Cork (pop. 150,000), the country’s second-largest city, serves as the center of the sports, music, and arts scenes in Southwest Ireland. Cork is a great place to eat and sleep for those who want to explore the surrounding countryside, but the city itself is well worth a visit.
TRANSPORTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION
Cork is compact and pedestrian-friendly. St. Patrick’s Street becomes Grand Parade to the west; to the north it crosses Merchant’s Quay, home of the bus station. Across St. Patrick’s Bridge, to the north, McCurtain Street runs east to Lower Gianmire Road and the train station, before becoming the N8 to Dublin, Waterford, and Cobh. Downtown action concentrates on the vaguely parallel Paul Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, and St. Patrick’s Street. Their connecting north-south avenues are overflowing with shops, and all are largely pedestrian and easy to traverse.
Trains: Kent Station (450 6766), on Lower Glanmire Rd. across the river from the city center. Open M-Sa 6:30am-8:00pm, Su 7:50am-8pm. Connections to: Dublin (3hr. 5- 7 per day, â‚¬52); Killarney (2hr. 4-7 per day, â‚¬26); Limerick (lVihr. 4-7 per day, â‚¬26); Tralee (2hrâž 3 per day, â‚¬31).
Buses: (450 8188), Parnell PL, 2 blocks east of St. Patrick’s Bridge on Merchant’s Quay. Info desk open daily 9am-6pm. Bus Eireann (450 8188, www.buseireann.ie) goes to: Dublin (4â˜2hr. 5-6 per day, â‚¬20-33); Galway (4hr. 4-7 per day, â‚¬17-27); Killarney (2hr. 10-13 per day, â‚¬13-21); Limerick (2hr. 14 per day, â‚¬14-21); Rosslare Harbour (4hr. 3 per day, â‚¬19-30); Sligo (7hr. 5 per day, â‚¬23-37); Tralee (212hr. 12 per day, â‚¬14-22); Waterford (2â˜4hr. 13 per day, â‚¬15-23).
Public Transportation: City buses crisscross the city and its suburbs every 10-30min. (M-Sa 7:30am-ll:15pm, Su 10am-ll:15pm; from â‚¬0.95). From downtown, catch buses along St. Patrick St. across from the Father Matthew statue.
Tourist Office: (425 5100), on Grand Parade, near the corner of South Mall, along the Lee’s south channel. Open June-Aug. M-F 9am-6pm, Sa 9am-5:00pm; Sept.-May M-Sa 9:15am-5:30pm.
Banks: Ulster Bank Limited, 88 St. Patrick’s St. (427 0618). Open M 10am-5pm and Tu-F 10am-4pm. Bank of Ireland, 70 St. Patrick’s St. (427 7177). Open M 10am- 5pm, Tu-F 10am-4pm. Most banks in Cork have 24hr. ATMs.
Emergency: 999; no coins required. Police (Garda): (452 2000), on Anglesea St. Pharmacies: Regional Late Night Pharmacy (434 4575), on Wilton Rd. opposite the Regional Hospital on bus #8. Open M-F 9am-10pm, Sa-Su lOam-lOpm. Phelan’s Late Night, 9 Patrick St. (427 2511). Open M-Sa 9am-10pm, Su lOam-lOpm.
Hospital: Mercy Hospital (427 1971), on Grenville PI. â‚¬25 fee for emergency room access. Cork Regional Hospital (454 6400), on Wilton St. on the #8 bus.
Internet Access: UWeb Workhouse (434 3090), on Winthrop St. near the post office. â‚¬2.50-5 per hr. Open daily 24hr.
Post Office: (427 2000), on Oliver Plunkett St. Open M-Sa 9am-5:30pm.
B&Bs are clustered along Patrick’s Hill, on Glanmire Road rising upward from St. Patrick’s Bridge, and on Western Road near University College.
Ei Sheila’s Budget Accommodation Centre (IHH), 4 Belgrave PI. (450 5562; www.sheilashostel.ie). At the intersection of Wellington St. and York St. Helpful, energetic staff. Breakfast â‚¬3.20. Internet â‚¬1 per 20min. 24hr. reception desk is also a general store. Check-out 10am. Dorms â‚¬15-16; singles â‚¬30; doubles â‚¬40-50. O Hi Clare D’Arcy B&B, 7 Sidney Place, Wellington Rd. (450 4658; www.darcysguest- house.com). From St. Patrick’s Bridge, start up St. Patrick’s Hill, turning right onto Wellington Rd. A luxurious guesthouse with an elegant Parisian interior. Doubles â‚¬80. O Cork International Hostel (An OigeHI), 1-2 Redclyffe, Western Rd. (454 3289). A 15min. walk from Grand Parade. Bus #8 stops across the street. Immaculate and spacious bunk rooms in a stately brick Victorian townhouse. All rooms with bath. Breakfast â‚¬3.50. Internet â‚¬1 per lOmin. Reception 10:30am-midnight. Dorms â‚¬17-19; doubles â‚¬44; under-18, reduced prices. 0
Kinlay House (IHH), on Bob and Joan Walk (450 8966). To the right of Shandon Church. Offers family-sized rooms and a warm atmosphere. Breakfast included. Laundry â‚¬7. Internet â‚¬1 per 15min. Dorms â‚¬14; singles â‚¬25-30; triples â‚¬54; quads â‚¬72. O Acorn House, 14 Patrick’s Hill (n’450 2474; www.acornhouse-cork.com). Elegant Georgian townhouse. Streetside rooms are best. Singles â‚¬45; doubles â‚¬90; off-season prices are negotiable. Q
Roman House, 3 St. John’s Terr. Upper John St. (450 3606). Colorfully decorated in decadence, Roman House is Cork’s only B&B catering specifically to gay and lesbian travelers (though all are welcome). Bath, oversized armchair, coffee machine, and TV in every room. Vegetarian breakfast option available. Singles â‚¬40; doubles â‚¬60. O Hotel Isaacs, 48 MacCurtain St. (450 0011; www.isaacs.ie). Modem decor that is sleek yet homey. Breakfast included. Standard rooms (most of which have been newly renovated) from â‚¬48; superior rooms from â‚¬72. O