First Impressions of Cork, Ireland

If I needed a reality check after 2 months of sunshine weather in Italy, Morocco, and Spain, I was given it when I touched down into Cork Airport with the rain splashing in my face! It felt a bit like a premature ‘welcome home’ from Scotland! Ah well… at least the Irish are good people!

A Social City

You can’t throw a stick in Ireland without landing next to a pub! Cork is no different. Every main street you walk down you’ll find at least half a dozen pubs if not more, lined up along the street. Although by no means a cheap city to have a drink, I did find things like a pint of Irish cider or Guinness marginally cheaper than say Dublin. To give you an example, a bottle of Bulmers Irish Cider would usually cost you €5 in Dublin. In Cork it could be €4.50 – €4.80. Not a huge difference, but still, every little counts.

If you weren’t walking past a pub in central Cork you were walking past a cafe, coffee shop, or restaurant. Ireland is a social country. Even when it’s pissing it down with rain people are still out with a smile on their faces, having a drink or a laugh, and are quite happy to talk to strangers. Even though a lot of people in Ireland are suffering right now because of the economy, you’ll still find people will give you a smile and have a chat to you. It’s just the way they are and they way the country is set up. Cork is shining example of that, and for that reason it was a nice place to be even though the weather was terrible the entire time I was there.

Live Music Everywhere

Just about every 2nd or 3rd pub in Cork seemed to have live music or open mic nights on or scheduled for the next day. We have a big pub culture in Scotland just like the Irish, but one area where I think they trump us is by the amount of live music they have in their pubs and venues. It’s everywhere. Some will be traditional Irish music, others will be guitar bands and something a bit more modern. Cork in particular seemed to have so much more of this than Dublin too. I’m not sure if it’s the fact Cork is a big student town, and with that a music scene usually follows, but it was certainly enjoyable to walk out my hostel door each night and know that a 2 minute walk would find me at least 3 pubs that offered live music for the night’s entertainment.

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is the main tourist attraction near Cork. The castle is really beautiful and is somewhere I’d recommend visiting, although, if I’m being honest, coming from Scotland I’ve seen enough castles to do me a lifetime (my hometown is home to a historical palace). It therefore might have more effect on you than it does on me, but I still thought it was pretty.

The Birthplace Of Some Football Legends

I’m a big football (soccer) fan, and the team I support back home is Glasgow Celtic (I was born in Glasgow before any Scots or other people ask why I support a Glasgow team when I don’t live there ha!) One of our best youth players who later went on to play for Manchester United (and came from Cork) was a guy called Liam Miller. Manchester United great Roy Keane also hails from there, as well as a few other famous footballers. For some reason this got me excited about coming to Cork. I really don’t know why seeing as a) neither team nor player plays football in Cork, and b) I was in Cork mid-week and was therefore not even going to catch a local game from an Irish side! Seeing a billboard size poster of Liam Miller at a bus stop did get me texting home however. Again, not sure why I got so excited, but it still had some prominence for me while I was there. Hopefully if I return to Cork someday I’ll be able to go watch a game from a local side…

Bru Hostel

I stayed at Bru Hostel while in Cork. They have a really cool, laid back pub downstairs (which also plays live music some nights), a really friendly owner, and a fantastic location in central Cork, about 5 minutes walk to both the train & bus stations. It was also clean, an easy place to meet other people, and has a nice big common room.

Bru Hostel let me stay for free for the purpose of this review, but I honestly think they’re a really good hostel, and I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise – free accommodation or not. Before I went to Bru I met a group of backpackers in Spain who’d also stayed there and who recommended the hostel to me before I’d even mentioned that’s where I was planning on staying! So hopefully that tells you that it’s a good hostel! If you’re planning on visiting Cork and looking for hostel style accommodation then I recommend this place.

– If you liked this post you may be interested in reading my First Impressions of Dublin too.

2 Responses to “First Impressions of Cork, Ireland”

  1. Laura says:

    I am going to Cork soon on a trip to Ireland. I will stay at Bru Hostel in Cork. Thank you for the recommendation!

  2. Doc Wends says:

    i just love this post. I wished I can be here too someday. Cork is just awesome to be in Ireland.

    Cheers from the Philippines 🙂

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