Cork City


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One of Cork's many charms is this watery setting and, with its narrow alleys and waterways, the city is reminiscent of Amsterdam. Like its Dutch cousin, Cork has culture, history and charm by the bucketload, yet still manages to retain its country town charm. Cork has always been an important port and some of the city streets are actually built over channels where ships used to dock a century or more ago. On the South Mall you can still see gateways at street level under steps leading to a higher door. These are former boathouses, and were used by merchants to reach their warehouses by boat. This is also where you'll see some of the finest examples of the city's Georgian architecture, in the form of those merchants' town houses. The city is divided into north and south. North of the river is the Shandon area, the historic part of the city. To the south, you'll find most of the visitor attractions, such as the Anglican St Fin Barre's Cathedral, the Cork Museum, Cork Gaol and the City Hall. But this isn't a city where you carry around a thick guidebook, ticking 'been there, done that' as you race through the streets. Rather it's a place for ambling around at a leisurely Irish pace to see what surprise awaits you round the next corner, be it a fine Georgian building, a welcoming pub or a tiny shop selling traditional musical instruments.