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Hot spots in Cork, Ireland

May 14, 2014 - 3:00pm
Witness the magnificence of Cork.

While Dublin and Belfast get all of the attention, senior travel groups can find a wealth of engaging attractions in Cork. As the third-largest city in Ireland, Cork is a busy, welcoming destination that features coastal cliff vistas, gorgeous cathedrals and delectable culinary markets that overlook the waterways. This best way to travel this hilly southern seaport is by foot, where visitors get a full Irish experience.The locals will gladly share insider tips and hotspots. Yet until visitors meet them, they can check out these top draws in Cork:  

St. Fin Barre's Cathedral 
There's no doubt that St. Fin Barre's Cathedral dominates the skyline and almost all postcards of Cork. Built in 1870, this structure is the oldest Catholic church in Cork city. The church was constructed of limestone and sandstone, but a major extension in 1875 added a new sanctuary and sacristy, which a senior travel tour can behold first-hand. Architecture lovers can soak in the three stunning Victorian spires and ornate decorations over the facade. Inside is no less spectacular, with marble floors designed by Italian craftsmen and massive pillars rising up to stained glass windows. The Bishop's throne, which stands 46 feet tall, grants the Bishop a comfy seat whenever he attends, if that's not enough, people come from near and far to hear St. Fin Barre's choir.

Fota Wildlife Park
The Fota Wildlife Park is the most visited tourist attraction in Cork. It is situated on 70 acres on the picturesque Fota Island near Cork Harbour, less than 20 miles from Cork City. Unlike ordinary zoos, this park allows animals and birds to roam freely. Since it first opened its gates, Fota has been home to thousands of animals, ranging from the kangaroos to lemur to Indian Peafowl. Visitors enjoy spotting the highly endangered species such as the European bison, Rothschild's giraffe and scimitar-horned Oryx. For flora aficionados, there are also plenty of trees and plants, both native and foreign to Ireland. Get up close and personal to stunning beasts and botany at this amazing animal haven. 

The English Market
Travelers can discover a bustling social hub of Cork at the English Market. Brimming with small traders, organic products and a blend of traditional Cork cuisine and international foods, the market offers an unparalleled culinary diversity. This must-see spot is why the city is known for its fresh local produce. Bring home new herbs and spices or dig into a chocolates and cakes. English celebrity chef Rick Stein even declared it the "best covered market in the U.K. and Ireland."

Ballycotton Cliff Walk
The Ballycotton Cliff Walk is an under-the-radar spot that takes coastal scenes to the next level. To start the walk, the tour group can drive into Ballycotton village which offers a stunning view of two offshore islands and a giant lighthouse. From the cliff walk, visitors can look across the Celtic sea and catch a glimpse at many different sea birds. The trail does a full circle back to the village, making for some good exercise and even better vistas.

Cork City Gaol
Take a walk through history at this 19th century castle-like structure that used to house prisoners. Sight seers get a fascinating insight into what a day in the life of a prisoner within the high walls, ensuring no escape. For a scarier visit, take a night tour, where you might encounter the ghosts of past inmates. It is certainly one of the finest examples of the Emerald Isle's architectural heritage. 

Between the cathedrals, markets and animals, travelers in Cork will have plenty to see and do.