Cork is a Small and Safe City

Cork is a small and safe city with a population of 190,000 people and home to over 40,000 students (University, Further Education, Language Students).There is a long tradition of student services, rental properties and a warm welcome for overseas students.

In fact, Cork is recognized as and awarded one of the world’s safest cities. What is more,  the safest in Europe! This means it is perfect for international students –  a home away from home.

Must Sees in Cork City

The English Market is on top of many people’s lists for good reason. Cork’s covered market is the lively heart of the county’s renowned food scene, drawing in traders from the county’s agricultural hinterlands. It’s a cornucopia of fresh food, cheeses, local honey and preserves and stuff you can’t get anywhere else (The Start-Up Stall hosts a new venture every 4-6 weeks).

A great secret to touring around Ireland is that many publicly funded cultural institutions are completely free. This means you can drift around Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery, the Cork Public Museum, the Glucksman Gallery without worrying about the cost.  In Fitzgerald’s Park on the north side of the river, you can enjoy the lovely rose gardens and river views. One of Cork’s most beloved landmarks, the “Shakey Bridge,” is a beautiful 1920s suspension bridge that floats above the river and park.

On Cork’s North Side, you can find out about Cork’s butter trade at the Butter Museum, and experience some of the city’s best views atop Saint Anne’s Shandon church (known as the four-faced liar for its clock-faces that each tell different times). The small entrance fee of €5 is worth getting to ring the bells (make everyone for miles suffer your version of “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” it’s tradition).

Architecture buffs should also definitely stop off at St. Fin Barre’s cathedral. The architect, William Burges, was given free rein to realize his fantastical French Gothic Revival vision. The result is a masterpiece that’s worth pausing to enjoy, or staying longer for an informal tour (admission is €5).

Cork City Gaol is another atmospheric Cork must-see. Normal admission is €8. Evening tours are €10.

No trip to Cork would be complete without a visit to Blarney Castle. Kissing the famous Blarney Stone will apparently bestow the “gift of the gab” on you, which means you might just enthral rather than annoy your friends with your vacation stories. Magic or no, Blarney Castle is an impressive medieval keep with skyscraper-like views of the countryside (warning: not for those with vertigo), and it’s set in beautiful landscaped gardens. Take the 215 buses to Blarney from Cork, which depart from the bus station.


Cork English Academy can organise shared houses and apartments or a host family for the duration of your stay.

Usually students studying with Cork English Academy for a short period of 2 to 12 weeks book their entire accommodation stay through the school.

Those who plan on staying longer, for 3 months or more, usually book 2 to 4 weeks accommodation through the school and then find their own accommodation in Cork City when more familiar with the city.

If you want to find your own accommodation in Cork popular rental websites in Ireland are and


Getting to Cork

Remember Cork English Academy is easy accessible by Cork Airport (15 minutes by taxi) and Dublin Airport (3.5 hours by direct non-stop by Aircoach).

The AirCoach operates a service every two hours from Dublin and Dublin Airport to Cork City. There are also frequent trains to Cork from Dublin (Heuston Station).

Local Transport

Cork is a small and safe city and easy to get around. At Cork English Academy you can generally walk everywhere as we are located in the city centre just 2 minutes walk from Patrick Street (the main shopping street  in the city).  You might like to consider a weekly bus pass (€22) or monthly (€68) depending on where you are living or if you plan on going on a lot of  day trips. 

Coca-Cola Zero Bikes

A self-service bike rental service with convenient stations across the city

Cost of Living

The following approximate figures serve as an indication of the overall expenses per month.   Please note these figures serve as a guide only.

Accommodation Costs

Cork English Academy can organise both self catering apartments where you will share with other students or a host family for the duration of your stay. Please see our accommodation page for prices and more details.

If you are staying in Cork for a long term period you may decide to arrange your own accommodation. Please be aware that rents for a single room in a shared house or apartment in Cork city are usually between €300 and €500 per month. Prior to moving into your new accommodation you are usually required to pay the landlord or Letting Agency one month’s rent and a refundable security deposit (usually the same price as a month’s rent).

Electricity, heating and internet bills are usually extra at about €50 per person per month (based on three people sharing in a house/apartment).

Click Here for some useful tips for students renting accommodation in cork.

Food Costs

Source: . Tesco is a supermarket chain. Tesco’s own brand may be cheaper than other brands.

Item Price
Apples €0.43 each
Bananas  €1.25/kg
 Big Mac Meal (medium)  €6.40 approx
 Butter  250g  €1.84
 Cereal – Kellogg’s Cornflakes 500g  €2.29
 Chicken fillets – Tesco  €4.29 / kg
 Coca Cola 6 x 330ml  €3.75
 Coffee 100g instant Tesco  €3.49
 Eggs 6 pack Tesco  €1.59
 Loaf of Bread 800g  €1.87
 Milk (1 litre)  €1.28
 Onions  €1.39/ kg
 Oranges  €0.39 each
 Pasta 220g Tesco  €1.74
 Potatoes 5kg  Tesco organic  €6.99
 Rice 1 kg Tesco  €2.00 (Basmati €3.00)
 Sugar 1kg Tesco  €0.68
 Tea  bags 250g  €1.99
 Toilet Tissue 4 Roll  €2.00
 Toothpaste 100ml  €2.99
 Tuna – John West (brine) 185g  €1.65
 Washing Powder 2.4kg Tesco  €5.85
 Water 1 liter Ballygowan  €1.25
Yoghurt 6 x 125g €3.00

Miscellaneous Costs

 Item Price
Cinema Ticket €5 – €9
 Hair Cut  €10 – €40
 Newspaper  €1.90
 Second hand bike  €60 – €100
Sports Event €6 – €25

Local Amenities

Cork English Academy is located in the city centre, less than 2  minutes walk from Patrick’s Street the main shopping street in the immediate city centre. The school is located on the same side of the city as the University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology. This means that Cork English Academy is in the middle of all major facilities and amenities geared towards students. Cork is a small and safe city and everything is nearby and close.

Tourist Office

The city’s main tourist office is the Cork Tourism Information Centre on Grand Parade in the city centre. There’s also a comprehensive tourist information desk in Cork Airport.

Post Office

The central post office is on Oliver Plunkett Street in the city centre. There are also numerous other branches in the city centre as well as scattered throughout the suburbs.


The Central Library on the Grand Parade is home to the City Libraries’ largest collections of books, periodicals, CDs, DVDs and other materials. The Thomas Davis Room in the Central Library provides a public space for reading groups / book clubs and for talks organized in conjunction with the Library.

Parks and Walkways

Cork County Council have put together very useful brochures on a self guided city centre walking tours of Cork which bring you to the most famed and off the beaten track  hidden gems of attractions in Cork. There are 3 elements to the walks; a leaflet with a map and description of sights along the way, ten information panels at key locations along the route and fingerpost directional signs to help guide you between the information panels.

Shandon Area Walk: A self-guided walking tour of Cork’s historic Shandon district

South Parish Walk: A self-guided walking tour of Cork’s South Parish district 

City Centre Island Walk:  A self-guided walking tour of Cork’s City Centre district

Mardyke Walk Skate Park – Cork City has its very own oasis for skateboarders, rollerbladers, and bikers, The Mardyke Walk Skate Park!

Triskel Arts Centre

Incorporating Triskel Christchurch & terraced Café. This arts center presents a variety of entertainment, from drama, poetry readings, and opera to traditional music concerts. There is also a full curriculum of daytime art workshops and gallery talks as well.

The Coal Quay Market

Made up of various stalls lining the street, Coal Quay Market is so named because of its historical association with Cork’s coal suppliers. Here vendors sell everything from alternative clothing to watches to jewelry to flowers.

The English Market

The Old English Market is one of Cork’s most well-known attractions and has been in operation since 1788. An indoor market consisting of a warren of different counters, there’s a huge selection of foodstuffs on offer.


Cork has a number of cinemas. The Gate Mutiplex on North Main Street, an Omniplex in Douglas and Mahon showing all new movies and the Triskel Arts Centre cinema that shows newly released art house movies.


The Mardyke Sports Arena allows for pay as you go visits which may be useful for short term students and monthly and yearly membership options which may be useful for longer term students. As well as using the gym and swimming pool students can sign up for various weekly workshops including yoga, aerobics, spinning, zumba, pilates and kettle bells.

Other Gyms

Fit4Less, NGR Health & Fitness, Club Vitae, Leeside Leisure, Fitness Focus, Rivers Edge, Educo Gym, Planet Health and Leisure World.

Internet Cafes

24 Hour Web Works on Winthrop street has a lovely cafe serving sandwiches, cakes and coffees. There is a great student vibe there. Other internet cafes include Cyber Zone on MacCurtain Street and It Dot Com on North Main street both open until 11pm. Mouse Cafe on Barrack street is very close to the school and opens until 6pm.

Eating Out

Some of our students’ favourite cheap and cheerful cafes/restaurants:

Cheap & Cheerful Asian Fast Food Healthy Options
Umi FalafelThe Linen Weaver, Irish, AmericanBurritos & Blues MexicanBoojum  Burritos MexicanTony’s Bistro

Irish Seafood

RamenDashi DeliZakuraSushi BentoMiyazaki

Beijing Taste

West Cork BurgerBurger KingMcDonaldsWow BurgerFast Als Pizza

Lavish Kebab



Hey PrestoQuay Coop
-Vegan & VegetarianNaturally NourishedO’ Brien’sRocket Man

Healthy Option

-Vegan & Vegetarian

Café Gusto, 3 Washington Street, Cork, Ireland

A great place for coffee fiends, when you buy 10 coffees you get one free with this café’s loyalty card. Serving sandwiches, bagels and wraps, Café Gusto also offers a selection of milkshakes and smoothies at low prices. Soya options are provided and daily specials are also available.

Cork Coffee Roasters, 2 Bridge Street, Cork, Ireland

For a cup of coffee and a pastry, this is a great place to start the day. The beans used in all the blends here are hand roasted in Cork.

Scoozi’s, Winthrop Lane, Winthrop Street, Cork, Ireland

Serving everything from pizza and pastas to steaks and salads as well as the much-loved full Irish breakfast, this is an extremely popular restaurant with visitors and locals alike.

Café Mexicana, Carey’s Lane, Cork, Ireland

A great place for authentic Mexican fare, tacos, enchiladas and burritos can all be sampled here.

Taste of Thailand, 8 Bridge Street, Cork, Ireland

BYO restaurant serving authentic Thai cuisine including meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Not expensive but if you really want to economise check out the early bird special between 6.00pm and 7.00pm daily.

The Quay Co-Op, 24 Sullivan’s Quay, Cork, Ireland

Cafeteria style service and a huge selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes are the hallmarks of this popular spot. Portions are large!

For serious coffee drinkers, Maher’sThree Fools Coffee and Italee are high quality. Bear in mind that cafés in Cork generally don’t open late, so get your caffeine fix early (The Parlour Café is open until 10 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday). Other great places for food, people-watching or sweet-tooth-sating include Alchemy Coffee and Books, O Conaill’s Chocolate ShopCafé Depeche (with extensive chai and mocha selection), The Opera House CaféThe Farmgate café and The Bookshelf Coffee House.


There is something for everyone in Cork and you certainly won’t be disappointed with the nightlife with weekly Cork English Academy organised pub nights.

Even if you’re not a drinker, the pubs are cozy enough to enjoy a non-alcoholic beverage and a chat most evenings. Try The Oval for maximum coziness (especially if you manage to bag the snug by the fire). See also Cork’s heritage pub trail. Other noted watering holes include Fionn Barra’s, the famed Hi-B barThe Friary, the traditional vibe of Le Chateau and The Franciscan Well for specialty beers.

If you’re planning on staying out later, try The Crane Lane or The Bodega. On Oliver Plunkett Street, wine drinkers can flit between Arthur Mayne’s, The Pharmacy (the pub retains the wall fixtures, tiling and wares of the former pharmacy) and Meade’s, which feels like someone’s genteel living room converted into a quirky, candlelit bar.

Cork music and cultural venues include The Triskel Arts Center — a cinema, music venue and general cultural hub, Cyprus Avenue, Coughlan’sSt. Peter’s Church and The Crane Lane. Or try Sin É to catch live Irish traditional music. If you’re travelling to Cork in October you might hit the city in the middle of Cork’s famous International Jazz Festival. The city is crammed with visitors that weekend, so book in advance and plan accordingly.

Old Oak Bar, 113 Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, Ireland

As well as being a great place to enjoy a pint and watch sports, you can also check your email here, as the bar offers WiFi coverage. A popular live music venue, it hosts many different types of acts, from rock bands to traditional Irish music. It’s also located beside another popular live music venue, Cyprus Avenue.

Fred Zeppelins, 8 Parliament Street, Cork, Ireland

A great rock bar and live music venue, Fred Zeppelins is a popular spot with a dark interior, loud music and plenty of places to sit. This bar sells most pints for only €3.25 from 4pm to 8pm on Monday to Thursday. You can test your rockstar skills every Tuesday at the bar’s Guitar Hero competition.

An Bróg, 74 Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, Ireland

A popular spot with a younger crowd, An Bróg has four bar areas and a foosball table. It operates as a late bar and there’s a DJ 7 nights a week. You can test your knowledge at the weekly table quiz every Monday night.

Holy Cow, Hanover Street, Cork

The Secret Garden, Hanover Street, Cork

The Voodoo Rooms, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork

Chambers LGBT, Washington Street, Cork

Church Nightclub,  Hanover Street, Cork

Reardon’s Over 21s, Washington Street, Cork

Costigans,11 Washington Street West, Cork, Ireland

Excellent traditional pub serving beers, wines and extremely popular cocktails. Live music every Wednesday and the best soup and sandwiches in the south.

Franciscan Well Brew Pub, North Mall, Cork, Ireland

One of the city’s only microbreweries, there’s live traditional music every Monday and an outdoor barbecue every Thursday. While it can’t guarantee that the weather will hold up, it can guarantee a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Check out this useful online Cork City Student Guide for further information.