Cork is known as The Rebel County for the independant
spirit of those that reside here, both past and present.
The largest county in Ireland, with about 702,000 inhabitants,
it has long sandy beaches, high rugged cliffs
scattering of off
shore islands. There are rocky
mountains, subtropical gardens and
still, dark corrie lakes.
You can find dark forests, climbing hillsides,
old walled towns, multicoloured spinnakers
of racing yachts and old memories of seafaring and ship wrecks.
Cork City, which hosts popular annual jazz and film festivals, is the only major urban area in the county and most of Cork's other small towns and villages, which are mainly dotted along the coastline exude a traditional air as if they have not changed very much in the last century.
Cork has a large number of ancient monuments and tombs and some of the finest are scattered around Clonakilty and on the Mizen Head. One of the most impressive of these is the Drombeg Stone Circle near Rosscarbery.
Southerly Cork and Kerry have the warmest climate of all Irish counties and the Fota Wildlife Park near Cork City takes advantage of the clement conditions by letting their grassland animals roam free in large enclosures.
Corks most famous son was Michael Collins, who led the military campaign against the English, which led to the setting up of the Irish Free State in 1921. A small visitors centre is based at his former home, which was burnt by the English near Rosscarbery.
The Great Famine hit Cork hard and thousands of people emigrated to America from Cobh during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Fastnet rock, the most southwesterly point in Ireland, was called the Tear Drop because it was the last piece of land the emigrants would see before reaching America.
It was in the harbour town of Cobh (pronounced cove), known one time as
Queenstown in honour of a visit
by Queen Victoria, that
made her last port of call. Many Irish
immigrants were aboard the doomed
Blarney Castle is home of the Blarney
has it that if you kiss the stone you will be
granted the gift of
eloquence. You must go to the top of
the castle, lie on your back and
ease down while someone
holds you feet in order to kiss the stone. Lesser known it is told that the stone is one half
of a larger stone.
The other half is said to be the Stone of Scone, where Irish Kings sat
for their coronation, and now resides in Westminster Abbey
where British royalty sit upon it to be crowned.