The wonderful towns of Cork
Cork is Ireland’s southernmost county, and is also the largest. There’s a lot of coastline, most of which is rocky and dramatic, but there are some amazing beaches, like Barleycove, Inchydoney and Owenahincha.
The town of Cobh is a naturally sheltered harbour, which made it a significant embarkation point for naval fleets during the Napoleonic Wars of the 18th century, emigration and prison ships in the 19th century, and the glamorous transatlantic liners of the 20th century. Today it is a seaside and sailing resort, with brightly painted Regency frontages above little shops and restaurants.
Youghal is a lovely walled seaport and one of the best-preserved 13th-century market towns in Europe. Legend has it that this is where Sir Walter Raleigh first smoked tobacco from the New World and planted the first potato in Irish soil.
Cork, the county capital, is a vibrant, modern university city. Its status as a European Capital of Culture in 2005 resulted in major development throughout the city’s shopping areas. The city’s heart lies between the north and south channels of the River Lee. Its waterways and many bridges have given it the soubriquet of ‘Ireland’s Venice’.