RedAbbeyTower , the only medieval building left in Cork, is all that remains of a 14th-century Augustinian priory. Its location is fairly anonymous, but a bit of imagination will help create a stirring sense of antiquity.
Blackrock Castle is a restored 16th-century castle that now, rather incongruously, hosts a science centre and observatory. But kids love it and the pastoral location is worth the jaunt. Take bus 2 to get there.
Cork had the largest butter market in the world during the 1860s, exporting butter as far as India, South America and Australia. The Butter Exchange was in Shandon and you can still spot dairy motifs throughout the area: look out for the cow above the old butter market , which was being used as a souvenir centre but is now closed.
Of the more than 30,000 ring forts scattered across Ireland, Lisnagun is the only one that’s been reconstructed on its original site. Complete with souterrain and central thatched hut, it gives a vivid impression of life in a 10th-century farmstead. To get there, take the turn signposted to Bay View House B&B at the roundabout at the end of Strand Rd.
You can’t help but smile at the West Cork Model Railway Village. It features a vast outdoor recreation of the West Cork Railway as it was during the 1940s and superb miniature models of the main towns in West Cork. A road train leaves from the West Cork Model Railway Village on a 20-minute commentated circuit of Clonakilty.