Cork (Corcaigh) is the Republic of Ireland's second largest city, situated on the banks of the River Lee in the south of County Cork. This was originally a port town built on canals and river channels, but those have long since been filled in. The city is more laid-back than Dublin, and has a large artistic community, with music, dance, theater, and visual arts in abundance.
The small gay scene has contracted even more in the past few years, with the closing of both gay saunas and a fire at The Other Place community resources center and comfortable cafe, closing them down. Only one specifically gay/lesbian bar/club remains. But the divisions and cliques of larger cities are absent here, and ages and genders mix more freely in this more old-fashioned, less "out" community with its underground, tucked-out-of-sight feel.
Cork Airport is about 3 miles south of Cork City. It has daily flights from Dublin, London, Manchester, and many European cities.
Because County Cork has such an allure, you’ll want to rent a car to explore the scenic countryside. To travel anywhere in Ireland by bus or coach see the website of Bus Eireann
Currency and Money
Ireland’s currency is the euro. ATMs are common in the downtown area.
Media and resources
Cork Gay Community Development (the former Cork Gay Project) is an umbrella group of local gay organizations.
For businesses listed below, and more, see our Cork gay map & listings pages.
Chambers Dance Club (Washington St, at Hannover Pl, opposite Courthouse), popular gay dance club, mostly young mixed crowd, nightly entertainment, live bands, wide variety of music; drag shows, games, bingo, contests, Ru Paul's Drag Race screenings. 18+ weekdays and Sundays. 21+ Friday/Saturday. Combines old Chambers and Ruby nightclubs.
Cork Gay Project (4 South Terrace), support group meetings; first Wednesday movies, second Wednesday games, third Wednesday Information Night, Fourth Wednesday open mic.
The Roundy Bar (1 Castle St), lively pub in old building, for morning coffee, trendy mixed-crowd nights, many speciality beers, comedy, films, and a broad range of live music from all kinds of fine local musicians, five nights a week.
CLOSED: Freakscene at Savoy (107-108 St Patrick's St), now-and-then alternative/gay-friendly dance club; Loafers (26 Douglas St), was Ireland's oldest gay pub, mixing "the lads and the ladies." See their facebook page for a photo archive.
Down on the coast just to the south of Cork, the Bulman (Summercove, Kinsale) is a gay-friendly 200-year-old pub and Mediterranean/Asian restaurant. Their tables overlook a peaceful scene of the sea, and boats in the harbor.
Bombay Palace (14 Cook St), daily Indian lunch and dinner, meat and veggie, Tandoori, seafood.
Cafe Depeche (19 Lancaster Quay, also North Main St), espresso bar has fine quality selections of coffee, plus tea/chai, chocolate, cider, shakes, paninis, muffins, cookies and cake.
Cafe Gusto (3 Washington St; & The Boardwalk, Lapps Quay,), Mediterranean cafe and coffeehouse, mezze, antipasto, tapas dishes, Moroccan lamb tagine, albondigas (meatballs), great soups, and (byob) your own favorite bottle of wine or choose from their list.
Cafe Paradiso (16 Lancaster Quay) vegetarian restaurant has a lively atmosphere, and food to tempt even the most skeptical of meat-eaters.
Cornstore Restaurant (40A Cornmarket St), local-source quality organic foods; seafood and steak specialities, wine and cocktail bar.
Electric (41 South Mall), renovated art deco buildind at riverside, steak and seafood restaurant/bar and fish bar.
Ivory Tower (35 Princes St), imaginative fine dining, star chef; Irish, Japanese, Mexican cuisines, Fusion tasting menu, wines.
The Liberty Grill (32 Washington St), near the courthouse, serving breakfast and lunch 8am to 5pm, all-day Sunday brunch, plus American New England-influenced and International style evening meals until 9pm. Vegetarian and seafood options.
Nash 19 (19 Princes St), cafe, restaurant and shop at the center, with artisan quality meals, breakfast, lunch, Sunday brunch, bakery items; good wine selections, including by the glass.
Oliver Plunkett (116 Oliver Plunkett St), sports pub with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks; all kinds of live music every night, WiFi.
Quay Co-op (26 Sullivan's Quay), workers' cooperative vegetarian/vegan restaurant, oft cited as Cork's best. Wide variety of meals, snacks to three-course, organic wines; also breakfast 9-noon. Organic/ whole-food store supplements, herbal remedies, essential oils and baked goodies.
Ashley Hotel (Coburg St), 3-star hotel rooms in 1840 Victorian near city center shops, restaurants and bars.
Clayton Hotel (Lapps Quay), large modern hotel at city center, with 160 rooms, fitness club, breakfast; Globe Restaurant and Bar, WiFi café, Atrium lounge afternoon tea.
College View Apartments (6 College View Terrace), furnished apartments by the night or for extended stays, all amenities, near University College.
Emerson House (2 Clarence Terrace), year-round, gay-friendly bed and breakfast in 18th-century Georgean not far from train station; en suite rooms, fireplaces, city and river views, reasonable rates.
Gabriel House (Summerhill North), beautiful period guesthouse near bus and train stations; single, twin, triple or family rooms, all en-suite with TV and internet, low rates. "Now-legendary" full breakfast, free parking.
Imperial Hotel Cork (0 South Mal), elegant 4-star luxury hotel rooms and penthouse suite, restaurants/bars.
Jury's Inn (Anderson's Quay), at heart of Cork overlooking the River Lee, within walking distance of all major businesses, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and cultural attractions.
Lancaster Lodge (Lancaster Quay, Western Rd), spacious 4-star boutique rooms/suites at the center, breakfast, WiFi.
Sheila's Hostel (4 Belgrave Pl, off Wellington) inexpensive dorm rooms from 10 euros/night, near bus & train stations, shops, pubs, restaurants; food, wine, free movies, internet, secure luggage.