June 7, 2018
Trip Report: Three Days in Cork, Ireland

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I spent a week in Ireland in late May-early June 2018. I’d wanted to visit Ireland for a very long time so I was particularly excited about this trip. I spent three days in Cork, two days in Galway, and two days in Dublin before heading back to the US. I really enjoyed my time in Cork. It had all the comforts of a city but was small enough not to feel too overwhelming. It’s also about half an hour from the countryside so it’s easy to escape if you feel like visiting nature.


Blarney Castle



Blarney castle, dating back to the 1400s, is located about a half hour drive from Cork. It takes about an hour if you take a bus. There was a man playing bagpipes and welcoming visitors. He happily invited us to take photos with him. Once you’re on the grounds, you’ll find several great walking trails which take you to the various cites around the castle.



There’s more to Blarney castle than just the castle. It’s surrounded by very well maintained gardens, woodlands, and a lake. The nearby trees were beautiful.



Take the time to walk by the lake behind Blarney. There were only a handful of people in the area and it was beautiful.



There’s also an enormous mansion called Blarney House behind the castle. It was closed to visitors when I visited so I couldn’t go inside. The architecture looks fascinating.


Pubs



I got the impression that the Irish really enjoy their alcohol. The pubs in the city were busy every night and many of them had live music playing both Irish and contemporary tunes. Go to the center or Cork and just walk around from pub to pub.


Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral



This is a 19thcentury cathedral located near the city center. I wanted to checkout what an Irish cathedral looked like since I’ve seen so many in other European countries.



This cool labyrinth is right next to the cathedral. It’s supposed to be used to calm your mind before prayer.


 

Blackrock Castle Observatory



This was a particularly interesting visit. Blackrock castle was never built as a traditional castle where royalty lived. It was built as a fortification along the river to keep pirates away. Because of this, it’s been used in several different ways throughout its history. It now operates as an observatory. Yes-there is an observatory with a telescope pointed at the stars on the roof of the castle. There’s also a charming outdoor restaurant on the top floor.


Tara’s Tea Room



Tara’s tea room is an adorable little tea room owned and operated by a local Irish family. This was the best breakfast I had in Ireland, no contest. You know how food tastes differently if a loved one spends hours making it with care? That’s how everything tasted.



You could taste the flavor in every sip of loose leaf tea. All the vegetables and eggs in the omelettes were clearly fresh and locally grown. The scones, butter, and jam were all prepared on site as tasted amazing.



The decor of the place was charming as well. I mean, porcelain cups with flowers in 2018 is pretty cool. I’d make it a priority to visit Tara’s Tea Room next time I’m in Cork.


Jameson Distillery Tour



Jameson whiskey is brewed at the distillery in Cork. The old facility in Dublin is still standing but whiskey isn’t brewed there any more. I did the one-hour tour of the Cork site. I’m not particularly fond of Jameson, but the tour was still fun and educational. You’ll also enjoy a whiskey tasting at the end of your tour. They sell plenty of Jameson at the end if you want to take some bottles home with you!


I loved my time in Cork. I spent as much time as possible in the countryside. There’s a lot to see in this city and it’s good to take your time here. Visit as many castles as you can, enjoy the Irish cuisine, visit some pubs, and enjoy some great Irish ale along the way!

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