On The QT

Top Things To Do In Cork

It’s always fun to pretend you’re a tourist in your own town. Too often we forget about the wonderful hidden gems on our own doorstep.. and instead head off in search of beautiful faraway places!

Here at OnTheQT we’ve decided to explore our hometown of Cork, stopping to admire the hidden gems, fun activities and tasty food we too often ignore! We decided to share the top 10 places with you!


  • Scoozi’s Chicken Wings – Yes our first local gem in Cork is about chicken wings but trust us once you taste them you will understand! Some people think we are crazy until they actually taste this delicious secret recipe of Scoozi’s restaurant in Cork. Even though the restaurant offers so much variety, we have to say if you visit you must try the special Scoozi’s chicken wings… trust us you wont be disappointed. We order nothing else now but that delicious dish… we are creatures of habit when we find good food!!
  • Ali’s Kitchen is a newly opened bake house located on the busy corner site of Rory Gallagher Place, in the trendy Huguenot area of Cork City. With its chic interior design, an open baking area to allow customers to see what happens behind the scenes, a large window front, and sweet aroma filling the air we knew we were onto a winner as soon as we stepped insideFollowing years of travel and experience working all over Europe, Ali has very successfully combined her creativity, passion for food, international influences and culinary skills to bring a new sort of food vibe to Cork. Putting a modern twist on culinary classics, and creating exciting fusions of food, this bakehouse offers an artisanal approach to in-house food creation & casual dining. There is a large glass cabinet running the length of the shop which holds a vast array of freshly baked cakes, doughnuts, buns and artisan breads. Everything looked so perfect, and deliciously fresh! 
  • Isabella Ru – Although the store is located in Cork city, like a true hidden gem it is tucked in behind the high street shops waiting to be discovered by those willing to look for it! It is full to the brim with trinkets and treasures, and overflowing with glitter, pearls, feather and lace, yet there is only one of each item stocked in the shop! You will be sure to fall in love with the place instantly! We had great fun inside the store trying on floral headbands, sun glasses of all shapes and sizes…..infact anything that caught our attention! With an exceptionally friendly shop keeper we felt right at home as we rummaged through what felt like a giant treasure chest!
  • A real food haven is Joup, tucked away at the end of the Ballinlough Rd., just outside Cork city. Although unassuming from the outside, this hidden gem has a lot more to offer than you would expect behind its colourful and welcoming front door! The cosy vintage décor, and vases of freshly picked flowers sprinkled around the place gives the café a very likeable character – this is perfectly matched by the helpful and cheerful staff working there, for whom no special request was a problem! Making a conscious effort to source their ingredients locally, and using mainly organic produce, the family run business has really got everything just right!
  • The 18th century Shandon Bells and tower overlooks the entire city. You can climb the 132  steep stone steps to the top to a spectacular 360 degree view of the city! From the top you can see the iconic Cork landmarks and different destinations around the city. As you climb to the top, you can test your musical abilities by ringing the Shandon Bells! As you leave you can admire the four clocks on the top of the tower which have been given the name of ‘the four faced liar’ by locals  who noticed that the four clocks each display a different time… extremely useful for anyone who tends to be a little late!
  • Having spotted the Coca- Cola bikes dotted around the city, we recently decided it would be great fun to explore for a while on two wheels! With either a 3 day or annual subscription option available it was only a matter of seconds before we’d figured out how to sign ourselves up! We took off with the wind in our hair, cycling down St. Patricks Street, up to the Coal Quay, past the picturesque court house and out past University College Cork  where we came to one of our favourite parts of the city; Fitzgeralds Park! Although only a short cycle from the city – the manicured flowers, the pond full of ducklings and the open green space make it seem as though its a whole new world! We made our way over to Daly’s bridge which is locally known as Shakey Bridge – we’ll let you guess why! We ran… jumped and even danced on the bridge to test out its stability!
  • One of our favourite places to eat in Cork is a little hidden Italian treasure called ‘Hey Presto’. Pasta dishes full of imagination and flavour… tiger prawn, arrabbiata, bolognese, veggie carbonara and much more. The ‘Serious Salads’ lived up to their name with salads such as sweet potato, roasted baby potation, asian rice noodle, cous cous, cobb hey presto style and quinoa. We knew this was a treat when we first tried it at home via Deliveroo. What can we say… there is so much choice!
  • Holy Smoke – We recently decided to try out the BBQ smokehouse ‘The Holy Smoke’ as we had heard so much about their renowned master chef and pitmaster John Relihan, (who previously worked as head chef for Jamie Oliver). He is sharing his exquisite culinary and BBQ skills with the people of Cork! Although a tough decision choosing from the different menu options, we opted for the ribs! The meat was tender, yet juicy with a distinctive BBQ taste… it was simply a wonderful dining experience! We were delighted to hear that John only buys locally sourced meats which  are cooked ‘low and slow’ (often up to 16 hours) over wood and charcoal made from 100% sustainable woodlands! He also uses different combinations of hazel, ash, maple and cherry woods to compliment the flavour profiles of his dishes! 
  • It’s always a good idea to try something new in your home city so we decided to check out Cork Boat Hire. Free to skipper our own boat and plan our own adventure, we decided to head up the River Lee under the multiple bridges. We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather, a beautiful Spring evening with the sun shining down! The nearby buildings were reflected onto the water in front us… the city looked simply gorgeous! Driving the boat was great fun and very easy to change speed and manoeuvre! 
  • One of our favourite spots on a night out is Sober Lane, a popular spot among the locals! What we love about this gem is the friendly atmosphere, buzzing environment and of course the map of the world on the back wall.. with a picture of all their visitors from around the world pinned up! We love it! 

Top Tip: If you are thinking of visit Cork for St. Patricks Day, be sure to check out all the festivities here. It is a great time to visit the city!

Hope you have fun exploring Cork, we would love to hear about your favourite places! 



  1. I agree with your comments on cork boat hire we have hired them in Cobh as well and had great fun on them

  2. Is the boat hire the best activity to do in Cork or you would recommend something better?

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