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12 Step Planet: Cork
To some it’s the real capital. It certainly is one of Ireland’s pre-eminent sporting and cultural centres, with dazzling architecture, a sensibility all its own and a chilled-out atmosphere which Dublin can only envy.
Emma-Louise Hutchinson, 31 May 2012
Where exactly is it?
The largest county and second-largest city in the Republic of Ireland, Cork is located in the south-west, around 220 km from the capital.
How do I get there?
Being well connected by bus, car and Inter City train routes, Cork is easy to reach. Motorways like the N8 from Dublin, N25 from Waterford and N20 from Limerick connect to all major cities while Bus Éireann and Irish Rail operate from the centre of town. Bus Éireann’s Dublin to Cork Expressway bus leaves Parnell Place bus station every two hours while both the Galway (via Limerick) and Tralee to Cork Expressway routes operate hourly. Trains to Limerick, Galway, Dublin and Waterford run out of Kent Station.
What language do they speak?
The same English as the rest of the country, but the Cork accent is a thing unto itself!
What’s the local beer like?
Recent years have seen the growth of craft breweries in the county with the well-established Franciscan Well leading the charge. Their Shandon Century Extra Stout was named ‘Beer of the Year’ by members of beoir.org. Their Rebel Red ale is also recommended. Mitchelstown-based Eight Degrees Brewing is another growing presence. It produces Howling Gale Ale, Knockmealdown Porter and Sunburnt Irish Red ale. And of course Murphy’s and Beamish are popular stouts of long standing.
With the Jameson Heritage Centre in Midleton visitors can learn the history of Jameson Irish Whiskey before going to the bar for some Irish whiskey tasting.
What’s the transport like?
The area is served by 18 Bus Éireann suburban routes while suburban train routes link the city with the outer areas of Midleton, Fota and Cobh.
What’s the food like?
Traditional Cork fare includes Drisheen, a type of pudding made from sheep’s intestines filled with meal and sheeps’ blood, often served with tripe. You can sample it at Farmgate Café, the gallery restaurant of the famed English Market. For those who fancy something a little less traditional (and intestinal) the renowned eaterie boasts a lunch menu sourced from the fresh produce the market stalls have to offer. At Lancaster Quay, critically-acclaimed vegetarian restaurant Café Paradiso is a popular haunt and should please both veggies and meat-lovers alike with their focus on good food that just happens to be vegetarian.