Cork is a city of festivals of celebrations, especially in the summer when we love nothing better than to take to the waters of our river and our epic natural harbour (the second largest in the world after Sydney).
Cork is an ancient port city, founded by the Vikings, built on the wave-borne trade of centuries. Our first trade routes in the 14th century went to the great ports of northern Europe, France and Spain.
Deep-ocean trade built our city – bringing the best of Cork produce – everything from Ships Biscuits, cured-fish, salt-beef and butter to beer and whiskey – to the four corners of the world.
Our annual Cork Harbour festival celebrates our great love of the harbour and sea. And of course, it celebrates our rich food heritage.
There’s a lot happening and plenty to do and see around the city & harbour.
Follow our guide to;
Harbour Festival Special Food Events.
The Cafes & Restaurants Serving Special Festival Dishes as Official Partners of Cork Harbour Festival 2018.
Our One-Day, City & Harbour Road-Trip to find some of the best seafood we have to offer.
Saturday, June 2nd – The Great Cobh Chowder Cook-Off (The Promenade, Cobh – 12 midday to 3pm)
Invented in Boston – Perfected In Cork, Chowder in all its many forms, from traditional to Mediterranean or Asian-influenced, is a signature dish for coastal Cork.
And what better way to enjoy it than on the Promenade in the historic port of Cobh, watching the famous (slightly bonkers) Ocean to City Race – a mad dash from the harbour to the city by scores of boats of all shapes and sizes and one of the great highlights of the festival. It’s the city en fête – or as we say, Pure Cork.
Local hotels, restaurants & chefs will be competing to be crowned Cork’s Chowder Kings and you can sample and rate the best as the Ocean to City boats dash by.
A great event for all the family with colour, excitement and amazing food (and not just Chowder).
Seaweed Talk, Tasting and Cooking Demonstration with Inch Hideaway - Glanturkin, Whitegate – from 2pm to 5pm Monday 4th June
Seaweed has come roaring back into fashion as a healthy, versatile ingredient – and you can learn how to harvest, prepare and cook this bounty of the coast with Marine Biologist Frances Gallagher.
Take a trip to Whitegate (40 mins drive from the City) for a talk & demonstration focusing on how to identify and forage edible seaweed from the Irish shore. Through a hands-on cooking demo and a tasting experience, you’ll learn about the deliciousness and nutritional aspects of seaweed and how to add this goodness to your daily diet. The event will take place at Eco Sustainable Camping of Inch Hideaway, East Cork, only 5 min drive to Inch strand and Roches Point - where you can put your new skills to the test with a bit of foraging.
Entry: €25pp (Max. 30 people) Book: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Ireland’s Most Celebrated Smokehouse at Belvelly – Tours at 11:00, 14:00 & 16:00 (45mins) Friday 8th June
Frank Hederman is one of the Rock Stars of the Cork food-scene, a self-taught craftsman/mad genius who is world-renowned for his smoked salmon.
Frank has Ireland’s only authentic timber smoke-house – at Belvelly on the harbour - where fish are hung on tall racks for smoking (including wild Irish fish caught on the Lee estuary).
He has developed a handmade process that makes his smoked salmon and mackerel so very special.
This is a rare opportunity to visit Belvelly Smoke House and follow in the footsteps of international food journalists and renowned chefs who have made the pilgrimage to this very special smoke house.
Entry: €5pp, €15 family (10 yrs old & under, free of charge) Book: Email email@example.com with preferred time.
Boats and Bites with Meitheal Mara – Port of Cork Bonded Warehouses – 4pm to 7pm Saturday 9th June
This festival of street-food, clustered on the stone-quays around our 17th century Bonded Warehouses – is always one of the highlights of the Harbour Festival.
Stalls set up right on the quay, serving up everything from oysters and mussels to paella, sushi, prawn bhajis and good old fish n’chips.
You can graze the stalls and take a row down the river in a traditional currach (there’s also traditional longboats and even Chinese dragon boats).
This year will see the historic Pelican Of London sailing ship docked on the quay as well as a more modern Irish Naval Service Ship and both will be open for free tours.
It’s free entry, the buzz is always great and there’s food to die for in one of the most picturesque spots in the harbour, just ten minutes’ walk from the city centre. Great for families.
The Harbour Festival has teamed up with Food Trail partners to serve up some special dishes throughout the festivities. Just drop in, ask for the Festival Dish and sample the best of Cork seafood.
You can start in the city and travel down the harbour for the very best in local and international cuisine, all using and inspired by Cork finest produce from field and sea.
One of Cork`s smallest & newest eateries - serving Asian cuisine from Taiwan, Vietnam & Korea using Cork`s finest produce, eat in or take out.
Barrack Street, Cork City
Opens: (Fri-Sun) 13:00-15:00; (Mon-Sun) 16:00-22:00.
Located at the heart of Cork City in a beautiful renovated art deco building on the river, there’s seafood bites from the bar, a stylish restaurant upstairs, craft beers & gins and a gorgeous river-side terrace.
41 South Mall, Cork City
Opens: (Tues-Sat) 17:00-22:00.
One of Cork’s most characterful daytime cafes, serving breakfast, lunch and great coffees. Locally sourced food and prepared with love and passion.
19 Caroline Street, Cork City
Opens: (Tues-Sat) 8:26-17:00; (Fri-Sat) 8:26-18:00.
One of Ireland`s best cocktail bars, amazing mixed-drinks with a street food and tapas inspired bites using the best of local produce. Located in the middle of the increasingly vibrant McCurtain Street.
48 Mac Curtain Street, Cork City.
Opens: (Fri-Sun) Lunch 13:00-17:00; Dinner (Mon-Sun) 17:00-22:00
One of Cork`s Finest Restaurants, in an idyllic setting with a 30 metre city centre waterfall & Cuisine that is based on local produce with modern Irish & innovative dishes.
48 Mac Curtain Street, Cork city
Opens: (Thurs-Sun) 12:30-14:30; (Mon-Sun) 17:30-21:00
Tequila Jacks Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar
Mexican Bar & Restaurant serving authentic Mexican food and maybe the best Margarita in town. Situated right on the Boardwalk overlooking the River Lee.
City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork
Opens: (Mon – Thur) 16:00-23:30; Fri 16:00-24:30; Sat 12:00-00:30/ Sun 12:00-23:00.
The Castle Café – Blackrock
A special place, in an old harbour castle down-river from the city at Blackrock. The Mediterranean menu includes locally sourced fish and meat dishes. With Blackrock village, the Castle Observatory and miles of scenic local walking on the doorstep, the Castle Café is a very popular spot just outside the city centre.
Opens: (Mon-Sun) 10:00-21:00.
Napoli Italian Delicatessen & Café
An authentic caffetteria Italiana on the harbour in Monkstown, specialising in genuine Italian coffee, cakes and dishes.
5 castle terrace, Monkstown
Opens: (Tues – Thurs) 9:30- 16:00 (Fri-Sat) 9:30 – 17:00 (Sun) 10:00 – 17:00 Closed Mondays.
Ferrit and Lee Restaurant
Modern Irish food in a casual dining setting, using the best of local produce East Cork has to offer. Only a short walk to the Jameson Heritage Centre in Midleton.
Distillery Walk, Midleton
Opens: (Tues-Thurs) 12:00-15:00; (Fri-Sat) 12:00-16:00 & 17:00-21:30; (Sun) 12:00-21:00.
Start With Breakfast/Brunch – At the Crawford Art Gallery Café, one of the most charming dining rooms in the city centre (at Emmet Place).
Try the Pana Bread with Frank Hederman’s Smoked Salmon – simple, delicious, pure Cork (or the Eggs Royale if you are feeling more decadent).
Go For Lunch At – Travel down the harbour to Mad Fish at Cronin’s Bar, Crosshaven – One of just 30 gastropubs on the Michelin Good Food In Pubs Guide in Ireland – their speciality is local shellfish, razor clams, mussels and oysters. Delicious with a glass of white wine.
Travel On – To Kinsale – To Try an Evening Meal in this sailing and foodie fishing village. For fine dining, there’s Bastion or Finn’s Table in the village, lighter bites and fine wines at The Black Pig or go to little Summercove Harbour just outside the town for the famous Bulman gastropub.
Or Return to the City – And eat at Les Gourmandises on Cook Street in the City Centre – Michelin guide rated classic French Cooking using the best of local produce including sea trout and salted cod.
Finish your night at – Arthur Mayne’s Pharmacy on Pembroke Street – a 120-year-old Pharmacy which has recently been converted into a fine wine-bar that serves up great, late-night treats.