Cork natives have long claimed they have been robbed of the title of the ‘capital of Ireland’ so we at Jurys Inn thought we’d take the time to check out the veracity of their assertions. After all, every argument has two sides and considering we have Jurys Inn Cork and a few hotels in Dublin, we like to see ourselves as being somewhat neutral in this debate.
Reason Number 1: Cork’s history has been a colourful one, and a number of historic sites attract tourists today. This year has seen the commemorations of the doomed Titanic voyage, with the spotlight focusing on Cobh, the final stop before its departure for New York. The Titanic Experience is a new permanent exhibition and certainly worth a visit.
For history buffs other attractions in Cork include Allihies Copper Mine Museum, with a history as far back as the Bronze Age; Desmond Castle in Kinsale, which was once occupied by the Spanish; and Lios na gCon in Clonakilty, the only ringfort in Ireland to be reconstructed on its original site.
Reason Number 2: It has Cork Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. Well it claims to be, along with ports in the UK and Canada (Port Jackson in Sydney, Australia holds the title for largest port in the world).
Along with Cobh, Cork Harbour is home to three military installations, Spike Island being the better known of these, having housed a prison, monastery and fortress on its 104 acres. It’s set to become a real tourism destination for Cork, after Cork County Council took over the island in July 2010. The council plans to develop Spike Island as a major visitor attraction that can retell the island’s 1400 year history.
Reason Number 3: Cork is the place for entertainment and the arts, and has been called Ireland’s city of festivals on occasion, home to the Cork Jazz Festival and the Cork Midsummer Festival. It can also lay claim to film and TV stars Cillian Murphy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Graham Norton, literary giants Frank O’Connor and Seán Ó Faoláin.
Reason Number 3: Cork city is the place to eat and drink, with everything from traditional eateries to trendy bars and restaurants. The nightlife is second to none, while families can enjoy both day- and night-time pursuits. There’s a plethora of shopping options also, including the English Market, which sells foods from all over the world.
Reason Number 4: Yes Dublin has Guinness, but Cork has created not one but two quality stouts in the form of Murphy’s and Beamish. Both ports can be enjoyed at the numerous establishments around the city and county, and it’s a well known fact that the stouts always taste better in their home towns.
Reason Number 5: Cork is home to the world-famous Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone, so Cork can singlehandedly boast responsibility for giving the entire island of Ireland the gift of the gab.