Should you visit Cork or Waterford?

Need to style of metropolis life outdoors Dublin in your Irish journey? Cork and Waterford have nice enchantment. 

You’ve had your fill of castles and rolling inexperienced hills in your journey to Ireland. You’re in all probability craving some metropolis time proper about now. 

Since Dublin is the place most guests begin off their journey, we advocate looking for out the Irish city spirit in a regional metropolis – and two cities come instantly to thoughts. If it’s important to decide one, would it not be Cork or Waterford?

Two knowledgeable writers have their very own sturdy opinions. We’ll allow them to make the case from right here.

The case for Cork: suppose Austin meets Manchester 

A author and professor who’s written books on Éamon de Valera, Brendan Behan and Muhammad Ali, Dave Hannigan is now based mostly in New York – but eternally related to his hometown of Cork.

Almost 1 / 4 century after I departed Eire for New York, my mom’s sage recommendation nonetheless lingers. “By no means ask somebody if they’re from Cork, boy,” she suggested. “If they’re, they’ll inform you, and in the event that they’re not – properly, you don’t wish to embarrass them.”

People walking on the street along the bank of the River Lee, Cork City, County Cork, Ireland
Thanks to 2 branches of the River Lee that circulate by way of the middle, there’s loads of waterfront in Cork Metropolis © Madrugada Verde / Shutterstock

Each summer time I return – the bashful prodigal son, the wide-eyed day tripper – and am all the time thrilled to see that amid a lot change our (ahem…) innate self-belief stays intact. For natives, the very notion of evaluating the Folks’s Republic of Cork to Waterford as a vacation spot could be as wrongheaded as not understanding that Murphy’s Stout, the native nectar, is much superior to Guinness, its extra globally well-known rival. The world ought to actually know higher.

With a various musical custom starting from blues maestro Rory Gallagher to legendary home duo Fish Go Deep, Cork combines the weirdness aesthetic of Austin with the cultural overload of Manchester.

The Gothic Revival facade of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork City, County Cork, Ireland
St Fin Barre’s Cathedral is one in every of Cork Metropolis’s most placing monuments © ariadna de raadt / Shutterstock

The gothic marvel of St Fin barre’s

Ivy-clad University College Cork, Victorian quadrangle and all, sprawls on the doorstep of a metropolis bisected by two meandering branches of the River Lee and spanned by so many storied bridges. Stand on Nano Nagle (named for the founding father of the Presentation Sisters), and gaze upriver at St Fin barre’s Cathedral, a three-spired Gothic Revival marvel that my philistine American sons all the time evaluate to the Disney citadel.

From there, stroll up Barrack St. As you climb the picket ramparts of Elizabeth Fort, attempt to think about the plight of a nervous guard standing sentry there within the seventeenth century. When you’ve imbibed sufficient historical past, nip into Tom Barry’s, a close-by charmer of a pub with a beer backyard that provides a extremely regarded outside pizza oven and conversations with an eclectic clientele.

Whereas the brand new, hipper Marina Market not too long ago sprung up within the docklands to cement Cork’s fame as a foodie’s paradise, the English Market has lengthy attracted worldwide tv journey reveals (and even, famously, Queen Elizabeth II). Count on a smorgasbord of native produce like artisanal cheeses and black pudding. The number of contemporary fish on supply serves as a reminder Cork is a port city that has all the time confronted south towards Europe.

Queen Elizabeth II and fishmonger Pat O’Connell May 20, 2011 at English Market, Cork City, County Cork, Ireland
Well-known guests to Cork’s English Market have included Queen Elizabeth II © Chris Jackson /AFP through Getty Pictures

Therefore the Huguenot Quarter, a warren of medieval laneways first settled by 18th-century French spiritual refugees, at present speckled with eating places and cafes. Its slender streets wend towards a single block of tradition containing the immense Crawford Art Gallery and the Opera House, which shares a quayside with Vibes & Scribes, the final, nice secondhand bookstore on the town.

The presence of not one however two jail museums – City Gaol on the north financial institution and Spike Island squatting low within the harbor – displays the town’s troubled previous and its enduring, fiercely impartial spirit.

Waterford is a spot you may go to. Cork is a way of thinking. One thing you expertise.

Waterford: medieval ruins and nightclubs

Amy O’Connor is an Irish author and comic who takes the enchantment of her native Waterford very critically.

For a very long time, Waterford was one thing of an afterthought. Regardless of being Eire’s oldest metropolis – sure, it’s a metropolis, greater than only a county – and having an abundance of facilities on its doorstep, it lived considerably within the shadow of its extra boastful neighbor, Cork. Publish-pandemic, nonetheless, this sleeping large has arisen and folks have cottoned on to what Waterfordians have all the time identified: that Waterford is bloody class.

For many years, Waterford was synonymous with one factor and one factor solely: Waterford Crystal. The agency’s closure in 2009 devastated the town – however Waterford is nothing if not resilient, and it dusted itself off and set about crafting a brand new id. The end result? A rejuvenated metropolis that hums historical past and pulsating with promise, one the place heritage and modernity dwell harmoniously aspect by aspect.

Panoramic view of a cityscape and harbor at night with illumination in Waterford, County Waterford, Ireland
The oldest metropolis in Eire, Waterford is trying to the longer term © Madrugada Verde / Shutterstock

Central to Waterford’s id is its wealthy historical past. In spite of everything, this can be a metropolis the place medieval ruins sit adjoining to chippers and nightclubs. To acquaint your self with Waterford’s previous, begin on the Viking Triangle. Marvel at Reginald’s Tower, the majestic stone fortress that has loomed giant over the quayside for over 800 years. Cease into the Medieval Museum to admire the treasures unearthed over the many years. Take a photograph subsequent to the statue of Aoife and Strongbow – a pair whose Waterford marriage ceremony was so seismic that it helped precipitate the Norman Invasion. (And also you thought Harry and Meghan’s marriage ceremony was dramatic.)

The long-lasting mile lengthy quay

After that, it’s time to understand the town in its up to date type. With a largely pedestrianized metropolis heart and enviable public areas, Waterford lends itself significantly properly to exploring and folks watching. Seize a espresso from Arch Coffee, then plop your self down on a bench in John Roberts Sq to observe the world go by. Pay a go to to the Book Centre, a cinema–turned–e book store that ranks among the many finest in Eire. Take a stroll down the long-lasting mile-long quay and have a browse in impartial artisan shops like CC Creatives and Bébhínn.

Feeling peckish? Waterford’s culinary providing is positively cosmopolitan as of late. Poke your head into Phoenix Yard Market and pattern every little thing from Afro-Caribbean avenue meals to hearty Hungarian fare. For a sit-down meal, don’t look previous an atmospheric supper within the award-winning Everett’s or the sensational tasting menu in The Old Couch Café. Wash all of it down with a pint from Tully’s, ideally one thing from native outfit Hopfully Brewing Co.

The Kilmacthomas Viaduct on the Waterford Greenway, Cooper Coast, County Waterford, Ireland
The fantastic Waterford Greenway is just a brief pedal away from Waterford Metropolis © Getty Pictures

One in all Waterford’s largest belongings is its proximity to the good outdoor. Very quickly, yow will discover your self ambling down the promenade in Tramore or feasting on fish and chips in Dunmore East. The actual jewel within the crown, nonetheless, is the Waterford Greenway. Hire a motorbike and lose your self alongside this wonderful path, which takes you from Waterford Metropolis to Dungarvan, with loads of pit stops alongside the way in which. To paraphrase Lou Reed, this has all of the makings of an ideal day.

The good Waterford hurler John Mullane as soon as tearfully remarked, “I loves me county.” And with good motive; there’s lots to like. We haven’t all the time been the very best at constructing ourselves up – actually not compared to our Corkonian counterparts. However usually those that shout the loudest have the least to say.

Waterford Metropolis speaks for itself.

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