CORK is Ireland's second largest city.

Writer Margaret Hussey hit this glorious Irish city for market treats, handmade gems and seaside day trips.

Feast on spiced beef

Cork is often called Ireland’s culinary capital, and the city’s covered English Market has been the place to stock up on treats since 1788.

Nibble on nutty Gubbeen cheese, sample honey, and try the famous spiced beef at Tom Durcan Meats (

Market Lane restaurant on Oliver Plunkett Street gets produce from here, too – tuck into delicious cauliflower curry, £15, with a glass of rioja, £7.65 (

Later, pop into family-run MacCurtain Wine Cellar for vino from £6.25 (, before finishing the night with a pint of Cork’s own Irish stout, Murphy’s, at the wonderfully cosy Henchys bar. 

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RIng the church bellls

Stroll around Shandon, Cork’s historic district and visit St Anne’s.

Climb its 132 steps for panoramic views, then have a go at ringing its eight bells.

Entry costs £4.45 (

Next door is the quaint but fascinating Butter Museum.

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Learn Cork’s history with the yellow stuff and, in summer, you can churn it, too.

Tickets cost £4.45 (

Then head to Crawford Art Gallery to check out works from Irish artists Stephen Doyle and Jack Butler Yeats (

Pick up Irish charms

Check out the cutest toy shop, Pinocchio’s, on Paul Street.

Just as fun for grown-ups – it’s full of wooden wonders (

Vibes & Scribes will keep any crafter or bookworm happy, so hit its bright Bridge Street store for yarns galore, and Lavitt’s Quay for paperback treasures in the city’s oldest indie bookshop. (

Meanwhile, Azure Jewellery is a gem in St George’s Quay, where you can pick up handmade pieces, as well as fancier bridal creations (

Spy an angel

Join the Cork City Ramble tour for a crash course in history and to learn about “Lady Of The Lantern” Nano Nagle, a pioneer of education for the poor.

A 75-minute tour costs £15.60 per person (

Then visit Cork City Gaol for the gory details of prison life during the 19th century, told through personal accounts.

Entry is £8.90 (

Afterwards, count your own blessings at Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, with its golden angel, gothic gargoyles and 1,200 sculptures to marvel over (

Pop to Kinsale

Staying a little longer?

Take a trip to the brightly painted town of Kinsale, 40 minutes away.

Pop into Eoin O’Connor’s gallery to gaze at his famous cow paintings – and leave with a more affordable print as a souvenir (

Then explore Stone Mad, an Aladdin’s cave of trinkets (

Stroll to the harbour and hop on a delightful hour-long cruise, around the bay for the chance to spot seals and otters (

Catch a movie

With great views over the city, The Montenotte Hotel’s two rooftop bars serve fab Victorian mojitos with a basil spin.

In the chic rooms, expect coffee machines and miniature Montenotte gins, while in the Panorama Bistro, tuck in to scallops with chorizo crisp, £13.50, and Irish charcuterie boards, £27.

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Book a body polish and hydrating wrap, £94 for one hour, in the spa, or relax in the swish cinema.

Double rooms cost from £218 B&B ( 


In the 19th century, Cork exported 30 million pounds of butter every year.

Flights from the UK to Cork start from £47 return.

Plan your trip at 

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