Cork: Things To Do

Cork is Ireland’s largest county and as well as seeing Ireland’s Alcatraz you can explore the beautiful coastline and countryside, try Ireland’s best food, discover iconic and quirky visitor attractions and make friends in Ireland’s most welcoming city.  Here are some attraction options we recommend.

Stay in Cork - Play in CorkCobh Heritage Centre

Whether you are interested in the Irish Emigration story, tracing your ancestors, learning more about the ill-fated Titanic and the Lusitania, or immersing yourself in our naval and military history, Cobh Heritage Centre has it all and lots more.

With such a rich heritage, history and so many stories to tell, a trip to Cobh Heritage Centre is a must. This beautiful, informative and sometimes emotive cultural Centre is inventively situated within Cobh’s beautifully restored Victorian railway station, a building with its own historic story.

Because so many people from Ireland’s past travelled through Cobh, one of the world’s finest natural harbours, visitors can learn about the stories of these emigrants. Over three million Irish people emigrated from this port. Many had to leave because of the Great Famine, many left in search of a new start and the hope of a better life.

The Emigration Story relates the maritime, naval and military history of the area, the fortification of the harbour with forts such as Haulbowline, Spike Island, and Fort Camden and takes you on a journey of exploration of the lives of those who left from the 1600’s right through to the 1950s.

Tales of the early emigrants to Virginia, the Carolinas and Canada, the forgotten Irish who endured forced labour in the West Indies during and after Cromwellian times, to the sinking of the Titanic and The Lusitania, are inventively displayed in a variety of modern, tasteful and artistic ways.

Stay in Cork - Play in CorkCork Harbour Boat Hire

Whether it’s on our Self Drive Boats in Cobh or our thrilling rib tours, we have boat trips to suit everyone. All delivered by a dedicated team of passionate and experienced explorers.

Are you looking for an exhilarating outdoor boating adventure on the open seas? See more of Cork’s coastline with our High-Speed Sea Safari RIBs.  Brace yourself for a natural adrenaline rush filled with fresh sea air!

Have you got a family to entertain this summer? We provide a comfortable,  safe and easy way to navigate Cork’s Harbour waters. Our self-drive boat rental service is an exciting day out for groups of all sizes and ages.

Eager to encounter Ireland’s vast array of wildlife, known to inhabit the region?  You’ll have great fun trying to spot all the different birds and sea creatures in our guided Cork harbour sea safari tours.

Stay in Cork - Play in CorkCobh Ramblers Football Club

Catch a game of exciting League of Ireland action at Cobh Ramblers. Founded in 1922, the club has a long and proud sporting tradition and previous players include many well-known stars, including Roy Keane, Stephen Ireland and Nicky Byrne.
Spike Island is proud to partner with this Cobh institution, and you can purchase some of the club’s memorabilia in our gift shop on the island.

See for fixtures and club shop.

Fota House

Tours – Guided tours of the Fota House are available each day at 12 noon and 2 pm. Tours can be booked in advance on this website or open to visitors on the day 10 minutes before the commencement time. Tours last approx. 50 minutes and tells the story of the Fota property, the Smith-Barry Family and the staff who worked across the estate.
Gift Shop – Open daily 10:30 – 5 pm. A wide range of giftware, jewellery, artisan foods and books are available.
Bakestone Café – Open each day 10:30 am – 5 pm. Indoor Cafe is table service only (limited capacity) but takeaway food & beverages are served through an outside counter with outdoor benches adjacent.
Arboretum & Gardens:
Victorian Working Gardens are open weekdays from 10:30 am – 4:45 pm and weekends 12noon to 4:45 pm with a range of plants also available for purchase.
Fota Arboretum is open daily 9:00am – 5:00pm
Fota Walled & Pleasure Gardens are open during the week with a weekend opening (From 1st April); Saturday 11 am-5 pm & Sunday 2-5 pm
Pre-booking is not required to walk the Arboretum & Gardens
Dogs are welcome in the Arboretum & Gardens but need to be on a lead at all times.

Fota Wildlife Park

Ireland’s Wildest Attraction. Fota Wildlife Park is set on 100 acres on the scenic Fota Island in the heart of Cork Harbour. It is a unique place where you can come face to face with free-roaming animals and birds from all parts of the world. So if it’s a kangaroo that hops in front of you, or a ring-tailed lemur, which jumps down from a tree, each visit is sure to bring its own fantastic memories.
Fota Wildlife Park features the Asian Sanctuary—with Asian Lions, Sumatran Tigers, and Indian Rhino. The cheetah run, tropical house and giraffe crossing are also must-sees. The development of the Asian Sanctuary over the past five years has enhanced the Park as an iconic international visitor attraction as well as serving the core values of conservation, education, and research.

Facilities include cafés, several play areas, picnic areas and a gift shop. Accessible by train and car.

Jameson Midleton Cork DISTILLERY Tour

Let us take you on a journey from past to present. In Midleton, come face to face with the world’s largest pot still on one of our memorable experiences at the old distillery of Jameson Irish Whiskey.

We’ve just embarked on an exciting upgrade journey which will see the buildings here at Jameson Distillery Midleton transformed between now and 2025, just in time to celebrate our 200 year anniversary. You may notice some construction work when you arrive for your visit, however, we ensure that our experiences are running as usual with minimal interruption. Please allow time to find parking before your experience, as we can no longer accommodate parking onsite. When you arrive, there is free parking available outside our main gates on Distillery Walk. There is also free parking available at Distillery Lane car park and on Main Street Midleton.

Stay in Cork - Play in CorkTitanic Experience

Titanic Experience Cobh is located in Casement Square in the heart of Cobh Town. Our home is the original White Star Line Ticket Office, a building steeped in history dating back to the early 19th century and the departure point for many thousands of White Star Line passengers. When you arrive, check-in with us at reception and let us tell you the story of those 123 passengers.

• Upon check-in you will receive your boarding card. Your boarding card will have the details of one of the 123 passengers who came to the White Star Line Ticket Office on Thursday April 11th 1912. These were the final passengers to join Titanic at her last port of call in Queenstown, Ireland. (Cobh was renamed Queenstown from the period of 1849-1921 in honour of Queen Victoria’s visit to Cobh and so we refer to Cobh as Queenstown for much of our story).
• Your personal tour guide will take you on a virtual journey to board the tenders and join Titanic for her maiden voyage to New York
• Along this journey you will view the original pier also known as Heartbreak Pier, which was the last point of land contact for the Queenstown passengers.
• During your visit, you will experience life aboard Titanic and learn a little about the conditions on board for third and first class passengers.
• When disaster strikes, you will experience the chill of the sinking, through a unique cinematographic experience.
• The guided element of our tour lasts 30 minutes after which you will be free to explore our exhibition area. Here you can interact with a collection of audio visual presentations and story boards exploring the events that led to the tragic sinking. You will also learn about the role of RMS Carpathia in the rescue of the survivors, the outcome of the formal British and US enquiries into the tragedy, the discovery of the wreck and more.
• Did you survive? The final element of the experience is located in the story room, where you will learn the fate of you as a passenger and all the other Queenstown passengers. We also feature a selection of interesting artefacts from Carpathia, The Odell Family Collection and some original serving pieces from the White Star Line fleet of the early 20th century.

Stay in Cork - Play in CorkTitanic Tour Cobh

The Titanic Trail guided walking tour of Cobh is Ireland’s first and longest operating ‘Titanic’ attraction. Operating daily at 11am, the gentle one hour walking tour offers inside perspectives on the real stories of this infamous ship and its connections with Cobh that go way beyond the Hollywood versions of events.  In addition Irish emigration to America, the famine and Ireland’s struggle for independence are all explored and explained against the fabulous backdrop of the town of Cobh overlooking Cork Harbour.  The stories conveyed on these tours get beneath the skin of history bringing it to life in an entertaining and amusing way. This is the perfect activity before your trip to Spike Island!

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