Free Things to Do in Cork City

Looking to discover the very best of Cork City without having to empty your pockets? Cork City is home to a range of amazing free things to do, all within easy access from us here at Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City. Take a look below for some of our favourites!

Fitzgerald Park

15-minute walk from hotel

Fitzgerald Park

Fitzgerald Park is an 18-acre park situated on the bank of the River Lee, a ten-minute walk from Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City. The park offers a relaxing escape from the busy city streets with beautiful trees, flower beds, statues and sculptures and a stunning central fountain.

Fitzgerald Park is home to Cork’s largest playground, so you needn’t worry about something to do for the kids! Bring the bikes along and take a scenic cycle through the park. You can also enjoy free open-air concerts throughout the summer. Top off your day with a picnic or visit the Natural Foods Café at Fitzgerald Park for a tasty bite to eat.

Free Walking Tours Cork

8-minute walk from hotel


Take a stroll through the history of Cork City, from its medieval past, through to its success as the busiest port in the British Empire and back into modern times, with the fabulous Free Walking Tours Cork. You will be fascinated by this ancient city and its river channels, historic castles, old laneways and back streets.

The tour takes 90 minutes to complete, with the meeting point being Daunt’s Square, is less than a 10-minutes’ walk from Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City.

Shandon Orienteering

On the doorstep of hotel

The Shandon Orienteering route is a great way to discover Shandon and take in some of the very best architectural features the area has to offer.

This orienteering route consists of a series of 5 fixed checkpoints, with each one being found at a different architectural feature around Shandon. To find each checkpoint you must follow the clues provided on the map. The downloadable map and clues can be found here.

Each checkpoint contains a QR code, which when scanned links back to the Shandon Orienteering page, where more information about the stories of the area can be found.

Crawford Art Gallery

5-minute walk from hotel

The Crawford Art Gallery is a public art gallery and museum, dedicated to the visual arts, both historic and contemporary. The Crawford, a National Cultural Institution, is only a short 5-minute walk from Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City, situated at Emmet Place.

The collection comprises over 3,000 works, ranging from eighteenth-century Irish and European painting and sculpture to contemporary video installations.

After you are done exploring the gallery, stop off at the award-winning Crawford Summer Garden Café. Located on the ground floor of Crawford Art Gallery, the café is hugely popular with locals, serving the very best quality food and cooking it simply but beautifully.

Cork Public Museum

15-minute walk from hotel

Cork Public Museum is a museum housed in a stunning two-storey Georgian house, located at the centre of Fitzgerald Park, a 15-minutes’ walk from Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City. The museum is home to a collection of about 40,000 objects which cover a variety of subjects from archaeology and natural sciences, to the political, cultural and social history of Cork city and county.

The museum contains a fine selection of silver, ceramics and other memorabilia connected with Cork’s civic life. Highlights include Ireland’s oldest pick and shovel that was discovered in a Bronze Age copper mine in Mount Gabriel and the Garryduff Gold Bird, an excellent example of early medieval skill and craftsmanship.

Marina & Blackrock Walk

15-minute walk from hotel

Cork’s newest pedestrianised walk alongside the beautiful River Lee, this picturesque setting is ideal to let kids run free, bring bikes and scooters or enjoy a relaxing walk by the river’s edge.

There are plenty of coffee spots along the route and you will pass through Blackrock village with many cafés awaiting you for a bite to eat. Feeling adventurous? Continue on to complete the walk’s full loop which is 8km in total.

University Heritage Walk & Glucksman Gallery

10-minute walk from hotel

The University walk is a heritage walk developed by Cork City Council. Along the route, you will find a number of information panels with signposts, maps and historic information. The walk takes approximately 1 hour and 30-minutes to complete, starting at Daunt Square, a 10-minute walk from Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City.

Along your travels stop off at the Glucksman Gallery, a museum located within the University College Cork campus. The Glucksman is a cultural and educational institution that promotes the research, creation and exploration of the visual arts. There is plenty to do and see with a wide range of art workshops, film screenings, seminars, lecture series and gallery tours on offer for visitors.

English Market

10-minute walk from hotel

The English Market is one of Cork’s most popular attractions and the most famous food market in Ireland. This beautiful 28th century market is located at the heart of the city, just a 10-minutes’ walk from Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City.

Here, traders sell food from all over the world as well as organic and local produce. Browse through the vintage clothes stalls, taste some artisan chocolate or enjoy a coffee while wandering and soaking up the famous market atmosphere.

Blackrock Observatory

15-minute drive from hotel

Blackrock Castle Observatory is located just outside Cork, 15-minutes’ drive from Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City and was built in the 16th Century as a watchtower for the city.

This beautiful castle does charge a fee to enter but that doesn’t mean you can’t take in its beauty from the outside while gazing at the stars from the river’s edge. There are free talks and events often happening here, make sure to keep an eye on their website. There is a lovely 8km flat walk you can do from here taking in the view of the Port of Cork in Blackrock and Rochestown.

Maldron Hotel Shandon Cork City

Our newly refurbished 4-star hotel is located right at the heart of Cork City, just minutes away from Cork’ finest restaurants, bars and attractions, making us the ideal base for your next visit.

During your stay enjoy complimentary access to Club Vitae leisure centre and 20m pool with dedicated kiddie’s pool. Our Grain & Grill Restaurant has something for all tastes, including a dedicated kid’s menu.

Our rooms are both spacious and comfortable, providing you with that perfect night’s sleep after a busy day of exploring.

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