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Top 5 heritage & cultural sights of south west Ireland

In my previous blog you’ve read about the most Instagrammable spots, the colorful houses and very photogenic markets & shops of Cork County. And saw many pictures already of all the beautiful towns and sites we visited during our 3 day press trip through this largest and most southern county of Ireland.

But naturally the more traditional sights of Ireland are highly photogenic and very Instagrammable as well! Especially when you like old rugged buildings, ruins and the wide nature plains which Ireland is so well known for.

Pic credits: Zoover

As expected we took many pictures of that as well and visited several castles, forts, cultural and heritage sites in this south west part of Ireland.

In this blog I will show you my 5 favourites through my own pics and some of the Zoover team, all locations marked in purple on this map of Cork County:

1. Cork City Gaol

Although Cork itself has a rich history and archeological heritage my favourite sight of the city was located just outside it, where this big castle-like building is situated up a hill, looking out over the area.

This 19th century prison displays prison life and tells fascinating stories of several of the inmates’ lives in that period of time.

The grounds are stunning as well and a visit is certainly recommended if you appreciate architecture, heritage and history as much as I do. Read all about it here:

Pic credits: Zoover

(Click on the smaller pics to see the big version and description)

2. Charles Fort

These beautiful rugged 17th century Fort ruins on the south coast of Ireland cannot be missed, and make a perfect combination with a visit to Kinsale, located very nearby, about which you can read more in my previous blog.

Pic credits: Zoover

The outer walls of the Fort are freely accessible and stunningly located on the coast with impressive nature surroundings and viewpoints. But a guided tour inside the ruins to learn more about its history is fascinating as well.

3. Blarney Castle & Gardens

Exactly what I expected to find in Ireland. This sturdy nearly 600 years old building is one of the most popular attractions in Cork County and is said to be one of Ireland's greatest treasures. You can climb to the top of the castle tower to enjoy the magnificent views and get in line to kiss the Blarney Stone, of which legend says makes you eloquent.

Pic credits: Zoover

But as I am already quite outspoken 😊 and appreciate a good nature walk, I preferred to wander around the extensive castle gardens of this Medieval sight: BlarneyCastle

4. Titanic Experience Cobh

Situated in the heart of Cobh, a beautiful town on the south coast of Ireland, and the most important port of emigration of the country in the 19th century.

Next to being a very picturesque and photogenic town, Cobh is also home to the original White Star Line Ticket Office, the last port of call for the iconic RMS Titanic.

Pic credits: Zoover

This building is now transformed into the Titanic Experience Museum where you can learn all about the ship’s fate and the story of several passengers that boarded the ship on the 11th of April 1912. When you buy your ticket you will receive a boarding card with the details of 1 of the 123 people who were the last ones to join the Titanic on its tragic maiden voyage.

(Click on the smaller pics to see the big version and description)

Experience life aboard the ship and see under which circumstances the different classes traveled, very interesting differences between first & third class.

Pic credits: Zoover

At the end you can find out if ''your passenger'' survived the tragedy and if they did learn more about the rest of their lives, like my passenger: Margaret Devaney, who even lived on until the late 1900’s! Read all about it here: TitanicExperienceCobh

5.Crawford Art Gallery Cork

This freely accessible National Cultural Institution is located in the heart of Cork city, displaying visual arts, both historic and contemporary.

The historical building showcases different exhibitions throughout the year including a permanent collection of Greek and Roman sculpture casts, from the Vatican Museum in Rome, about which you can read more here: CrawfordArtGallery

Lunch in a casual setting at the Gallery Café or on the outdoor terrace is also recommended.

Pic credits: Zoover

And for a real stylish Irish dinner in Cork city I would certainly plan an evening at this beautiful award-winning restaurant, which used to be a Turkish bath house, and serves excellent organic food:

Pic credits: Zoover

What do you think of my top 5 and are you eager to visit Ireland as well? If you do would you prefer visiting these cultural and traditional heritage sights, or would you rather explore more of the colorful quaint towns and shops in my previous blog? You can find all my Ireland blogs on this page!

Always happy to hear from you in the comments or do find me on social media.

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