5 Hidden Gems to discover in Cork!

As Cork is one of our most popular routes, it would be naive of us folk in Citylink office not to dedicate a blog post to all things wild & wonderful about the Rebel county.

Whilst we were in agreement there were endless amounts of things we could have conjured up to squeeze into this fun sized article on our website, we reluctantly agreed on the best five activities on offer.

Cork is often dismissed as one of the main destinations to visit in Ireland, with the majority tourists opting to stay around Dublin or heading West. Whilst Cork city is renowned as being one of the most friendly cities in Ireland, if not the world, Citylink  are of the belief the real hidden Ireland is to be found in the Cork countryside.  Ranging from Fota Wildlife Park to Gougane Barra, there are endless amounts fun things to do outdoors in County Cork.

*Bear in mind the following list is in no particular order, as each is as recommended by us as the next. Here goes;

5. Go wild at Fota Wildlife Park

Before local people bat an eyelid at me in astonishment & inform me “Fota is hardly a hidden gem”, it ought to be observed that just because us locals have a grá for Ireland’s only wildlife park does not instantaneously mean that visitors will have the slightest clue what it or where Fota is!! Firstly to clear things up, Fota is NOT a zoo. The animals are out in the open vicinity and roam around as they wish to do so, to an extent.

Our main tip would be to just part walk around the park & take it all in (or take the train if you are not fond of walking) whilst gazing an eye on the giraffes delightfully munching on the trees or allowing a cheeky peacock to take your sandwich! This place is a fun day out for all the family in a relaxed environment, so much so, we could not leave it out of our top five!

4. Feed the ducks at The Lough

This is another enjoyable activity to do within walking distance of the Citylink drop-off point at St Patricks Quay. Feeding, or simply observing, the ducks up at The Lough has been an age-old tradition in Cork, especially among locals from the area. It doesn’t cost a penny too, unless you intend on buying several loaves of bread. Below is fun video documentary about Cork’s famous “talking ducks”!

3. Devour lunch at Ballymaloe House

A sejourn to cork, and Ireland’s, most famous cookery school at Ballymaloe House will send your taste buds through the roof. Firstly, the ‘to die for’ food you will be served is all sourced locally, with the menu providing different options every other day, and prepared and cooked by students from the cooking school. If you happen to have luck on your side and visit Ballymaloe in the warm sunshine, you can enjoy a walk around the picturesque house and gardens and appreciate why so many Corkonians choose to hold their weddings at this amazing venue. If fortune is one your side, you may even stumble across paths with resident owner and celebrity chef Darina Allen!

2. Catch a Trad session in Sin É

If you’re looking for amusing things to do in Cork but time is of the essence, I highly recommend taking a look at a trad session in Sin É. One of the most adored pubs in Cork, Sin É will charm the shirt off your back. With live traditional music every other night of the week, an evening in here will be an evening that won’t be wasted. Surrounded by characters at the bar area and some fascinating decor including an old barbers chair upstairs, this pint sized but cosy pub is one of the undeniable hidden gems of Cork.

1. Go surfing at Inchydoney Beach

Voted Ireland’s best beach, Inchydoney Island is one of the most spectacular beaches in Cork. Stretching on for miles on either side of the island (where the award-winning Inchydoney Island Hotel is located) this beach is also a top spot for surfing, especially in winter. Granted you’ll have to wear a horrible wet suit and the water will of course be absolutely freezing, but nothing will cure your hangover quicker or make you feel more alive than an early morning surf! One of the best beaches on Ireland’s wild atlantic way, and the finish line of one of the world’s most epic road trips.