Cork, just inland from the country’s southwest coastline, it is the ideal base for those who want a watersports or seafaring adventure. This famous university city is the capital of the Rebel County (County Cork), but many Corkonians will tell you that it’s the ‘real capital’ of Ireland.
Second only to Dublin in size, it has everything a capital should offer. Incredible sights, museums and attractions. Fabulous culinary trails to please foodies and cure rumbling bellies. A traditional covered market bursting with local attitude and regional produce. Plus cosy coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, all full of personality.
Photo: Justin Gaurav Murgai
Visit Cork University and take a leisurely stroll on the beautiful grounds, whilst enjoying glorious views of the River Lee. At the main entrance, you can also gain access to the free Lewis Glucksman Gallery.
St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral is a fine example of French-gothic architecture. Don’t miss the magnificent rose window and the stunning mosaic pavements and elaborate carvings.
Cork City Gaol and Heritage Centre is open daily from 10am to 4pm, and makes a fantastic day out for all ages. This is a fun yet educational attraction (ideal if you’re bringing the kids along on your tour).
The English Market is the heart of the capital, located right in the centre on Princes Street. It’s long been one of Rick Stein’s favourite spots to pick up local, organic produce, and is home to some of the best delis, bakeries and confectioners around.
A few miles outside of the city is the famous Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, and every visitor should kiss the stone for good luck and for the gift of eloquence. It’s been an Irish tradition for over 200 years!
Take a trip outside of the city to Clonakilty, less than an hour away. This charming town was named the ‘Best Town in Europe’ in 2017 – so it’s well worth a visit.
There’s so much to do in Cork and the surrounding areas. Known as The Rebel County, the region is steeped in history, with the first recorded periods of rebellion going as far back as the 9th Century. From destroying a Viking castle to killing the Norse leader, Gnimbeolu, Corkonians have had their fair share of a gruesome past. You can learn more about the centuries of rebellion and incarceration in the city’s many museums.
Cork City Gaol is of course not to be missed, but there’s also Cork Public Museum, Cork Butter Museum and Old Cork Waterworks. If you wish to explore Cork on foot, other unmissable sights include Blackrock Castle, Church of St Anne in the Shandon District, the tranquil Fitzgerald’s Park, Elizabeth Fort, and Daly’s Bridge.
Shopaholics will find the main shops along St Patrick’s Street, a shopping destination that has won multiple awards over the years. Culture vultures will be able to catch a theatre show or opera at the striking Cork Opera House. And families can enjoy music and cinema for all ages at Triskel Arts Centre on Tobin Street.
For a more relaxed time in the city, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an artisan coffee bar around every corner. So you can indulge in the chic coffee culture, dive into a good book or people watch to your heart’s content. The hipster scene is alive and kicking here, but many of its pubs and bars remain traditional, with live music and authentic home-cooked grub to fill your boots with. So if you’re after a top night out, this is the place to be.
Cork County and towns surrounding the main city are also worth a visit if you have time. Some of our favourite places to take our guests include the town of Blarney and the quaint historic town of Kinsale. Kinsale is renowned for its many award-winning restaurants, making it a foodie’s paradise.
The best time to visit Cork is during the warmer season (from May to early September) if you’re after a bit of sunshine. The hottest months are July and August with highs of 20°C or over and rarely dropping below 14°C. But the weather here is moderate throughout the year, so you won’t have to deal with extreme heat or cold whenever you decide to travel.
With a climate regulated by the North Atlantic Current, autumn and winter is the wettest period. So avoid this time if you don’t like drizzle. Many people say that the weather here is similar to Dublin, so if you’ve visited the capital before, you should pack the same kind of clothing. Rain macs, waterproofs and umbrellas are recommended at any time of year (just in case). But we promise that rain and cloud won’t spoil your day, as there’s always something fun to do in the city even if the sun doesn’t come out.
Be sure to visit in late April / May for the Cork International Choral Festival, June / July for the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and the Skibbereen Cork Arts Festival, or in October for the Guinness Jazz Festival.
We have a number of tours that include Cork City and other key locations in County Cork. Some of our tours will take you from Dublin to County Tipperary to The Ring of Kerry and The Dingle Peninsula, and further afield. Our Ultimate Tour, is a 10 day adventure, taking you all the way around the Irish coast.
Our guides will ensure that you have access to County Cork’s top sights and attractions, and will help you with recommendations for thrill-seeking activities, fun things to do, and great places to eat and drink. When you arrive in the city itself, you can enjoy a fully guided walking tour to learn more about its history.
If you would like to spend a bit more time in Cork, get in touch about creating your own bespoke tour today.
Join us as we visit many of Ireland’s best loved landmarks and off the beaten track hidden gems.
Overland Jewel is a relaxed style tour that focuses on authentic experiences that capture the real Ireland.
Think castles, picture perfect villages, epic scenery and allow us to introduce you to our friends and partners throughout the country.
Enjoy very light activity including walking tours and kayaking (which is optional). Jewel Tours are perfect for going at a smoother pace.
This is Ireland unfiltered!
Welcome to Ireland’s wilder side!
Put a bit of zing into your Ireland adventure with Overland Zest.
This is for those who want the perfect mix of a relaxed style tour with some activities included to bring up the thrill factor.
Our activities range from hiking, kayaking, surfing, biking and much more.
In fact, if there is something that we have not listed but you would love to do just let us know and we can organise from there.
Relax… we’ve got the adventure covered.
Cork has been dubbed the ‘true Irish capital’ by locals, and it’s one of the best places for history and sightseeing, food and drink, shopping and nightlife. It’s a bucket list destination for anyone planning a tour of Ireland, if you ask us!
There’s something for every type of traveller here, so no matter what size or age of your group, there’s always an activity to suit you.
Before heading into the city to explore, make sure you ask our team for the best places to try local dishes or the best pubs for a pint of Guinness.
To design your own tour to Cork and other magical destinations in Ireland, get in touch. We’ll help you create a bespoke holiday with all your favourite highlights.
Myself, my 4 siblings and 4 spouses on a bus for 7 days with tour guide Marie was the adventure of a life time. This trip was to honor our late mom on the anniversary of her passing. Every castle, pub and view along the way made us feel closer to her. If you want to experience Ireland like a local, see the views that will stay in your heart forever- book with Overland. Our tour guide Marie is now considered family and will be in this year’s Christmas slide show for sure. I would recommend Overland to anyone who wants to be active and see this beautiful country in the best way possible.
Jean – TripAdvisor Review
Our 7 day Grand tour was Excellent, I did the Jewel tour which was less active and suited me better. The small group was so manageable, the mini coach very comfortable. Our guide and driver Jimmy was competent, smart, flexible, patient and just wonderful as person. Our accommodations were exactly as advertised but above my expectations with great breakfasts and there were also plenty of options for me as a vegetarian. Another thing worth mentioning is that all the hotels were in the towns we stayed in which means you can choose your own restaurant for dinner and can have a few drinks whilst listening to some Irish music without having to worry about how to get back to the hotel. From the start to finish a great experience and would highly recommend this trip especially if you only have one week. I had just enough time to explore Dublin and only had to take 5 days leave which makes this very effective.
John – TripAdvisor Review