The landscape of southern Ireland is exquisite, especially in the wild regions of Bantry Bay and Dingle Bay in the extreme southwest. Cork is Ireland’s second city and, in consequence, enjoys a spirited rivalry with Dublin. Owing to immigration from the European mainland, Cork has become progressively more cosmopolitan, but this is still the place to find traditional Irish dishes such as crubeen (pig’s trotters) and drisheen (blood sausage). The English Market in Cork is considered by many to be the best covered market in both Ireland and Britain. Picturesque Kinsale also takes great pride in its food, and the annual Gourmet Festival in October is a huge draw.
The Classic Blended Irish Whiskey
Even if you have little familiarity with Irish whiskey, you’ve probably heard of Jameson. This is the classic blended Irish whiskey. Wonderfully complex, it has notes of barley, cocoa and honey. The center of Jameson’s production is in the town of Midleton, County Cork. With buildings dating to 1795, the distillery sits on 15 acres. A fascinating tour of the production facilities ends with a tasting. (There are different levels, and you can upgrade for a fee.)
The Best Market Within the British Isles
Cork is home to what many believe is the best covered market in the British Isles. The English Market — so-called in the 19th century to distinguish it from the nearby St. Peter’s Market, then known as the Irish Market — is a charming brick-and-wrought-iron structure with vendors selling everything from smoked fish to handcrafted crockery.
Kinsale's Excellent Cuisine
One of Ireland’s most picturesque towns, Kinsale takes great pride in its food, and the annual Gourmet Festival in October is a huge draw. After strolling the winding streets of this charming port town, stop for a seafood lunch. Despite its unpromising name, I am partial to Fishy Fishy on Crowley’s Quay.