Situated on the banks of the River Lee, the city of Cork is the second-larges in the country and rivals the capital from a variety of points of view.
The former ‘Rebel City’ is abuzz with constant energy and its inhabitants are confident enough to only refer to it as the ‘People’s Republic of Cork’ only half-jokingly. This is not hubris considering the fact that the city has burgeoning arts, music and gastronomy scene, and has started to get the cultural reputation to rival Dublin’s.
The center of the city is home both to the River Lee, as well as to a tightly packed number of grand Georgian parades, 17th century alleys as well as a few modern masterpieces. The center is rather small, and it’s highly likely that some visitors may actually stay, eat, drink and tour within its confines.
The upsurge that Cork needed started in 2005 when it was that year’s European Capital of Culture, and the urban renewal that was sparked by that event has continued at a very constant pace, with new buildings appearing or being reconditioned all over the place, a number of bars, art centres and everything else having sprouted ever since.
Some of the best experiences that the city has to offer, from a socializing point of view still come from what is considered by many to be traditional Irish fare, namely snug pubs with live music sessions for most of the week actually.
As evidence for the cultural scene that is developing and thriving in the city, the place hosts several major festivals each year, ranging in theme from music to theatre and film.
The Midsummer Festival lasts for a full month and features pretty much any type of major artistic expression possible, theatre, music, art, poetry and much more. Best chances of being part of this festival is to plan your trip for sometime between mid June to mid July.
Then there’s the Film Festival, which has a history of more than half a century, and the Jazz Festival which is one of the largest such affairs in Europe.