information, plus a convenient city map, easily fitting in your pocket or a handbag.

Whazon, a handy event guide can be found in most coffee shops, venues or galleries in Cork.

Whazon, a handy event guide can be found in most coffee shops, venues or galleries in Cork.

 

4. In Ireland lots of things happen in pubs – it’s a meeting place, an entertainment centre, a place to have a meal and spend some time with friends – all in one. Even if you are not a pub-goer, but want to meet some locals, consider visiting a pub, that’s where people congregate on wet evenings. Have a glass of something, listen to some music (often live) and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you– don’t worry, it’s acceptable to talk to strangers and even have a laugh together (see point 2 above).

 

Arthur Mayne is '120-year-old chemist turned wine bar' serving food well into the night

Arthur Mayne is ‘120-year-old chemist turned wine bar’ serving good food well into the night.

 

5. Throughout history Irish monks set up lots of monasteries and centres of learning in Europe. Today, the tradition of learning continues with a number of colleges in Cork where students from Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world come to get their degrees.

University College Cork

University College Cork

 

While most of us, visitors, don’t have any plans of getting yet another degree, a stroll in UCC campus will make you wonder why you never considered studying here, on one of the most beautiful campuses you’ve ever visited: a campus giving an impression of a well-groomed park with a lively ambiance on weekdays and quiet nostalgic beauty at the weekends.

University College Cork campus.

University College Cork campus.

 

 

University College Cork campus.

University College Cork campus.

 

6. A short walk from UCC campus will take you to Fitzgerald’s Park, a favourite place of many locals – it’s a bustling place on a sunny day and isn’t entirely empty on a rainy afternoon either.

Fitzgerald Park in Cork has much to offer in any season.

Fitzgerald Park in Cork has much to offer in any season and even on a rainy day.

 

Some recent futuristic additions to the park makes it even a more exciting place to visit.

Fitzgeral Park and its new look.

Fitzgeral Park and its new look.

 

7. The Irish seem to have learnt a lot about making good coffee. When I first came to Cork, it was almost impossible to find a place serving good quality coffee… 10 years on, things have changed – there are a number of places in Cork now, where coffee is as good as in Italy, France or Spain. You are spoilt for choice!

Excellent coffee in Filter, a coffee bar on George's Quay.

Excellent coffee in Filter, a coffee bar on George’s Quay.

 

A wide choice when it comes to coffee variety in Cork.

A wide choice when it comes to coffee variety in Cork.

 

This small list above doesn’t even begin to cover the wealth of things to discover about the Corconians, their culture, places to visit and things to do in Cork, but hopefully it has intrigued you enough to visit this welcoming, vibrant city.

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