Is Cork the true capital of Ireland? An age-old debate! Read on to see why Student Ambassador Sandra from the USA thinks Cork wins the battle…

Ask any person walking on St. Patricks street and they’ll tell you that Cork is the true capital of Ireland. Before moving to Cork, I was sceptical of this claim… 

Since I’m from New Jersey and grew up with New York City in my backyard, I was worried Cork would be too small of a city for me, and that I was gonna be bored. While I still believe that Cork is so tiny it’s practically a glorified town… I can now admit that Cork has become my favourite city in Ireland, especially as a college student! And with Cork being my favourite city in Ireland, I’m gonna explain to you why I also believe that Cork is the real capital of Ireland. 


Cobh, Co Cork (photo: Sandra)


Reason 1: Cork is filled with charm 

When I first moved to Cork, I was surprised by how friendly the people here were. All of my new Irish friends were extremely welcoming and most of the strangers passing me on the street greeted me with a smile or hello! Since the city is so small, if you’re walking in town, you’re nearly guaranteed to run into somebody you know, or make friends with someone new. The city’s charm can definitely be seen in the classic buildings, small businesses and even along the River Lee. And if you go past the city into Cork county, you’ll find some of the best spots in all of Ireland, like Cobh, Clonakilty, or Kinsale. 


Cobh Church on film (photo: Sandra)


Reason 2: Cork has great pubs, nightlife, and restaurants 

Cork has some pure Irish pubs! From what my friends and I like to call ‘old man’ pubs, to more youthful pubs, like An Brog. Most pubs serve Guinness as well as Cork’s own finest stouts, Beamish and Murphys. Because the people are so welcoming, you can easily find yourself meeting new friends while sharing pints at the Old Oak. After a few drinks you might even head to one of Cork’s nightclubs, like the Secret Garden, to dance the night away. And then afterwards, you could grab some food at one of the restaurants that stay open late.  

Boats at Cobh (photo: Sandra)



Reason 3: People from Cork know how to celebrate 

Every October Cork celebrates its annual Jazz festival with live music in the streets, the pubs and even the buses. The music and energy is so exciting, it’s definitely a weekend you would not want to miss! Cork also hosts an International Film Festival every year, with screenings all over the city. And in the summer you can find yourself celebrating Cork’s Midsummer Festival. 


Sandra in Cobh (photo: Sandra)



While all the things I listed above definitely feed into why I love Cork so much, the simple truth is that I’ve found a home in Cork. I feel safe here and I feel loved here. I moved to this city when I was only 20 years old, looking for a new adventure and I found it. I learned so much in Cork and I’ve grown so much as a person during my time here, it will always hold a special place in my heart and I will always believe it’s the true capital of Ireland. 


Sandra is studying Visual Communications at MTU.