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Top Things to do in Cork - East Cork

Cork is a county full of colour and contrasts, which includes some of Ireland's most beautiful scenery.

From the bustling streets of Cork City, to the beauty of West Cork, the tranquillity of North Cork and the holiday atmosphere of East Cork.

Cork City and East Cork have a wealth of historical and maritime inheritance and many exceptional attractions. As part of Ireland's Ancient East this makes it an ideal hub for interesting and fun-filled activities for both adults and children.

These include heritage centres, historic houses, museums, designated Irish heritage towns, beautiful gardens, galleries, castles and churches and family friendly attractions.

There is so much to see in East Cork, and luckily most of these places are on Castlemartyr's doorstep.



Explore East Cork


Old Midleton Distillery

Home to the world-renowned brands of Irish Whiskey; Jameson, Paddy and Powers, the Old Midleton Distillery presents historic Whiskey Tours, through production of Irish Whiskey.

The distillery in the quaint town of Midleton, about 20km from Cork City , was founded by the Murphy Brothers in the early 19th Century. The Old Midleton Distillery was in production for 150 years before a new adjacent distillery complex was built in 1975.

This new complex produces some 24 million bottles of Jameson, Powers and Paddy Irish whiskies each year, while the Old Distillery, restored to its former glory, guides thousands of visitors around the workings of Irish Whiskey making.


Ballymaloe Cookery School, Organic Farm & Gardens

Ballymaloe Cookery School is situated on 100 acres of organic farmland in the rolling countryside of East Cork, approximately 40 mins from Cork City. In addition to its world-renowned 12 Week Certificate course, the schools offers daily Afternoon Cookery Demonstrations from 2-5pm, along with an array of half-day, one day, and even week or month-long courses.

The captivating Gardens & Farm Walk is open all year to visitors and includes an acre under glasshouse and a Kids Trail. Guests can also enjoy a visit to The Farm Shop or Saturday Pizzas, which serves up delicious gourmet pizzas at weekends. Ballymaloe Cookery School welcomes visitors and tour groups from all over the world every year.


The Grainstore at Ballymaloe

The Grain Store is a recently converted, 17th century former farm building. Since its completion in 2010, it has been attracting all sorts of events, from entertainment evenings to Craft Fairs.

Located on the grounds of Ballymaloe House & Restaurant, they will be hosting a fantastic line up of events, concerts, and exhibitions all year round.


Titanic Experience

Titanic Experience Cobh is a new permanent visitor attraction which opened on February 1st 2012 in Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland. Situated in the original offices of The White Star Line, the location marks the departure point for the last 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic on its fateful maiden voyage to America.

The story is told using innovative audio visual technology bringing our characters to life through cinematic shows, scene sets, holographic imagery and touch screen technology.


Stephen Pearce Pottery

Stephen Pearce along with his small group of talented local craftspeople make the world famous Stephen Pearce ranges of pottery in Shanagarry, East Cork on the edge of Ballycotton bay. Stephen Pearce designs are used around the world every day.

Proud of his local roots and of the part he plays in preserving the heritage, culture and environment of Shanagarry and County Cork.


Midleton Farmer's Market

The Midleton Farmer's Market began in the Spring of 2000. The buzz on a Saturday morning is tangible and the market has built up a loyal customer base with new people discovering it's attractions every week. The market hosts various events throughout the year such as craft beer and farmhouse cheese tastings and the market is always accompanied by the sounds of local talented musicians.


Leahy's Open Farm

Situated in East Cork, just 3 miles from the lovely village of Dungourney, 15km north of the busy town of Midleton and bordering Cnoc a Ceo Woods, this family run farm is open to visitors throughout the year.

With a large selection of animals on display, there is so much for the children to do, from feeding the lambs to cuddling the rabbits.

There is go-karting, crazy golf and loads of indoor and outdoor playgrounds to explore.  Take a spin on the  barrel train ride or operate a real life JCB digger.

If after all that you’re feeling peckish, there is a lovely coffee shop serving delicious homemade food or the New Chocolate & Ice Cream factory which is a recent addition to the farm. Here you can indulge in some lovely homemade chocolates and ice Cream made on the premises. You may get to see  some being made!

A great family day out! Check our website for up and coming seasonal events.


Blackwater Boating

Blackwater Boating is the brainchild of Denis Murray, an avid rower and native of Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. Growing up next to the beautiful river Blackwater, Denis has always appreciated the excitement and wonder of this historic stretch of water.

A lifelong member of Cappoquin Rowing Club and native of the area, Denis’ personal knowledge of the river and its surrounds are second to none. Blackwater Boating is his way of sharing that magic.

Marrying excitement and adrenalin with history and breath-taking scenery, Blackwater Boating is an amazing adventure for explorers of all ages.


Sea Church & Schoolhouse Cafe Ballycotton

Sea Church is the former St Colman’s Church of Ireland, built in 1835 for £330 which was raised by subscription. The church suffered over the years due to a dwindling local Church of Ireland population, and gradually the church fell into disuse and was finally closed.

In 1995, the church was to feature as part of a multi-million dollar Hollywood film, Divine Rapture, starring Marlon Brando, Debra Winger & Johnny Depp. The film’s legacy was to provide a steady tourist market for the village.
However, just two weeks into filming and with only twenty-four minutes of film shot, the cast and crew departed, with local businesses left to carry the legacy of the production’s unpaid debts. You can watch the Sky Arts documentary Ballybrando here, which looks back at the ill-fated production.

As dreams crumbled then and as the church continued its passive existence, in 2018, Ballycotton-born Pearse Flynn set out to realise a dream of his own when he purchased the church from American vendors.

A multi-million euro revamp began to take this diamond in the rough from decline and into restoration. Special care was taken in the renovation of the church and a huge amount of time, energy and passion have been dedicated over a two-year restoration programme.

As a result, Sea Church maintains its distinctive design attributes. This project has required attention to detail and the reuse of existing fixtures & features, including the pointed arch stained-glass windows, the slate roof, wrought-iron gates and oak panels.

The bell tower has also been repaired and revived so that it remains in situ. The church’s timber staircase has been restored to original specification.

Paying due reverence to the church’s interiors, everything new that has been added works with the old, including a hanging light fitting that casts beautifully over the interior.

There is an anchor above the door of St Colman’s church. The anchor was a common symbol used by churches during the period of Roman persecution of Christians. An anchor held a ship in place during storms and symbolises strength & hope.

In addition, the shape simulates the shape of a cross. The hope was, of course, that the ship, so anchored, would be there when needed again. When lifted from the water, it represents a new adventure, a new voyage.
The Sea Church project brings St. Colman’s church alive once again and eager with excitement and hope for what is to come for this special venue.

As St Colman’s was a protected building, conservation of the building was a key element. It has been an arduous process, respecting the historic site while trying to build a restaurant and music venue.

Sea Church restaurant is located in the building adjacent St Colman’s church, which was originally a small local schoolhouse.

A contemporary glass atrium has been built to adjoin the former schoolhouse to the church. The contrast of glass and the historic church building marries perfectly as the extension’s floor-to-ceiling glass and glass roof brings nature’s rugged elements beautifully into play.

Inside, a mixture of bench seating and loose furniture made with high quality finished leather fill the space. Colour combinations of calming teal blue and revitalising forest green are inspired by ocean life.

By the kitchen, a large table with a live edge table-top sits beneath a feature light fitting. Along the walls, onset cabinets are fitted with a brushed oak frame exposing the grain of the timber while oak beams are fixed to the ceiling.

The walls themselves are finished in sand and cement as large feature light fittings illuminate the restaurant. In the corner sits a feature fire place while planting adds some indoor greenery.

The restaurant’s calming interior absorbs its surroundings, the Irish Sea, sun and sky and reflects it back into the design and function of the space.

Patrons are spared the wildness of the Atlantic. With the disappearance and appearance of sunlight, the mood is dramatically altered as the day turns into night.

“The design had to come from the surrounding beauty. We wanted to maintain the harmony of life and give a modern maritime feel inside the restaurant. We wanted to steer away from the traditional and look at something fresh and forward.”

For any upcoming concerts or to view The Schoolhouse menu and details, visit

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