Ireland's second city is first in every important respect - at least according to the locals, who cheerfully refer to it as the 'real capital of Ireland'. The compact city centre is set on an island in the River Lee, surrounded by interesting waterways and packed with grand Georgian avenues, cramped 17th-century alleys and modern masterpieces such as the opera house.

St Patrick's St runs from St Patrick's Bridge on the North Channel of the Lee, through the city's main shopping and commercial area, to the Georgian Grand Parade, which leads to the river's South Channel. North and south of St Patrick's St lie the city's most entertaining quarters: grids of narrow streets crammed with pubs, shops, cafes and restaurants, fed by arguably the best foodie scene in the country.

Cork got its nickname 'The Rebel County' due to a history of independence from the Viking invasions to the Irish War of Independence, when it was the scene of a considerable amount of fighting.

Cork Cork