monk who is believed to have founded the town around 550, less than a hundred years after
St. Patrick died.
If you missed the Irish festival season (spring to early summer), you can still get your fill
of festivity at Cork's annual Midsummer Festival, which lasts several weeks and usually
ends around the middle of July. It's a celebration of Irish arts and culture, especially music,
theater, and the visual arts.
Fitzgerald Park and Cork Public Museum
This park on the riverbank is small but extremely pleasant, with a pond in the center, a
children's playground, and plenty of locals playing cricket, soccer, and Gaelic games. At
the edge of Fitzgerald Park is the Cork Public Museum, which features exhibits on local
history and culture.
How to Visit the Blarney Stone - If you Must
Of all the many popular tourist destinations in Ireland, perhaps the most famous - and un-
doubtedly the most overrated - is the Blarney Stone outside Cork. Located on the high
walls of Blarney Castle , the Blarney Stone is supposed to endow the kisser with the gift of
flattery and beguiling talk. A popular legend states that local teenagers periodically break
into the grounds of Blarney Castle to urinate on the stone. Castle security guards insist that
this has never happened, but the popularity of the story is indicative of how much stock the
locals put in the legends about the Blarney Stone - to them, it's nothing more than a hugely
successful tourist trap.
Blarney Castle, however, is a beautiful structure and well worth a visit in its own right. The
castle is in remarkably good condition given its age, and the surrounding grounds include
a beautiful and tranquil garden that most visitors skip entirely.
And, OK, the Blarney Stone is an overly commercialized tourist trap - but you may still
get a thrill from leaning over the edge to kiss the mossy stone. Besides, lots of people enjoy
the sort of obligatory snap shot that you can only get by visiting the Blarney Stone. Just
don't mistake it for a genuine Irish cultural site.