It can be a little disappointing when you touch down at Cork Airport to see there are rain clouds overhead. Fear not, pick up your Auto Europe hire car and stay dry while heading into the city. Once you have reached your destination you will find there is plenty to keep you occupied even if the rain continues to fall.
Crawford Art Gallery
Art galleries make great wet weather attractions and it is therefore wonderful that Cork’s Custom House was turned into one in 1830. This stunning building can be found right in the city centre and features a permanent collection as well as constantly changing travelling exhibitions.
More than 200,000 people come to see the artwork housed within and what is even more brilliant is that it is free to enter. Expect to see pieces by 18th century Irish and European artists, as well as Greek and Roman sculpture casts that were sent from the Vatican Museum in Rome in 1818.
The Jameson Experience
It takes less than 30 minutes to drive from the city centre to Midleton, home of the famous Jameson Irish whiskey. Nothing can help warm the cockles better than a sample of this fine spirit on a miserable day.
But you have not come all this way simply to have a tot of whiskey, so take the opportunity to have a tour of the distillery. The hospitable guides will explain the process from raw ingredients right through to the stuff you find in your glass.
Along the way you will get to see the old kilns, mills and malting, water wheel and old warehouses within the buildings dating back to 1795.
For the sections of the tour that are outside, the distillery provides waterproofs, so your experience will not be hindered by the weather at all. The experience lasts around an hour and since the distillery is open on bank holidays there is no excuse not to make this part of your trip to Cork.
Shanagarry Design Centre
On your way back from the distillery, why not stop off at the showroom of one of the best potters in the whole of Ireland, as it is situated in the village of Ballycotton near Midleton? You can wander around the gallery and marvel at Stephen Pearce’s tableware and giftware pieces, as well as seeing the studio where he works.
You can pick up a very special memento of your trip at the shop or sit and ponder a purchase while sheltering from the rain in the cafe. Pearce’s designs vary between traditional and modern, so there is something to suit every taste.
Cork City Gaol and Radio Museum
Another short drive away is the Cork City Gaol and Radio Museum, just two kilometres from the centre of town. The gaol’s impressive castle-like structure was originally built in 1824 and housed prisoners throughout the 19th century.
The former house of the gaol’s governor has now been turned into the Radio Museum Experience and is the perfect place to head when the clouds start to gather. Inside you will find a fully restored 6CK radio studio and an exhibition all about Marconi.
I bet you never realised the Italian father of long distance radio had such strong connections with Ireland! Also check out the collection of vintage artefacts relating to the early days of the medium before you leave.