Cork, the largest county in Ireland spans 7,457 km² and it’s safe to say, each and every kilometer is filled with either picture perfect landscape or a tourist attraction of some sort.
If asked what are the must-sees in the Rebel county, a proud Corkonian would bost famous places such as The English Market, Blarney Castle, Cobh, Fota Wildlife Park and West Cork towns such as Clonakilty and Baltimore.
We’re here to let you in on a few secrets Cork natives don’t want you to know about - their own little gems they like to keep to themselves.
1.Lennox’s Fish and Chip Shop
Located at 137 Bandon Road on the southside of Cork, it’s been serving top notch newspaper-wrapped fish and chips since 1951.
The family business, started by Jackie Lennox in the late 40s, were the first to introduce the “metal bar queuing system”, a system which still in place in the shop today.
He also bought one of the first TV sets in Cork, which he placed in the shop.
A 'plaice' full of history and we promise it won't disapoint from the great reviews we've been 'herring'.
2. Toy Soldier Factory
The Toy Soldier Factory is located in Kilnamartyra (which is halfway between Killarney town and Cork City on the main N22 road - only a short distance from Macroom town).
A look around the factory itself is free to the public but for €10 you can take part in their 40min Make and Paint workshops, where you can cast and paint your very own toy solider to bring home with you.
How it works: When you arrive you will choose the mould you want to cast (e.g. toy soldier, cavalry, ballerina, fairy, etc). Then you cast your piece with the help of one of their staff.
You then visit the creative corner, choose your colours and just start painting.
3. Night Kayaking at Lough Hyne
Cork, specifically West Cork is known for its award-winning seafood selection and surf spots but there’s one water-based activity that tends to pass under the radar.
Kayaking - Night Kayaking to be exact.
Atlantic Sea Kayaking are known for their Starlight Moonlight tours which promise to be as magical as they sound.
4. The Triskel
The Triskel Art Centre, located in Cork city centre, is home to one of Ireland’s - if not Ireland’s - most beautiful cinemas.
The theatre itself is located in an 18th century church building and specialises in screening independent films.
5. Adopt a donkey at the Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary is located in Liscaroll, Mallow and home to 134 donkeys who at one point in their lives were in need of rescuing.
The sanctuary's mission is to transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules and people worldwide through greater understanding, collaboration and support, and by promoting lasting, mutually life-enhancing relationships.
You can even adopt of one the adorable animals and help them in their work of improving the lives of countless donkeys throughout Ireland.
Your adoption of €25 will last one year. For this you will receive:
An official certificate
A pencil drawing
A bio sheet
A twice yearly report
This farm is open to the public 365 days a year from 9am until 5pm.
6. The Castle Inn
The Castle Inn is one of Cork's oldest working pubs and if you didn’t know, you’d think you were in a small rural town in the outskirts of Ballygobackwards and not smack-bang in the middle of Cork city.
There’s a strictly no-music policy and the one TV only comes on for the 9 O’Clock news and the All-Ireland finals.
The pub has only one cubicle, a urinal and a garden tap to wash your hands under.
Full to the brim of character, the Castle Inn is an absolute MUST when visiting Cork.
It is located on South Main street close to Washington Street (across the way from Wagamamas).