Cork tours and excursions
Forget a packed lunch and a stroll along the river, the Cork Tasting Trail is 2 hours 30 minutes of markets, mongers and munching around the Ireland's food capital. Taking in everything from butchers and bakers to the best boozers in the city, knowledgeable guides will show off the finest dining experiences around. All dietary requirements can be catered for.Tel: (021) 497 1245.
Franciscan Well and Brewery tour
This craft beer brewery is built on the site of a 13th-century monastery, whose well was said to have curative powers. Before visitors would come from far and wide to drink its magical water, but now they are attracted by the distinguished lagers, ales, stouts and wheat beers that are produced onsite. Tours of the brewery include a beer tasting package, but its brew pub is just next door if you're not ready for last orders.Tel: (021) 421 0130.
Treat yourself to a tipple or two on a whiskey trail at The Jameson Experience in Midleton, 24km (15 miles) from Cork. Ireland claims to have invented the 'water of life' and these tours give a good overview of the drink's history as well as the processes needed to make a dram and a drop. Guided tours are available throughout the year and visitors are taken through the old distillery and around the kilns, mills, water wheel, still house and distiller's cottage. At the end, there's time to reflect with a wee dram.Tel: (021) 461 3594.
If you're looking to explore Cork on two feet, there's a slew of interesting tours available in the city, from haunted routes to a historic harbour stroll in Kinsale. Among the best are the O.L.G.A. Cork tours, which last 90 minutes and takes in the culture and history of the city with state-qualified guides and The Titanic Trail, a route for maritime and military fans which breathes life into the history of Spike Island and convict transportation as well as the Titanic's fateful first voyage.Tel: (021) 488 5405; (021) 481 5211.
Tours of Cork city in open-top buses are operated by Cork City Tours. Ticket holders can hop on and off at any stop along the way, with tickets valid for two consecutive days. There are five tours each day starting from the Grand Parade which takes in sights such as Patrick's Quay, Shandon Steeple and Butter Museum, Sunday's Well and Cork City Gaol.Tel: (021) 430 9090
The picturesque town of Cóbh (pronounced 'Cove'), situated 26km (16 miles) from Cork city centre, is at the end of what is one of Ireland's loveliest railway stretches. Nestled on Great Island in Cork Harbour, this colourful seaport (formerly known as Queenstown) has more history to it than meets the eye. The Queenstown Story at the Cóbh Heritage Centre recreates the experiences of the 2.5 million Irish emigrants who left Ireland from here between 1848 and 1950. Cóbh was also the last port of call for the Titanic, an event remembered at the Titanic Experience Cóbh, a visitor attraction situated in the original offices of The White Star Line shipping company.Tel: (021) 481 3591.
For informed foodies, the harbour town of Kinsale, 29km (18 miles) south of Cork, is plated up as the gourmet capital of Ireland. With chefs and eateries accommodating all tastes and waists, visitors can indulge in anything from traditional, hearty pub grub to world famous seafood. A lunch in any of the town's restaurants or cafés should set up even the most ravenous traveller for an afternoon's sailing or golfing. If that seems a little too strenuous, gift shopping in the town's high-end craft shops should see visitors through until dinner.Tel: (021) 477 2234.