Dublin vs Cork: Which City To Visit Or Live In?

It’s down to Dublin vs Cork! 

Which city is perfect as your home sweet home? 

Which city is the perfect destination for you to travel to create memories that last for a lifetime? 

Is it Cork or Dublin to visit, or as your permanent home?

While Dublin is the capital of Ireland, some locals consider Cork as the true capital of Ireland!

It can be tricky to decide between Dublin vs Cork, but Ger and I have some good news for you!

After we made the decision to move to Ireland, we began researching to decide which city in Ireland would suit us best. 

We understand firsthand how difficult it can be to make a life-changing decision like this. 

Hence, we’ve curated this guide to walk you through some factors you want to consider before moving to or visiting these cities!

Dublin vs cork

At A Glance: Dublin vs Cork

Safety1. Petty theft and pickpocketing is common 
2. Higher crime index than Cork
3. Stay within well-lit and populated areas at night
1. Quite safe to travel around, even at night
2. Stay within well-lit and populated areas at night
WeatherLots of rain, especially in OctoberLots of rain, especially in October and December
Size Of CityArea of 117.8 km²Area of 187 km²
Culture1. More than 700 pubs in Dublin2. Smart casual is the way to go for dress code1. There is something for everyone, from live music to classy evening bars and nightclubs
Public TransportWell-connected and reliable public transport system – taxis, buses, trams, and trainsBuses and taxis are available around Cork. You can rent a bicycle to travel around the city.
Food1. Boxty and full Irish breakfast are a must-try in Dublin!
2. Vegetarian and vegan food available
1. Gubbeen cheese, black pudding, and spiced beef are some Cork delicacies you must try
2. Lots of vegetarian and vegan food available here
Day Tours1. E-Bike Tour
2. Roe & Co Distillery Tour
3. Walking Tour (Personalized!)
4. Walking Tour With Viking Warriors
1. Cork Culinary Tour
2. Walking Tour: History Edition
3. Blarney Castle & Gardens
4. Whiskey tasting and distillery tour
AttractionsIrish dancing shows, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Ghost Bus Tour, and the Temple Bar DistrictTours, the English Market, Fitzgerald Park, Cork City Gaol, Butter Museum, and Elizabeth Fort
Education1. Excellent place to further your studies
2. Easy to travel around the city for entertainment
1. Vibrant student community
2. Plenty to do and see around the city
Affordability1. Wide range of job opportunities in different sectors
2. Dublin’s cost of living > Cork’s cost of living
1. More affordable than living in Dublin2. Lots of opportunities in the public sector, pharmaceutical sector, and international technology.

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Dublin vs cork

Dublin vs CorkDublin

1. Safety

According to Numbeo, the safety index of Dublin is at a rating of 46.97, while the crime index is at a rating of 53.03.

As the largest city of Ireland filled with loads of opportunities, Dublin has more people living here compared to the other cities of Ireland. 

This also means there is a higher chance of crime in Dublin, where petty theft and pickpocketing are common. 

There are also certain areas that you should avoid in Dublin after dark. When in doubt, hail a taxi to take you to your destination or stay in well-lit and more populated areas. 

2. Weather

As long as you’re in Ireland, whether it’s Cork or Dublin, you will be experiencing a lot of rain. 

If you’re here in Dublin during October (aka the wettest month), be prepared for a lot of rainfall! A raincoat will be your best friend to combat the Irish weather 😉

With approximately 680mm of precipitation, Dublin experiences about 188 days of rain within a year.

Summers in Dublin range at a temperature between 12°C (54°F) to 19°C (66°F), while temperatures during winter are about 11°C (51°F).  

Dublin vs cork

3. Size Of City

Dublin is the capital and the most populated city in Ireland. If you are looking for an area with many job opportunities, Dublin is the place to go.

The city is estimated to have a population of 1,284,551 in an area of 117.8 km2

4. Culture

If you’re in Dublin, you cannot miss out on experiencing its nightlife! With over 700 pubs available, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Whether you prefer having a drink at a traditional Irish pub or dancing the night away at one of Dublin’s many nightclubs, it’ll be an unforgettable night.

For instance, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you walk through the doors of The Brazen Head. After all, it is the world’s 5th oldest pub!

Dublin’s nightlife is very relaxed, so wearing smart casual clothing will give you entry to most of its pubs and bars. 

Aside from nightlife, Gaelic games are a huge deal in Dublin. Gaelic games are promoted by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Ireland’s largest sporting organization.

One thing unique about Gaelic games is it is strictly amateur, so players at any level do not receive payment for playing for their county.

If you plan to move to Dublin and want to try something new, joining a club for one of the Gaelic games is a great way to meet new friends.

5. Public Transport

Fortunately, Dublin’s public transport is reliable and operates across the city. Hence it’s really convenient to travel to your destination, whether you’re working or traveling.

The buses are one of Dublin’s main public transport. But if you intend to visit some of the main attractions, it’s more convenient to join a hop-on hop-off bus tour

Thankfully, you’ll find it easy to hire a taxi in Dublin, especially if you want to save time walking around the city. 

We recommend taking a taxi at night, especially in the areas that are less safe to walk around after dark.

LUAS (means speed in Irish) is Dublin’s tram system that operates in the city and suburbs. The trams do not serve in an area as large as the public buses do.

However, the trams travel very fast and are an alternative method to explore Dublin if you want to try something different.

DART, which stands for Dublin Area Rapid Transit, is a well-connected train system that operates across the city and some coastal areas in Dublin.

DART is also connected to LUAS, so you can see how well-connected public transport is in Dublin!

Dublin vs cork

Photo: Tripadvisor

6. Food

For an authentic Irish experience, you should definitely dine at the pubs! Have a chat with the locals as you feast on tasty Irish food and have a couple of beers. 

A traditional Irish food you must try would be the hearty full Irish breakfast! It usually includes sausage, bacon, black or white pudding (this is a type of sausage), eggs, tomatoes, toast, and mushrooms. 

Aside from the full Irish breakfast, you should also try these unique pancakes made from potatoes, known as boxty pancakes. Boxty pancakes are usually served with eggs and bacon.

Anything seafood is a good bet as well. The chicken filet roll, coddle, Irish stew, Irish soda bread, and spice bag are also typical Irish food that you gotta try!

Vegetarians and vegans are welcome here in Dublin! You will be spoilt for choice with the many options offered at restaurants and cafes.

7. Day Tours

1. Dublin Howth Small-Group Guided Tour on E-Bike, Equipment incl.

Cycle on an electric bike on a tour with a guide who will tell you all you need to know about the beautiful town of Howth.

You will be traveling with a small group, so you’ll find it easy to mingle and get to know everyone! 

2. Roe & Co Distillery Experiences

Immerse yourself in this unique experience of creating your own whiskey on a tour at Roe and Co Distillery! 

If that isn’t quite your speed, you could opt to discover your ideal taste profile by exploring the 5 pillars of flavor! After the workshop, you will end the tour by enjoying a signature drink at the bar.

3. The Fantastic Walking Tour of Dublin

Discover Dublin’s main attractions by joining this personalized tour! 

The guide would be happy to customize the tour to your preferences and interests, so you will only drop by places you’re interested in.

This tour is perfect for anyone visiting Dublin for the first time, which even accommodates those with limited mobility. 

4. Walk with Viking Warriors through Dublin’s Medieval Quarter

Want to learn more about medieval history and Viking Culture in Dublin? Then, this is the perfect tour for you! It’s a unique blend of education and entertainment in one tour. 

Listen to the interactive stories told by guides wearing Viking costumes, and you even get to hold authentic Viking replica weapons for photo opportunities! 

Dublin vs cork

Photo: Tripadvisor

8. Attractions

Dublin may be the bustling capital of Ireland, but this city also knows how to have fun!

Many museums can be found across the city, each rich with history and artifacts that tell the story of what Dublin used to be. 

Besides, Dublin also hosts many festivals throughout the year, such as the St. Patrick’s Festival, Bloomsday Festival, and Bram Stoker Festival. 

So, if you have plans to visit Dublin, check if any upcoming festivals will take place during your vacation!

If you need suggestions on what to check out in Dublin during your holiday, we have curated a list of places to visit.

1. Join a Dublin Ghost Bus Tour

Yes, you read that right! Doesn’t a Dublin Ghost Bus Tour sound cool?

Join this tour, where your guide will set an eerie scene in the city, complete with all kinds of tales and stories about ghosts, murders, and mystery! Better watch your back that night, eh 😉

2. Attend Celtic Nights

Celtic Nights is a unique show that showcases traditional Irish dancing.

Enjoy a 3-course meal as you immerse yourself in the unforgettable night ahead at the Arlington Hotel! The show is held every night, which is convenient to schedule during your stay.

3. Temple Bar District

The iconic Temple Bar District is a fun area, home to many famous restaurants, pubs, and bars in Dublin. 

Let the buskers serenade you with live music, have an Irish beer at any lively pub, or go clubbing with the locals at the Temple Bar District! 

Whatever you choose to do, you will have one of the best nights of your life. 

4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

You will feel like you’ve gone back in time when you see the lovely St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The spectacular cathedral has one of the finest architecture in Dublin. 

From the gorgeous stained-glass windows to the lovely medieval structure, you will be in awe of its grandeur and beauty.

If you are lucky, you may have a chance to hear the choir singing in the cathedral!

Free guided tours are available at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is a lovely way to pass the time exploring this historical site.

Dublin vs cork

Photo: Tripadvisor

9. Education

Aside from many attractions, Dublin is also an excellent place to further your education. 

Some of the best universities in Dublin are Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and Dublin City University.

If you intend to study in Dublin, you’ll be glad to know that there is plenty to do in Dublin. 

You can experience its iconic nightlife, visit one of its many museums, and attend one of Dublin’s many annual festivals! 

Good thing Dublin also has public transport that is easily accessible throughout the city, so it’s convenient for you to check out everything Dublin has to offer 😉

Dublin vs cork

10. Affordability 

Dublin is an expensive place to settle down in Ireland. The average rent per month for a 1-bedroom apartment will cost you roughly €2,046 (USD 2,219).

But the good news is Dublin’s job market offers a wide range of opportunities across different sectors! Sectors such as IT, finance, and pharmaceutical are always in demand here. 

Dublin vs CorkCork

1. Safety

Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, which some citizens jokingly consider as the true capital of Ireland. 

Dublin vs cork

Photo: Tripadvisor

According to Numbeo, Cork’s safety index is at a rating of 64.42, while its crime index is at a rating of 35.58

Overall, Cork is considered a safe place to travel and live. The friendly locals will welcome you with open arms and are happy to assist you if needed. 

The city is still safe to travel around at night, so you can still immerse yourself in Cork’s vibrant nightlife! 

Of course, it is still best to exercise caution by remaining in well-lit and busier areas at night to diminish any chances of unfortunate incidents. 

2. Weather

Ireland is well-known for its rainy weather. Hence, Cork is no exception. 

Cork has approximately 152 days of rain with about 1002 mm of precipitation, where the wettest months are in October and December.  

On average, Cork’s summers experience an average temperature of about 17°C (63°F), while its winters average around 11°C (51°F). It is rare to see snow in Cork, but it is possible. 

3. Size Of City

Cork has an estimated population of 225,885 living in an area of 187 km².

4. Culture

In terms of nightlife, there is plenty to look forward to in Cork. There are lots of pubs and bars for you to explore. 

If you love live music, Cork has a ton of live music venues for you to look forward to after dark. Some venues even offer live storytelling, which is another unique way to spend the evening. 

Otherwise, Cork also welcomes you to hang out at any of its classy evening bars, dance your hearts away at nightclubs, or have a drink at the local pubs! 

Aside from nightlife, Gaelic games such as hurling and Gaelic football are huge in Cork. Some might even say that Ireland takes their Gaelic games very seriously!

Here’s a little fun fact for you. Dublin vs Cork GAA has been considered one of the fiercest rivalries in Gaelic football!

5. Public Transport

Cork is a compact city, making it convenient to walk around for work or to travel in this charming city. 

Nevertheless, public transport is available in Cork, whether it means getting you to your destination faster or as a safer way to travel!

One way to travel around Cork is by cycling. You get to stay fit while checking out the sights that Cork has to offer! It is also affordable and environmentally friendly, which is another win. 

You can rent a bike by downloading the TFI Bikes App. There are many dock locations across the city for your convenience to rent a bike and explore Cork. 

The bus service, Bus Éireann, operates across the city every day until late at night. It even operates in towns along the Wild Atlantic Way if you wish to explore more of the Emerald Isle.

Taxis are also available around Cork, should you ever need it. It’s a good thing too, especially if you don’t wish to walk around the city in the dark. 

You can board a bus or take a taxi to the nearest airport. It’s a 15 to 20-minute ride without heavy traffic. 

Dublin vs cork

Photo: Tripadvisor

6. Food

Are you wondering what are some unique foods to try in the food capital of Ireland? Don’t worry, we’ve got some suggestions for you!

Black pudding is not the typical sweet pudding you would expect. In Ireland, black pudding is a type of blood sausage. The blood is mixed with barley or oats to form a sausage consistency. 

While you can try black pudding on its own, you might find it served as a topping on pizzas or part of the full Irish breakfast. 

Many locals believe it’s not a full Irish breakfast without black pudding, so now you know you gotta try the Irish breakfast too!

Aside from the black pudding, you must not miss out on sampling the Gubbeen Cheese! The famous semi-soft cheese is made from cow’s milk. 

This creamy cheese boasts mushroom and nutty flavors. You will recognize this cheese by its unique pink and white rind. 

You may find this cheese at the markets (such as the English Market) or one of the cheese shops in the city.

If you are in Cork, then look for spiced beef! It is a staple in the Cork households during Christmas celebrations. But now you can try this dish at any time of the year. 

One of the best places to get spiced beef is from Tom Durkin’s at the English Market! 

If you are vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of options around the city. Whether at the markets or restaurants, you will love the options available!

7. Day Tours

1. Cork Culinary Tour

For an adventure that will delight your taste buds, this Cork Culinary Tour is the way to go. 

You will drop by the best markets of Cork – the English Market and Coal Quay Market, where you get to try all sorts of delicacies and the best local produce. 

It’s a beautiful way to explore Cork as you admire the sights and fill your bellies!

2. Brews, Bites & Battles: A History Crawl Of Cork City

This tour is for you if you would love to know more about Cork’s stories and best food. 

You will learn more about the history of Cork’s rebel past and sample traditional Irish food with the wonderful tour guide. 

If you are up for it, you may even have drinks with the guide at one of Cork’s oldest pubs after the tour ends!

3. Easy Access Blarney Stone and Castle Gardens Tour

This tour is great if you wish to explore the 15th-century Blarney Castle & Gardens. You don’t have to queue for the tickets, so precious time is saved to explore more of Cork!

The castle is also home to the iconic Blarney Stone, where it is a tradition to kiss the Blarney Stone to receive the gift of the gab!

The tour also includes dropping by the charming village of Blarney, where you will drop by one of the country’s oldest Irish craft shops.

4. Midleton Distillery Experience & Whiskey Tasting – Home Of Jameson

For a true Irish experience, whiskey tasting is the way to go! You will visit the old distillery and learn about the process of distillation.

After a tour of the distillery, you will end it on a good note by sampling a Jameson-based cocktail or whiskey!

Dublin vs cork

Photo: Tripadvisor

8. Attractions

When it comes down to attractions, there really isn’t a clear winner between Dublin vs Cork City. Each city has something unique to offer that will appeal to different people.

Cork is a treasure trove of history, food, and places to go sightseeing! One of the best things about Cork is you do not need a car to explore the city. 

Simply put on comfortable walking shoes and have an adventurous spirit, and you are ready to go!

If you are confused about where to visit, let us help you by giving a few suggestions. 

1. Join A Tour

One of the best ways to explore Cork is by joining a tour

You don’t have to fuss about arranging transport or planning where to eat. The tour will plan it all for you. So all you have to do is show up and have a good time in Cork!

2. English Market

This market is one of Cork’s most famous landmarks. It has been trading since 1788 and is Cork’s tourist and heritage attraction.

Here, you will sample some of the best local produce in the city. It is a wonderland of high-quality meats, baked delicacies, specialty cheeses, and much more.

3. Fitzgerald Park

If you wish to go for a nice stroll or get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Fitzgerald Park is the perfect place.

Fitzgerald Park is a stunning green space located along the River Lee. Locals love heading to the English Market to buy food to have a picnic at Fitzgerald Park. 

Overall, the park is a lovely haven of gardens and flower beds, complemented by the lovely river views. 

It is also where Cork’s Public Museum is located, which offers free entry! So, now you know where you can go if you’re looking for a quiet afternoon to learn more about Cork’s history and artifacts.

4. Cork City Gaol 

Formerly a prison, Cork City Gaol is now a fascinating museum for you to visit. While this place is more on the eerie side, it is still worth a visit!

Throughout the tour, you will visit cells that had writings and scribblings of the prisoners on the walls. 

You will also get an insight into the conditions that the prisoners experienced in a 19th-century prison.

You can go on a staff-guided tour or opt for a self-guided tour of the museum. The self-guided tour provides a standard booklet as a guide.

Otherwise, you can pay a little more for an audio guide to enhance your experience. 

5. The Butter Museum

Yes, you read that right! It’s a museum about butter, which isn’t a surprise since Ireland is famous for its high-quality dairy products.

In fact, Cork was where the Butter Exchange took place during the 19th century. You will get a glimpse of the traditional equipment used to make butter and a keg of 1,000-year-old butter! 

It may not be a large museum, but the tour is very educational. You will also learn why Cork was once the center of butter trading as well. 

6. Elizabeth Fort

This 17th-century fort is one of Cork’s oldest historical sites. Aside from its original purpose as a defensive fortification, Elizabeth Fort was also used as a prison, police station, and military barracks. 

You can admire the view of the city from the historical bastions and walk along the walls of this star-shaped fort. 

The old Garda Station (aka police station) has an exhibition where you will learn more about its past as a prison for women.

It’s free of entry, but you can also pay a small fee for a guided tour. 

Dublin vs cork

Photo: Tripadvisor

9. Education

While Cork isn’t the capital, it does have many choices for local and international students. 

In fact, Cork hosts over 30,000 college students, creating a tight-knit and vibrant student community! 

Whether you are looking for a maritime college, college of art, or business school, there is something for everyone in Cork.

There’s plenty for students to do around the city. An affordable way would be to cycle around the city by renting a bike via the TFI Bikes App. 

Cork also has its share of annual festivals for you to look forward to, such as the Cork Folk Festival, Cork Jazz Festival, and Cork International Film Festival.

Photo: Unsplash

10. Affordability 

Although Cork costs €1,511 (USD 1,630) per month to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in the city, it is still more affordable than Dublin.

Therefore, in the battle of Dublin vs Cork, the cost of living in Cork is lower than in Dublin.

Comparing Cork versus Dublin in terms of job opportunities, Dublin still offers better job opportunities than Cork does. 

But entrepreneurial spirit is highly encouraged in Cork as well, which makes Cork one of the strongest regions when it comes to start-ups in Ireland.

Some of the key employers in Cork are the public sector, pharmaceutical sector, and international technology. 

FAQs On Dublin vs Cork

What To Do In Cork For The Weekend?

1. Join a tour without fussing over transport or places to eat! You’ll meet like-minded people (and maybe new friends?) along the way, as your guide shows you the best places in Cork.

2. You must drop by the English Market, which is one of the most famous tourist and heritage attractions in Cork! You will find some of the best food here. 

Whether it’s specialty cheese, baked goods, or traditional Irish food, the food here will make your mouth water and leave you wanting more! 

3. Go for a nice stroll at Fitzgerald Park, where you are surrounded by beautiful gardens and a lovely view of the river. You can even bring your food from the English Market nearby and picnic here. 

If you have time, you should also drop by Cork Public Museum, which is also at the very same park. You don’t have to pay a fee to learn more about the history and artifacts of Cork!

4. Cork City Gaol is a fascinating museum that will give you insight into its former days as a prison from the 19th century. 

You will visit the prison cells where prisoners had once scribbled their thoughts on the walls. There are also several mannequins depicting the prisoners in different situations.

There are options for a staff-guided tour or a self-guided tour. For the self-guided tour, you will receive a booklet as a guide. Otherwise, you can pay extra for an audio guide.

5. We all know Irish butter is one of the best things in the world. So naturally, Ireland has its very own Butter Museum!

The museum isn’t large, but it has a wealth of information and traditional equipment that was used to churn butter in the past. 

You will even get a glimpse of a keg of 1,000-year-old butter!

6. The 17th-century Elizabeth Fort is a tourist attraction full of history that has seen many changes over the years. 

You can see great views of Cork from the top of the fort and walk along the star-shaped fort. 

How Far Is It From Dublin To Cork?

So, how far is it from Dublin to Cork, Ireland?

It will take you less than 3 hours to travel from Dublin to Cork. The best way to travel would be to board the train. The journey from Cork to Dublin is rather scenic as you will pass by the countryside.

A cheaper option would be to take a direct bus from Dublin to Cork. You could also opt to rent a car to drive along the coastal roads of Ireland and make a few pit stops along the way.  

Is It Cheaper To Live In Dublin Or Cork?

It is cheaper to live in Cork compared to Dublin.

Comparing the cost of living between Cork vs Dublin, you only need to pay €1,511 (USD 1,630) for a 1-bedroom apartment in Cork.

On the other hand, rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Dublin will cost you around €2,046 (USD 2,219) per month.

And that’s a wrap on our thoughts on Dublin vs Cork!

Dublin and Cork have their own charm and appeal that will work for different people. But always make decisions on what works best for you, not because it works for others!

Regardless of which city you decide to live in and travel to, Dublin and Cork are beautiful places filled with loads of activities, delicious food, and warm Irish hospitality that will make you feel at home!

If you are on the lookout for other areas in Ireland, Donegal has many outdoor options that will satisfy your adventurous spirit!

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