In recent years, Cork has received some accolades for being a great tourist destination. In 2005, it was named the “European Capital of Culture,” and in 2009, Lonely Planet put it on their “Best in Travel 2010” list and called Cork “sophisticated, vibrant, and diverse.”
If you were to ask the locals, he or she would agree and no doubt recommend you choose one of the many fine hotels in Cork and experience the city for yourself. Music, theatre, dance, film, and poetry all play an important role in the city’s life. University College Cork (UCC) has a strong music program, and the Cork School of Music and the Crawford College of Art and Design infuse strong arts sensibility into the city. Consequently, Cork has a strong music scene, full of excellent musicians.
Cork is home to the RTÉ Vanbrugh String Quartet, as well as many musical acts, including: John Spillane; The Frank And Walters; Sultans of Ping; Simple Kid; Rory Gallaher; Cathal Coughlan; Sean O’Hagan. Opera singers Cara O’Sullivan, Mary Hegarty, Brendan Collins, and Sam McEloy also all hail from Cork. The city is truly culturally diverse, with immigrants from Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, and the music in recent years have reflected it.
There is always great music in Cork and because of its diversity there is something for everyone. One of the best ways to experience music in the city and its pub scene is the Cork City Pub Crawl, which takes place every Friday night, all year long. The crawl was organised by local youths to create buzz about Cork amongst both the tourists and the locals. Starting at 8pm outside the GPO on Oliver Plunkett Street, they take whoever shows up to cool pubs and clubs all around the city. There is sure to be all kinds of live music in these establishments, and a great mix of people from Cork and all over the world.
Another great way to experience the music scene in Cork is by attending its festivals. In September, there is one taking place every weekend. Just choose one: the Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival, 4-6 September; the Waterford Harvest Festival, 3-11 September; the Midleton Food & Drink Festival, 9-11 September; the Taste of West Cork Food Festival, 12-18 September; the East Cork Early Music Festival, 15-19 September; and the Beamish Cork Folk Festival, 30 September to 3 October.