Cork

The arc of St Patrick’s Street
The English Market 
The Cork Public Museum

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Cork

Irish Spirit

When you step ashore from your MSC Northern Europe cruise in Cork, everywhere there is evidence of its history as a great mercantile centre, with grey-stone quaysides, old warehouses, and elegant, quirky bridges spanning the River Lee to each side of the city’s island core.
 
But equally powerful draws are its lively atmosphere and large student population, combined with a vibrant social and cultural scene. Massive stone walls built by invading Normans in the twelfth century were destroyed by William III’s forces during the Siege of Cork in 1690, after which waterborne trade brought increasing prosperity, as witnessed by the city’s fine eighteenth-century bow-fronted houses and ostentatious nineteenth-century churches.

The graceful arc of St Patrick’s Street – which with Grand Parade forms the commercial heart of the centre – is crammed with major chain stores. Just off here on Princes Street, the English Market offers the chance to sample local delicacies like drisheen (a peppered sausage made from a sheep’s stomach lining and blood).

The west of the city is predominantly residential, though Fitzgerald Park is home to the Cork Public Museum, which focuses on Republican history. Kinsale, 25km south of Cork city, is also waiting to be enjoyed on an MSC Northern Europe cruise excursion. Kinsale enjoys a glorious setting at the head of a sheltered harbour around the mouth of the Bandon River.

Two imposing forts and a fine tower-house remain as evidence of its former importance as a trading port, and Kinsale has built on its cosmopolitan links to become the culinary capital of the southwest. Add in plenty of opportunities for watersports on the fine local beaches and a number of congenial pubs, and you have a very appealing, upscale resort town.

Must see places in Cork

  • Blarney castle

    Blarney castle

  • Kinsale

    Kinsale

  • Lismore Castle

    Lismore Castle

Discover our excursions

4 results found

  • INTRODUCTION TO CORK & BLARNEY CASTLE

    CITY TOUR

    ORK01

    Leave the port for a panoramic sightseeing tour of Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. The busy city is just as much an industrial centre as it is a major shopping destination. The principal streets are lined with fashion houses and department stores stocking top-quality Irish goods. After passing the city’s principal sights including the University, the Opera House and St. Fin Barre's Cathedral, the tour continues with a visit to the lovely village of Blarney and Blarney Castle for a step back in time. Those who wish to be blessed with the “gift of the gab” should not miss this great opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone, which is just one of the castle’s attractions. Please note: this tour involves a lot of walking at Blarney Castle and is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. Please also be aware that the steps leading to the Blarney Stone are narrow and steep. There can be a long wait in line to kiss the Blarney Stone. Limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. All visits on the sightseeing tour of Cork are external.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

  • THE TOWN OF KINSALE & CHARLES FORT

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    ORK06

    On leaving Cork, you will first travel through the River Lee Tunnel on your way to Kinsale in the south of County Cork. Kinsale is a place where the quality of the environment itself is a very strong attraction, winning the European prize for Tourism and then Environment. This pretty little town nestles snugly between the hills and the valley and is believed to have been founded by the Anglo-Normans in around A.D. 1177. It was a magnificent naval base in the 17th and 18th centuries. You will have time to explore Kinsale on foot, browse in the shops and soak up the local atmosphere. The tour then continues on to Charles Fort, a classic example of a star-shaped keep that was constructed in the early 1680s in honour of King Charles II. After visiting the fort, you will return to the port. Please note: as this tour involves some walking on uneven ground, it is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. Limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

  • SOUTHERN IRELAND AND LISMORE GARDENS

    SCENIC ROUTE

    ORK07

    The road to Lismore twists and turns across County Cork, passing through rural areas, villages and small towns where time seems to have stood still. The route will also take you through the Blackwater Valley, one of the prettiest parts of Ireland with bucolic scenes of neat patchwork fields and hedgerows. The massive square towers and battlements of Lismore Castle and the cathedral steeple that rise above the surrounding woodland announce the approach of the market town of Lismore. The castle that stands today was rebuilt in the 19thcentury by the 6th Duke of Devonshire and is still occupied by his descendants today. You will have an opportunity to visit the castle’s extensive and historical gardens, which are set within the 17th-century outer defensive walls and afford spectacular views of the castle itself. The gardens are believed to be the oldest in Ireland and retain much of their original Jacobean form. After the visit, you will return to the port. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. The tour does not include a visit to the Castle.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

  • OLD JAMESON DISTILLERY

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    ORK05

    Your visit to the Old Jameson/Old Midleton Distillery begins with an audiovisual presentation on the history and making of Irish whiskey followed by a guided tour of the distillery itself that will show you the various historical buildings that comprise the Heritage Centre. Many of the artefacts of Old Midleton remain, along with wonderful displays, photographs and superbly restored machinery and dramatic recreations. During your visit at the Old Midleton Distillery, you will have time to browse in the gift shop and, if so inclined, purchase a bottle of Irish whiskey to take home. Your tour concludes with your return to port and your ship. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than English. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in English only. The visit to the Distillery is extensive and involves climbing stairs (35 steps) however there are ramps and elevators. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • Tasting included

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4 h

The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
 
Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

Ireland

Where the land is greener
Where the land is greener

A cruise to Ireland will fulfill all your romantic preconceptions. An uncommon geological richness and the warming effect of the Atlantic produce an astonishing diversity of terrain on this small island, which is splashed throughout with lakes and primeval bogland.


In the east, the crumpled granite of the Wicklow Hills sits in utter contrast to the horse-grazing plain of the Curragh just a few kilometres away, and in Connemara on the west coast, you can walk from beach to mountain to fen, from seaweed-strewn inlet to lily-covered lough, in a matter of hours.

Dublin
is the Republic’s main entry-point, a confident capital whose raw, modern energy is complemented by rich cultural traditions, and which boasts outstanding medieval monuments and the richly varied exhibits of the National Gallery and National Museum.

South of the city, the desolate Wicklow Mountains offer a breathtaking contrast to city life. On Ireland’s southern coast, Cork’s shoreline is punctuated by secluded estuaries, rolling headlands and historic harbours, while Cork city itself is the region’s hub, with a vibrant cultural scene.
Stunning early Christian monuments abound, too, including the Rock of Cashel and atmospheric sites at Clonmacnoise, Glendalough and Monasterboice.