Cork is the second city of Ireland and the capital of Cork County, the largest county of Ireland. The name comes from the Irish word 'corcaigh', which means 'marshland'. The city center consists of beautiful winding roads, but there are also very trendy shops. Of course you will have no trouble finding an authentic Irish pub. The city is very proud of its two 19th century cathedrals. Near Cork, the oldest castle of Ireland, Blarney Castle, is located. Also, there are magnificent golf courses in the region.
Including the suburbs, Cork has about 275,000 inhabitants. The population considers itself different from the rest of Ireland, especially Dublin. Cork County is also referred to as 'Rebel County', for the major role it played in the Irish struggle for independence and in the Irish Civil War.
Cork is located on the Irish south coast, where the river Lee flows into Cork Harbor, a deep inlet from the sea. The island in the Lee is the heart of Cork.
Cork is an important port, where many products from the interior are shipped, for instance sheep and wool. In recent years, the city has developed in the IT center of Ireland. Apple Computers has its European headquarters in Cork and Motorola and Amazon.com are also located there. In addition, the pharmaceutical industry provides a lot of jobs. Pfizer and Novartis have big factories in Cork.
In addition, Cork has two big breweries: Murphy's Irish Stout and Beamish and Crawford. The breweries have existed for centuries.
Cork International Airport is located six kilometers to the south of Cork City, along the N27. About a dozen airlines offer daily services to over 50 destinations. Price fighter EasyJet also uses the airport. In 2006, a new terminal was opened and the airport hopes it will process five million passengers a year in a few years time. From the Parnell Place bus station, there is a bus service to the airport.
City buses, local buses and inter regional buses all depart from Parnell Place. Every hour, buses leave for Killarney, Waterford and Limerick/Galway. There is also a regular connection to Dublin and there is even a daily Euroliner connection to Victoria bus station in London with a nightly ferry crossing. From Kent Station, trains depart for Dublin eight times a day.
City transport is mediocre. Outside the center the bus stops are poorly indicated, and there usually is not timetable. In addition, the city buses in Cork only have one door where passengers get off and on the bus, which isn't very efficient.
Traffic and Parking
First of all you need to keep in mind that the Irish drive on the left side of the road, which means that the steering wheel is on the right. You will get used to that soon enough, but you might want to practice a little in a quiet neighborhood! In urban areas the speed limit is 48 kilometers an hour (30 mph), elsewhere it is 96 kilometers an hour (60 mph). On motorways, the speed limit is 112 kilometers an hour (70 mph).
In the center of Cork you need a so-called Parking Disc to park your car in the street. It can be bought in many places. It is a scratch card on which you scratch off the time you arrived. There are signs that tell you long you may leave your car. If you stay longer than you are allowed, your car may be clamped or towed away.
On North Main Street, there is a large car park. There are also car parks in and around the center. In the south of the city there's a P+R area called Black Ash P+R. Every 10 minutes a bus leaves for the city center.
In Cork and the surrounding areas there are plenty of hotels. There are simple bed & breakfast accommodations, but also luxury hotels, sometimes located in historical building. During the Summer, Cork attracts the most tourists. We recommend booking in advance during that period.
For more information about Cork, we recommend Google, and the following sources: