Secret Cork City: Experience the city as locals do…

Secret Cork city experiences:

Looking for secret cork history, stories and legends? Things only a local would know?

Well you’ve come to right place. We have authentic secret Cork stories about everything from dissecting bodies and the local University’s rugby insignia. To Cork city’s rebel past in the fight against the British empire.

Rebel City Tour of Cork GUI by
Rebel City Tour of Cork for your smartphone. By

1. Secret Cork city’s rebel past.

Little would you know, from walking through Cork city today. That 100 years ago, Cork was at the centre of a military conflict that was fought by hit and run tactics and ambushes on one side. And looting, burning and reprisals on the other.

During the Irish war of independence. A war was fought between Ireland and it’s next door neighbour from 1919 to 1921.

A truce was eventually signed. Which gave birth to the Irish nation.

If you’d like to hear more about the assassinations, bomb factories and killings. Make sure to check out our FREE Rebel City Tour of Cork on your smartphone when you get to the city.

You can also get a flavour of the smartphone tour of Cork city on your Desktop or smartphone right now if you aren’t in Cork.

The four-faced liar. St. Anne’s church.

2. Hidden Cork: The four-faced liar on the North side.

Known to locals as the four-faced liar because it’s North/South clock faces used to tell a different time than the clocks East/West faces. The St. Anne’s church on the north side of the city. Is as famous for it’s clock as it is for the goldie fish weather vane which sits a top the church steeple.

Here’s a story that tells you a little about a North/South historical divide in Cork city.

Northsiders, known as norries. Have often remarked that since the minute hands on the East/West faces of the clock still always precede the North/South minute hands in the ascent from the half hour to the hour. Catching up again when they reach the full hour.

This signifies the fact that the southsiders, known as sorries. Have always been that bit slower than the norries. But they do catch up eventually.

The Quad in UCC.

3. University College Cork’s myths and legends.

A University College Cork (UCC) legend. Anyone student who crosses the quad. Or square section of grass at the heart of the campus. Will fail their next exams.

Probably thought up by some jealous grounds keeper that wanted to keep students off the grass.

Also, it just so happens that the medical campus on UCC is adjacent to the site of an old gaol. And unclaimed bodies from the gaol were sent to the medical campus to be dissected and studied. In bags marked with the skull and crossbones.

Today, UCC’s rugby team plays with the skull and cross bones insignia on their shirts.

Secret Cork: The Elizabeth Fort

4. A Cork city secret: The founding mothers of modern day Australia.

Did you know that female convicts, imprisoned in the Elizabeth fort near the city centre. Went on to become known as the founding mothers of modern day australia?

The story goes, that female convicts in the prison. Were sent to Australia for their, very minor, crimes by the government of the time.

After serving their sentences. They were released. Without the funds to secure passage back to Ireland. The newly-released women settled in Oz. Married. And bore children.

Later becoming known as the founding mothers of modern day Australia.

Goldie Angel – St. Fin barre’s Cathedral

5. The goldie angel and the end of the world.

Most locals know of this legend. The famous St. Fin barre’s Cathedral near the city centre of Cork city. Is one of Cork’s most famous attractions.

Best known for the gold-plated angel blowing her trumpet erected towards the rear of the Cathedral. It is said locally, that when the goldie angel blows her trumpet. It will signify to the citizens of Cork that the world is ending. Helping Corkonians be among the first to enter the gates of heaven.

Possibly, on a mission to save the world. Or possibly after having a few in a local watering hole. Some local superhero, read: brazen thief, climbed the cathedral in 1998 and stole the goldie angel’s trumpets from the statue over 100 feet from the ground.

They were later found in the grounds of a Catholic church on the other side of the city.

The Brennan Torpedo

6. The Brennan Torpedo Was First Trialed In Cork harbour.

The Brennan torpedo. Otherwise known as the world’s first practical guided missile was first tested in Cork harbour around 1877.

Brennan, an Irish born, Australian inventor. Patented the torpedo and later sold it to the British War Office for £100,000.

This idea was trialled at Camden Fort Meagher at Crosshaven on Cork harbour.


Know of any other secret Cork stories that should be included. Leave them in the comment section below and we’ll get back to you…

Don’t forget to check out our blog post for things to do in Cork city. Or perhaps you’re looking for what comes next after the Ring of Kerry cycle?

Also, make sure you don’t leave Cork without taking our Rebel city tour of Cork. It’s guaranteed to be fun and educational.

Photo Licences:

Ring of Kerry cycle finished. What’s next?

So you’ve finished the Ring of Kerry cycle…

I can only imagine you are equal parts tired and inspired. The beautiful scenery. The mountains and lush valleys. It truly is a great adventure. Cross the ring of Kerry cycle off your bucket list.

But the question remains. What’s next?

Well, there’s always tons of great things to do in Ireland. Whether you want to continue along the Wild Atlantic Way. North or South. Or you want to head across the country towards Dublin. You’ll be sure to find a friendly greeting from the locals along the way.

Walking shandon tour
Couple enjoying Cork City.

Why not come to Cork City? After cycling the Ring of Kerry.

Just a 30 min drive from the southernmost tip of the Wild Atlantic Way. Cork city is well worth a visit in our opinion. Not only does it have great food. But it also has tons of attractions to keep you entertained.

We might be a little biased of course. Because we love our home town. If you don’t believe us though. Ask the Lonely Planet. Which rated Cork city among its top 10 destinations in the world to visit.

Stuck for something to do in Cork city? Check out our things to do in Cork city blog post.

Is Cork city cycle-friendly?

Cork city is a cyclist’s dream. Not only are there cycle paths everywhere. But you can also rent a bike from any number of central locations spread across the city.

You can explore one of the world’s largest natural harbours. Visit the last stopping point of the Titanic before the doomed ship took its final journey.

Or how about visiting Spike Island? An ex-prison and fort off the Cork coast. And now a popular tourist spot.

All these experiences and many more are within cycling distance of the city centre.

Cycling In Cork City
Cycling in Cork City.

Are there organized bike tours in Cork?

Sure. If you want to go on an organized bike tour. There are tons of options out there. Check out these tour operators with rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

And don’t worry. If you don’t have a bike. You can hire one. Or if your bike is broken. There are tons of bike shops in the city that would love to help you out.

Great accommodation, fantastic views and more importantly. Lots of fun. Guaranteed when you take one of these bike rides.

After the Ring of Kerry cycle. What if I want to socialize with the locals?

It’s only natural that you might wish to let your hair down after the physical effort of completing the Ring of Kerry cycle route.

Well, you are in luck. Cork has a dizzying array of pubs, clubs and bars. Where locals and out-of-towners can meet up and let it all hang out.

In fact, I’ve just been reliably informed. That there’s a pub in the city with a pint of Murphy’s stout with your name on it…

Family experiences at the old waterworks in Cork city
Cork city old waterworks

Is there any family-orientated experiences in Cork city?

Yes. Tons.

Everything from chasing and feeding the local wildlife. Described in our things to do in Cork city blog post. To experiencing mayhem and murder on the Rebel City Tour of Cork.

Whether your family is young or older. You’ll certainly find lots of ways to keep them entertained in Cork city.

Come to Cork!

Cork is located right next door to Kerry. So after you’ve finished the cycle of the Ring of Kerry. You’ll find that Ireland’s real capital as the locals would have you believe.

Is the perfect destination for experience and leisure travel. So make sure to stop by and say hello.

Happy Hunting!

6 Things To Do In Cork City for Free – NOT In The Guidebook

Looking for things to do in Cork city…?

Thinking of visiting Cork city this year? Let us show you a list of experiences in the city that you won’t get if you go elsewhere. We have everything from War of Independence anniversary tours to feeding the local wildlife in the city centre.

Experience Cork city like a true local with our free immersive experiences. Hear the stories behind the city’s most popular attractions. Take a leisurely bike ride. Party during a local festival.

Whether you are coming from touring the WIld Atlantic Way. You are coming down from Dublin directly. Or you have just finished the Ring of Kerry cycle.

You’ll find Cork to be a great destination for experience holidays in Ireland.

the burning of cork city war of independence smartphone tour by
The Burning Of Cork City During The Irish War of Independence. Smartphone Tour by

1. Take the War Of Indpendence Smartphone Tour.

Assassinations. Armed robberies. Bomb factories exploding.

Strolling around the city today. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Cork has always been a peaceful town. Little would you know that 100 years ago the streets were erupting with violence.

With roaming gangs of British military and police looting, shooting and burning their way through the city. On the other side were a group of plucky Republican volunteers. Members of what was then known as the IRA. Conducting raids, ambushes and using hit and run tactics against the – much larger in number – Crown forces.

The smartphone tour is an immersive experience bringing you back to the days of the Irish war of independence 100 years ago.

Not only is it free. But it’s accessible 24/7. All you need to bring is a smartphone – and preferably, a pair of headphones. Enjoy!

To take the tour. Pls. click Rebel City Tour of Cork by

Cork City's Grey Herons, English Market
Grey Herons on the Grand Parade in Cork City.

2. Visit the English Market Grey Herons.

Now for something a little more sedate. After experiencing the highs and lows of the war of independence tour. Why not get up early in the morning and visit the English Market Grey Herons?

These local Cork residents congregate outside the English Market in the heart of the city early every morning. In the hopes of begging some free fish from the fish delivery men in the market. Indeed they are such a regular sight. The English Market caretaker has named them all.

Bring along some fish for the birds if you’d like. Yes. They do eat canned tuna. Or alternatively, visit the famous fish merchants the day before and stock up on fresh fish pick and mix.

These hungry local fishermen only attend the market for the fish deliveries. Which happen around 5.30 AM. So set your alarm clock early and visit the city centre. For more info on this Cork city experience – pls click English Market Grey Herons.

Free Bike Hire In Cork City |
Free Bike Hire In Cork City.

3. Take a Bike Ride.

Looking for a way to pass the time in the city? Want to see the sights and experience one of the world’s largest natural harbours?

Why not take a bike ride on the Coke Zero bikes?

These bikes are available to rent for locals and tourists alike. The first 30 mins are free. With only a small charge per half hour after that.

For more info on how you can register to rent a Coca-cola Zero bike. Pls click Coca-cola zero bike Cork.

Walking shandon tour
Walking Shandon Tour of Cork City. Developed by

4. Take the Walking Shandon Tour.

The walking tour of Shandon covers many of Cork city’s top attractions. Everything from Shandon Church to St. Finbarr’s Cathedral.

The Walking Shandon tour is free and available to anyone with a smartphone and headphones. Take a tour through the streets of the city and be transported back to the days of old.

Hear the stories about Cork’s oldest attractions. That only locals know.

To take the tour. Pls. click Walking Shandon Tour.

My Personal Favourite Thing To Do In Cork City.

5. See the Herring Gulls Take Flight.

One of my favourite things to do in the city.

Similar to the English Market Grey Herons experience above. The local Cork city Herring Gulls only make an appearance for part of the year.

With the Herring Gulls being migratory birds. They only appear in the city during the winter months, unfortunately.

However, if you are lucky enough to see them on the banks of the River Lee in the city. You can have fun for all the family watching them take flight.

st. patricks day festival cork city |
St. Patrick’s Day Festival Cork City.

6. Visit a Cork City Festival.

When better to experience Cork city. Then during a local festival?

They say the Irish know how to throw a party. Well if it’s a party you are looking for. We have many, many of them in Cork city.

Amongst the annual festivals in the city. There are gems such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Cork Heritage Week, Cork Harbour Festival and many, many others.

For up to date info on Cork city festivals pls visit Pure Cork festivals.


Now, do you believe us that Cork city is a great experience destination in Ireland?

Whether you are a local, an Irish tourist, or an international tourist. You’ll love these experiences when you come to Cork.

See you soon!

Cork City’s Earliest Rising Residents – The English Market Grey Herons…

Watch Video of the Cork City, English Market Grey Herons Below…

K.O’Connell Fishmonger – English Market, Cork City.

Introducing Cork City’s Laziest Fishermen (and Women)…

An introduction to the hidden, early morning, Cork city centre. And it’s earliest-rising residents.

A fixture every Mon-Sat outside the English Market in Cork city. A must-see for visitors and residents of the city alike.

Anyone who knows me, knows I go for a run – usually really early in the morning. My route around Cork City takes me through the Grand Parade. The main street in the centre of Cork City.

That’s where I often spot the grey herons and their early morning ‘fishing expedition’. As you can see in the video, the herons are a fixture Mon-Sat outside the English Market.

Print The Legend.

I never usually see them on a Sunday though. And according to Paul of K. O’Connell’s fishmonger’s in the English market. They don’t show up on bank holidays either. Whether that’s fact or local lore.

I haven’t been able to determine yet. But I thought I’d include it anyway. Maybe someone out there can confirm the bank holiday ‘legend’ for us? Not that I don’t believe Paul or anything. But a good writer should double-check his facts nonetheless IMO.

See You There.

Anyway, like I also stated in the video. If you have the time and can spare a few euros. I’d recommend stopping by K. O’Connell’s fishmongers in the English Market and picking up some fish the day before.

Then setting the alarm clock for around 5 AM and feeding Cork city’s boldest aviary residents and seeing for yourself.

Before You Go.

Finally, if you’re interested in getting updates on the herons or you are interested in Cork city in general. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog newsletter on the Intro Page.

Killer Online Calculators:

At we are doing a series of articles about game-changing online tools. In keeping with this theme, our first interview is with web entrepreneur and marketer Andy Barr.

Andy came up with the idea for a tool that would help calculate the amount of physical activity needed to burn off certain foods and drinks.

Not only was this tool a runaway success, with media exposure in nearly 15 countries. was featured in the mainstream media in newspapers in the UK such as Metro, The Sun and on national television shows like The Jeremy Vine Show and This Morning TV Show.

So let’s get on with the interview with Andy and discover a little more about the process of creating the online calculator and the very personal reasons Andy had for coming up with such a tool.

How did you come up with the idea for the tool Andy?

“Well basically, I used to be very overweight myself. For over 7 years I weighed 19 stone. Now I’m down to 13 stone. The tool was an aid to my weight loss journey and was created to help others in my position.”

How long did the tool take to create?

“The tool took around 2 months to create. I came up with the idea and did some data points in an Excel spreadsheet. I used sites like Myfitnesspal and Harvard Uni for the data. “

“Then I handed it over to the developers. Then to the designers. I was the weak link in the process, to be honest. Or else it might have been done sooner.”

How many people were involved in the creation of the tool?

“Overall there were 5 people involved in the process. Myself as the creator and researcher. 2 Developers to work on the code. 1 Designer to do the look and feel of the calculator. And a PR person to get the word out.”

Does the tool require much maintenance?

“Not really no. Calories don’t change. However, we add a few meals as requested from time to time.”

How successful has the tool been?

“Well the tool has achieved news coverage in 15 different countries including Spain, Portugal, UK and US. We earned 130 coveted backlinks to help with our Google Ranking. Many from high Domain Authority sites.”

What was the biggest issue you ran into when developing or rolling out the tool?

“When it came to building the tool. We encountered some time overruns. Especially when trying to hit deadlines. We also had some unrealistic timelines.”

“It proved a controversial tool for the fitness community. But i figured if it worked for me it might work for others.”

What has been your ‘North Star’ metric in creating the tool? ie. which web statistic have you been tracking the most (eg. sales, visitor numbers, time on site etc..)?

“Well, the calculator was created to promote our website So I’d say customer sign-ups. The tool drove up to 200 sign-ups per day during the peak.”

How did you go about promoting the tool?

“PR outreach primarily. We leveraged social media first. I have a decent following on social media on my Instagram. fitnesswanker tracks my weight loss journey and has somewhere between 12-15,000 followers.”

“Plus the mainstream media are always on the lookout for popular trends online. So soon after we launched – many news organizations picked up the story”.


Finally I’d like to say a big thank you to Andy for taking the time to do this very informative interview. We’d also highly recommend trying the tool for yourselves

Have an idea for a game-changing tool for your industry? Then simply contact us for a free consultation.

Happy Hunting!

Spotlight: Frank Nolan Butchers Cork City. The Sustainable Butcher.

At we are doing a series of blog posts that highlight local and national Irish businesses. Starting locally, this week we are talking to James Nolan of Frank Nolan’s butchers, Cork city. Located on Shandon Street, Frank Nolan butchers serves locally sourced meat and veg.

Let’s get started shall we?

So James, tell us a little about Frank Nolan butchers?

We’re here since 1946, it’ll be 75 years next year, so we might have some bit of a celebration, hopefully. My gran aunt owned it before that and she sold the land to my father.

So we’re here a long time, really I suppose.

We have an abattoir in Fairhill (Cork City) where we process our own stuff, so the whole lot is wrapped up as the feller said.

How did you get into this line of work?

I suppose it was always in the family and you just fall into things I suppose. It’s a way of life. My father was at it and my grandfather before that.

Maybe I hadn’t planned to fall into it, but I did anyway, so I’m happy out, it’s a grand business to be in. Even though we’re probably a dying breed, but we’ll keep at it anyway.

Why do people shop in Frank Nolan Butchers?

I suppose it’s for the quality of the meats, really more than anything else. And we’re competitive enough as well in prices. As I say, we process our own stuff so that makes it a bit easier. We’re not buying off a third-party. And I suppose local people are very loyal.

Most of my customers would be local. It’s just something that you won’t get in supermarkets, the quality of the meat that we have. It comes directly from the farms. It’s slaughtered a mile away, there’s no transporting or flying or coming from all over the world. It’s environmentally friendly as well.

What types of clientele do you serve?

90, 95% would be local. We don’t really do restaurants or stuff like that. It’s just counter trade, all of it.

If you weren’t in your current job, what would you be doing?

That’s a good question. I suppose I always had a love for horses. Something to do with horses I would imagine.

I’d never have made a jockey, I’d be too heavy. I just have a love of horses since I was a child, so it would probably be something to do with that.

Describe your daily routine, James?

I get up at half six most mornings and finish at half five. Yeah, I’m here every day, nearly. Bar Sunday. And I’d be involved in community things as well around the area.

We have tidy towns and we have a Shandon group called S.A.R.A. and we have two festivals that we organize ourselves, the Shandon street festival and the Mother Jones Festival.

And then the Dragon of Shandon is also in the area. So I help out with them a bit. But there’s a great kind of community in the area, it’s a lovely place to be in.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

It’s a six marker. Maybe a jockey, (laughs) but we never got to that stage anyway.

Name one thing you’ve learned about business through your work?

I suppose you’ll meet good people and you’ll meet bad people. It’s like anything in life, really. You meet nice people and nasty people and that’s just the way the world is, I suppose.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about going into your trade?

Yeah. If you like it and I suppose it comes your way, it’s a grand trade and it’s probably a bit easier now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. There’s physical work in it, but there again, you have to put in the hours and put in the work as well.

It’s not something that you can just leave there and take a day off or take two days off. That would be my advice to anybody, in any business, not just this one.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and what lessons did they teach you?

I suppose my own parents really. Both of them were involved in business and I supposed they’d teach me lots of things through the years. Yeah.

My mother was involved in fruit and veg and all that kind of stuff on south main street and my father was here (working as a butcher) and just growing up in that kind of an environment really.

So I’d say both of them maybe.

Last question James. Do you have any favorite stories from your work?

Yeah, I suppose I had some lovely costumers on through the years. I had one lady, she died only about a year ago. She was well into her nineties. I always thought she’d live to be a hundred, but unfortunately, she didn’t. And another lady again, Mrs Allen.

You meet some lovely people and they’ve been very loyal, they’ve been in coming in here for 56 years. They’ve reared families and they’re kind of retired now and enjoying life.

And I suppose there’s a lot of people like that really. But there again, that’s a generation that’s fading away, unfortunately.

Signing Off

Hope you enjoyed this interview with James of Frank Nolan butchers on Shandon Street, Cork city. Like James said himself, he’s part of a dying breed. Which in our opinion is a terrible loss to towns and cities up and down the country.

If you’d like to contact James at Frank Nolan butchers Cork City. Check out his Facebook profile.Also check out our other blog posts on marketing your business locally if you are interested.

Pls. don’t hesitate to comment below and tell us whether you enjoyed this interview. Or maybe you have some suggestions as to businesses you’d like to read about?

Happy Hunting!