Something for the weekend… US Student Ambassador Emily Titsworth has got you covered for plans this weekend! She takes us to two of her favourite places in Cork without breaking the bank!

One of the bigger challenges of studying abroad is keeping a balance between seeing as much as you possibly can and having enough time and money to do so. As a graduate student in Cork City, I’ve discovered a few ways to make sure I’m able to explore without breaking the bank.  

Here are two of my favourite day trips from Cork City on a student budget. 

Trip One: Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle (photo: Emily)

I know what you’re thinking. Blarney is one of the most well-known castles in Ireland, and therefore, a tourist trap. That’s what I initially thought, but hear me out. My friends and I took a trip to Blarney one fine Saturday morning and I still can’t stop thinking about it. Blarney Castle and grounds are stunning.  

There is so much to see while you’re there besides kissing the Blarney Stone. My favourite part of exploring the grounds was walking through the forest. The trees are massive and the grounds are steeped in folklore. There are stories of a witch who lived on the grounds. Apparently, she saved a man from drowning. Now, if you head over to her “kitchen” there is a pathway that grants wishes. If you walk down the steps, backwards, while thinking of your wish, it will come true. Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself. 

Worried about COVID-19? Don’t worry, you can still kiss the Blarney Stone during the pandemic. When I went back in September, there was a man stationed at the stone with cleaning supplies, and he sanitized the stone after every kiss. It’ll probably be the most germ-free kiss you’ll ever have, and it comes with the gift of gab – the ability to chat and speak fluently when in conversation.

With a student discount, you can get a ticket for 13 euros. This ticket allows you to enter the grounds and stay as long as you like. Make sure you check out the lake on the property. Then, after you’re done with a morning full of exploring, head over to the Mill Restaurant for some classic Irish cuisine and finish up a full day with shopping for Irish goodies at Blarney Woolen Mills. 

Ticket price: €13 

Transport cost: Taxi – approximately €20 / Bus – For fare information, check out the Bus Éireann website.  

Trip Two: Cobh 

The Deck of Cards, Cobh (photo: Emily)

Cobh (pronounced Cove) was one of the first places I visited when I moved to Cork. Only a thirty-minute train ride, a friend and I took a quick day trip there. The town is steeped in history. Cobh was the last place the Titanic left from before its tragic sinking back in 1912. You can even learn more about the Titanic and its historical voyage through the Titanic Experience Cobh. This interactive guided tour puts visitors in the shoes of the passengers. Upon entering the museum, each visitor is given a boarding pass of a real person who travelled on the Titanic. Then, throughout the duration of the tour, visitors learn about the ship and its passengers. Student tickets only cost 8 euros.  

After learning about the Titanic, take a stroll up to see the “Deck of Cards” and get Instagram-worthy photos. You can even take a ferry out to Spike Island: an island with a long dark history whose buildings served as a monastery, fort, and prison.   

Titanic Museum Price: €8 

Spike Island Tour: Visit Spike Island’s website for more information.  

Transport cost: Train – €5 round trip, with flexible arrival and departure 

I hope you take my advice and see these absolute wonders of Ireland!

Emily is studying Creative Writing at University College Cork.