Things to do in Cork

The Imperial Hotel Cork is centrally located to all of Cork's major attractions and activities. Here are some of the top attractions and things to do in Cork city centre.

Cork City Gaol

Get a fascinating insight into prison life in the 1800’s and early 1900’s at Cork City Gaol. Originally opened in 1864 as a replacement for the Old Gaol in Northgate Bridge, it was designed by Thomas Deane. The Gaol was closed in 1923, and it allowed to become derelict, until it was re-opened as a visitor centre. Nowadays it allows visitors the chance to get a fascinating insight into the day-to-day life of the inmates and prison life at the time.

St Finbarr’s Cathedral

Located in Cork city centre, St Finbarr’s Cathedral is one of the most beautiful and interesting buildings in Ireland. The building is rich in sculptures with over 1260 of them built into the building and St Finbarr himself is said to have founded this school of teaching in the 7th century.

UCC University College Cork

UCC was established in 1845 as Queen's College Cork, named after Queen Victoria. The College sits on the edge of a limestone bluff by Cork’s famous River Lee. A tour of UCC incorporates a visit to the historic Aula Maxima, the university gardens, Crawford Observatory, the Ogam Stones Collection (the largest public collection in Ireland) and The Honan Chapel. The buildings of the main quadrangle were designed to be reminiscent of the many ancient universities of the middle ages.

The English Market

Voted one of the top ten best food markets in Europe by the “Observer Food Magazine”, Cork’s English Market is not to be missed. Situated in the heart of Cork City centre, just a stone’s throw from the Imperial Hotel Cork, the English Market is the city’s most famous roofed food market, which has been trading since 1788.  An essential for foodies and cultural vultures, the English Market is home to artisan producers, a range of cafes as well as long-established family businesses.

One of the oldest markets of its kind in the world, in 2011 the market played host to HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh who visited Cork as part of the Queen’s State Visit to Ireland.

Shopping in Cork

Cork city centre serves as a great location for all your shopping needs with streets such as Patrick Street, Princes Street and Oliver Plunkett Street blending large retail stores with old historical buildings of Cork. When it comes to shopping hotels in Cork, large retail stores such as Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and Brown Thomas are located just a stone’s throw from the hotel. Additionally Cork’s newest shopping street Opera Lane is located just a short walk from the hotel, offering consumers many familiar top UK and European brands such as River Island, Gap, Topman and Next.

St Anne’s / Shandon Bells

Built in 1722, the Shandon Bells in Cork is one of Cork’s famous visual landmarks. The much-loved landmark forms a striking attraction, with its red sandstone and white ashlar limestone walls which are thought to have given Cork’s sporting history. Reaching 37 metres high enjoy a spectacular 360 degree view of Cork city from the church. Its famous chime which can be heard throughout Cork city is from its 8 bells which together weigh over 6 tonnes.

Gluckman Art Gallery

Located in an award-winning building at the main entrance of University College Cork; the Gluckman Art Gallery is a cultural and educational institution and public gallery that promotes research, creation and exploration of visual arts. 

Crawford Art Gallery

Attracting over 200,000 visitors per year the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery is dedicated to informing a wide audience about the significant role that the visual arts play in contemporary life and culture.  Built in 1724, it was transformed into an art museum in the 19th century. The city centre gallery houses many masterpieces including those by James Barry, Jack B Yeats, Dorothy Cross and more.

Everyman Palace Theatre

The Everyman Palace Theatre is located in a listed building and its home to a beautiful 650 seat theatre is a jewel of late Victorian architecture. One of Ireland’s leading middle scale producing theatres, it’s steeped in history and it’s a firm favourite with audiences and performers alike.

Fitzgerald’s Park and Cork History Museum

Located in the historic Mardyke Walk, adjacent to the River Lee, Cork’s Fitzgerald is one of the city’s main visitor attractions. Originally built in 1895, the museum set on 18 acres of landscaped and magnificent gardens.

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