Cork airport is close to the city centre, there is a half hourly bus service to the main bus station on Parnell Street. Alternatively there are metered taxis outside the terminal which are reasonably priced. The airport building itself is new and very smart and there is an excellent bar on the airside doing a wide range of food and drinks.
Check out the usual booking sites such as www.booking.com or www.venere.com, we were recommended to try the Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, which is part of a small chain of hotels. It is in an excellent location for the bus station and the city centre. The staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful, the rooms large and comfortable and if you can get a quay side room with balcony, even better. The hotel has a selection of bars and restaurants.
Oysters at the Clarion Hotel is rightly listed as Cork’s top place to eat. There is an excellent early evening offer, but push out the boat and go for the a la carte. The food and service are top notch and the restaurant has a lovely ambience, it is highly recommended.
Kudos, which is part of the Clarion, has an Asian menu and a good bar area with outside seating on the quay for the warmer weather.
The English Market has great food for a picnic, a café and other places to get snacks such as gourmet sausages in a roll and excellent sandwiches and rolls.
Arthur Mayne Wine Bar, Pembroke Street does great cold meat and cheese platters and also has a system for loading up a prepaid card and then self dispensing your wines from a temperature controlled selection.
Hi B, 108 Oliver Plunkett Street, this is a Cork institution and hadn’t changed in the 27 years since my last visit. It is up an unassuming flight of stairs, then is like entering an old fashioned front room with an open fire and a bar full of regulars however a word of warning, it can be difficult to leave!
The Long Valley, Winthrop Street, almost opposite the Hi B, is another old time Cork gem, a lovely bar with the best and largest sandwiches in the city.
Arthur Mayne Wine Bar, Pembroke Street, see above under restaurants, but if you just want an excellent glass of wine then do not hesitate. It is incredibly popular but there always seems to be room for another couple of people.
The Mutton Inn, Mutton Lane off Patrick Street, one of the oldest pubs in Cork, this is a wonderful candle lit bar with a fabulous mural in the outside lane, if there is ever any space from which to admire it.
Sin E, 8 Coburg Street, across the river on the Shandon side, this is famous for its traditional music and also for the pub itself which is lovely. They have a good selection of beers and not just the usual ones.
Bodega, St Peters Market is worth a visit, it seems to be a bar, restaurant and night club as well as a gallery and very popular with a younger crowd.
Le Chateau, Patrick Street, we enjoyed our visit and the owner was chatty and friendly however there are a number of items posted about the staff and owner on web sites which are less than complimentary. We had no evidence of this, it catered for a more mature clientele and had a large selection of wines and whiskeys.
An Bhodran, 42 Oliver Plunkett Street, another venue with live music, cosy and welcoming.
Counihans, 3 Pembroke Street, is another well known Cork bar, it has a couple of bars and judging by the crowds at night it is one of the more popular venues.
The Sextant, Albert Quay, opposite the Clarion this was a real find, a lovely bar doing food including pizzas and Sunday brunch, friendly staff.
Cork is home to Beamish stout which although it looks like Guinness has a slightly different and in my view a better taste. There is nothing like sampling a glass of Beamish in one of Cork’s many lovely bars.
The English Market, the selection of produce is fantastic, as good as any I have seen in France and Spain, try some of the stalls for lunchtime snacks.
Shandon, visit the butter museum, St Annes church and play the bells and wander round the lanes of this historic part of the city.