Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Eco Travel Guide to Cork, Ireland


If you’re planning an escape to Cork and looking for some tips for making the most of your stay, we’ve got you covered.

Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, behind Dublin, and is often hailed as the country’s cultural hub. It’s a multi-faceted city, with a buzzing nightlife scene, fantastic art galleries, and world-class food and drink, all built on a foundation of deep tradition and history. Here’s how to plan an eco-friendly stay. 

Where to stay

River Lee Hotel Cork

River Lee Hotel

This Green Tourism Program 4-star participating hotel is committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility, supports local producers, and keeps electricity to a minimum. Enjoy stunning views of the city center and river. Easy access to downtown highlights including restaurants, galleries, and shopping.

clayton hotel cork

Clayton Hotel

Another Green Tourism Program participant, this 4-star hotel is working to reduce its footprint with LED lighting, waste diversion, eco-friendly toiletries, and energy conservation efforts. Enjoy a dip at the hotel pool, visit the sauna, or head out to explore the local landmarks just a few minutes from the hotel.

Hayfield Manor

Hayfield Manor

Dive into self care at the luxe 5-star Hayfield Manor, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, where the Beautique Spa will transport you to another world of healing and calm. From aromatherapy to boy wraps and scrubs, you’ll never want to leave. A member of Green Hospitality Ireland and the Killarney Hotels Sustainability Group, the hotel has a long list of sustainability commitments including reducing food waste and plastic use, sustainable cleaning products, and improving its recycling efforts. It also measures its carbon impact using the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI), a methodology and tool that enables us to measure and report on carbon emissions in a consistent way.

Where to eat

Cuisine might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Ireland, but Cork has some fantastic restaurants and eateries that are an absolute must for any visiting foodie. There’s a good reason why it’s known as the culinary capital of Ireland. 

Check out the numerous local cafes for an authentic Irish lunch or breakfast, while for dinner you can visit the Michelin-star Japanese restaurant Ichigo Ichie. 

Take a trip to Cork’s English Market. Established in 1788, it’s the oldest covered market in Europe. There you’ll find an incredible assortment of both local and artisan food, housed in a building with breathtaking Victorian architecture. 

cafe paradiso cork

Café Paradiso

Sample small plant-based dishes tapas style at the vegetarian bistro, Paradiso. The sampling menu features nine savory dishes, each focused on a seasonal vegetable, served in three courses of three. Be sure to pair with the wines on offer, all selected to complement the meal.

sonflour cork


This plant-based café has a sustainable focus with an Italian made-to-order menu featuring pizza, linguine, ravioli, vegan desserts and more and an ambience worthy of a vacation. Find out why it gets all the rave reviews.

heron cafe cork

Heron Gallery Café

The Heron Gallery Café is an art gallery, artist’s studio, and garden besides offering a small seasonal menu. Salads are made from garden-grown ingredients, and the kitchen prioritizes other local offerings whenever possible. It’s so focused on local and seasonal eats that the café is only open from March to September.


irish pub
Courtesy Nikola Jovanovic | Unsplash

It’s Ireland, so go have a drink

The Irish know how to party, and the local residents of Cork are no exception. Check out some of the city’s innumerable bars and pubs and soak in the atmosphere. If it’s tradition you’re looking for, visit some of the city’s ancient Irish pubs for an old-fashioned experience. If you’re looking for something more modern, Cork is home to a range of stylish cocktail bars for the young and hip population of the city. 

live music
Courtesy Txus Garcia | Unsplash

Listen to live music

Cork is a city of music lovers, and this is reflected in the fantastic and varied lineups seen across the city’s venues every week. Traditional Irish music is prevalent, while Cork has a thriving and buzzing jazz scene. If you’re wanting to take the party to the next level, Cork is a student city so it has plenty of nightclubs and discos on offer.

cork ireland
Courtesy Davide Boscolo | Unsplash

Take a tour

Cork is an old and storied city, with its modern elements and developments sitting right alongside remnants of the Cork of yesteryear. Walking tours can lead you down the mazing lanes and alleys that connect the city, leading you to the grand St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral. 

Cork is only a short trip away from the Irish countryside, so consider a bus tour if you want to pay a visit to some of the stunning coastal scenes the country has to offer. 

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