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20+ Facts About Cork: The ‘REAL’ Capital Of Ireland

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Cork is known as the real capital of Ireland… well, at least that is what I tell everyone 😅. It is a beautiful city located in the southwest of Ireland, famous for its picturesque scenery and rich history. 

And sure, since I am from Cork, I felt I had to share these 25 fun facts about Cork you might not know. It helps if you read this article in a Cork accent, haha, just jokes. 

The featured image you likely saw is from Gougane Barra, an incredibly scenic place just west of Macroom. 

Here are some interesting facts about this charming city.

Where exactly is Co. Cork in Ireland? 

County Cork is the largest and the southernmost county of Ireland, situated in the province of Munster and named after the city of Cork, Ireland’s second-largest city. Book a walking tour: I highly recommend booking a walking tour like this one if you are visiting the city. 

Facts about Cork, Ireland:

  1. First potato ever planted in Ireland: It is no secret that we love our potatoes in Ireland. But it is believed that the first potato was planted in Co. Cork. Sir Walter Raleigh, from the Americas, is said to have planted the first potato near his home in Youghal circa 1588.
  2. First Ford Factory outside of America: I am sure you have heard of Ford. Well, did you know that Henry Ford’s father, John Ford, was born near the town of Ballinascarthy, Cork? Incredibly the first factory outside of the USA was in Co. Cork. Henry Ford founded the company on 17 April 1917. This was the first factory Ford had purposely built outside of America anywhere else in the world. Source: The Henry Ford The most unique facts about Cork are that Henry Ford built the first ever factory in Co Cork outside of the US
  3.  Co. Cork is home to the narrowest and oldest public bridge in everyday use in Europe! In the town of Glanworth, Glanworth Bridge is a mid-15th century structure built in c.1625, having a narrow, unwidened carriageway of 3 metres. 
  4. Although Dublin is the capital of Ireland, Cork boasts the largest County in Ireland. However, Cork is the 2nd largest in the 26 counties, after Belfast. And there is plenty of things to do in Cork
  5. You may know that the Titanic set sail from its last port of call in Cobh, but Cobh also held the first-ever motorboat race in 1903. The Harmsworth Cup.

    You may know that the Titanic set sail from its last port of call in Cobh, but Cobh also held the first-ever motorboat race in 1903. The Harmsworth Cup.

    Great shot from a few years later, in 1930

  6. Cork Harbour is said to be the second-largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney Harbour. Cork also has the oldest Yacht Club in the world, founded in 1720.
  7. Midleton is proud to be the home of the World’s Biggest Pot Still for making whiskey. It has a capacity of 31,618 gallons! I think that is enough for the whole of Ireland to have a party, haha. And make sure you visit the Jameson factory! It is a must-visit. You can book a tour in advance here. 
  8. The Fastnet Rock, Ireland’s most southerly point, was the last point Ireland emigrants from Cobh to the USA would see, and it was known as the ‘Teardrop of Ireland’.
  9. John F Kennedy’s great-grandfather came from West Cork.
  10. Cillian Murphy(photo below), and Johathan-Rhys Meyers are all bork in Cork. Graham Norton, although not born in Cork, grew up mainly in Bandon County Cork.

    Cillian Murphy from Cork Ireland

    Maximilian Bühn, CC-BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  11. Michael Collins was also born in Co. Cork. Thanks to all of those who commented about it. Collins was born in Woodfield, Sam’s Cross, near Clonakilty, County Cork, on 16 October 1890, the third son and youngest of eight children. He was one of the most important figures in Irish history and a key player in the Irish War of Independence.
  12. The largest wedge tomb in Ireland is also in Glanworth – the Labbacallee Tomb. The wedge tomb at Labbacallee, in Fermoy County Cork, is the biggest of all the Irish wedge tombs, known as the Hag’s Bed; the tomb is associated with the Celtic Hag Goddess’ Caillech Bhearra’.

    VisionsofthePast, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


  13. Cork has the highest number of pubs in the country, with nearly 1,000 licenced premises, while Mayo has a pub for every 323 people, a new report has found. 
  14. Cork is home to Ireland’s only cable car! From the mainland to Dursey Island. The cable car departs daily from Ballaghboy on the tip of the Beara peninsula, Co. Cork.
  15. Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral: This stunning cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture and a significant landmark in Cork.
  16. Here is a pretty unique fact I found! 45% of the world’s Tic Tacs are made in Cork. They are manufactured in the Ferrero factory in Cork, Ireland. The factory produces about 36 tic tacs per second. 
  17. The Blarney Stone is located in Cork. About half a million people visit it every year except in 2020 and 2021, of course. Which is said to give those who kiss it the gift of eloquence(or gift of the gab), is located on the grounds of Blarney Castle, just outside the city.
  18. Cork City has a LOT of bridges. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. In Cork, you can find over 30 bridges, each one unique in its design, including the Christy Ring Bridge and the Nano Nagle Bridge.
  19. Cork is a popular destination for artists and writers, with many famous figures, including William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, having spent time in the city.
  20. You probably have seen a picture of the famous Cobh Cathedral before, but did you know it has the most bells in any church in the UK and Ireland?  One of the interesting facts about Cork is that the Cobh cathedral has over 49 bells and weighs over 26 tonnes.
    Together they weigh over 26 tonnes! It also contains Ireland’s largest bell, named St Colman (3.6 tons). The cathedral also took over 46 years to build.
  21. English Market: The famous English Market in Cork has been in operation for over 230 years. – Cork City Facts
  22. The guided missile was invented in 1877 by a talented engineer from Castlebar in Co Mayo. Louis Brennan also designed an unusual monorail train, a two-wheeled car and even an early helicopter. The Brennan torpedo was first tested at Camden Fort(near Crosshaven) in the late 1800s. It was the first weapon in history that could be remotely controlled by its target. 
  23. Cork had the largest butter market in the world in the 18th century. 
  24. Cork Harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world.
  25. Biggest Jazz Festival in Europe: The city is home to the Cork Jazz Festival, which takes place every October and is one of the biggest jazz festivals in Europe. Just make sure you don’t go home too late, far too often; I have been stuck in town with no taxis anywhere due to so many people. 
  26. The Wild Atlantic Way, 1600 miles (2600 km) in length, is one of the longest-defined coastal routes in the world. And guess where it starts from? Kinsale, Cork! 
  27. Facts about Cork: The Cork Opera House was originally built in 1855 and has undergone several renovations over the years.

In conclusion, Cork is one of the best cities in the world! And don’t try and argue with me, haha. Ah, no, it’s pretty biased of me to say that, but if you do get a chance to visit Cork, I highly recommend it; the craic is mighty! I hope you have enjoyed learning about these fun facts about Cork. It has plenty of rich history and culture, surrounded by stunning scenery and offering visitors plenty to see and do. From its rebellious past to its vibrant present, Cork is a city that is sure to capture the hearts of all who visit, and hopefully yours too! 

If you plan to visit soon, you can read my top 10 things to do in Cork here. 

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Bill Stevens

Wednesday 19th of April 2023

In 1953 Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy arrived in Cobh. They were moved to tears when they heard the church bells ringing out their theme song, “Dance of the Cuckoos”. What a brilliant tribute to a deserving pair of comedians.

Justin O'Connell

Sunday 9th of January 2022

…and Belfast isn’t a county…. It’s a city!

Irish Around The World

Thursday 13th of January 2022


Justin O'Connell

Sunday 9th of January 2022

“However, Cork is the 2nd largest in the 26 counties, after Belfast.”

Belfast isn’t in the 26 counties, it’s in the 6 counties of Northern Ireland.

Teresa Murphy

Sunday 9th of January 2022

thank you for your comments some of which I knew as I come from Cork

Michelle Coe

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

You may need to expand this to 20 Facts About Cork. The largest wedge tomb in Ireland is also in Glanworth - the Labbacallee Tomb.

Irish Around The World

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

I think you are correct! There was so many other things I wanted to add but kept it at 10. Will be sure to update this post soon :) stay tuned