Welcome to Cork
Cork Harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world and a river estuary at the mouth of the River Lee. Built on marshlands, and originally a monastic settlement, Cork City (‘Corcach Mór Mumhan’ which means the ‘great marsh of Munster’) is set on the northwest of the harbour and upstream on the River Lee. The centre of the city is nestled between the two channels of the River Lee which splits at the western end, surrounding the city before merging to flow outwards via the quays and docks towards Cork Harbour.
Cork Harbour and City have been a maritime gateway to Ireland since records began and the region is steeped in history. From monastic settlement, Viking trading post, capital of the Kingdom of Desmond to the rule of the Anglo-Normans, who fortified the city with stone walls. The city was then defended by two castles – the Kings Castle and the Queen’s Castle, which are now depicted on the Cork City Coat of Arms. During the Napoleonic Wars, the British built strategic fortifications to defend the harbour, many of which survived and have become important tourist centres. In somewhat recent history, over three million emigrants travelled through Cobh to flee poverty and make a life elsewhere.
Visit, Explore, Discover, Dive in to Cork Harbour
Cork Harbour has so much to offer the visitor; travelling from Roche’s Point Lighthouse on the east side of the harbour to Camden Fort Meagher on the west side there is a wealth of heritage sites, water and shore activities, picturesque towns and villages, galleries, food markets, walking trails and communities and their stories to explore and experience.
Cork City has fast become a friendly and vibrant cultural centre. Explore the narrow streets where you will discover the rich history of Cork at every corner. Learn about its culture and heritage through visiting the city’s museums and galleries. There is a choice of great restaurants and bars serving fresh, local produce, as well as unique, characterful shops to while away an enjoyable day.
But, no visit is complete without stepping into the hustle and bustle of the English Market which offers locally produced foods, cheeses and breads as well as chat and banter with the friendly stall holders.
Welcome to Cork!