As Summer is starting to wind down we are moving into my favorite time of year. Autumn in Cork brings a whole host of epic festivals and events to fill up your evenings and weekends! However, for a lot of people Autumn is also full of expenses e.g school costs, Christmas etc. So this blog is to highlight that Cork also hosts a variety of free things to do throughout the year and I have rounded up a few of my favorites below to give you some inspiration for the months ahead.
Coco Comedy Club
The Coco Comedy Club can be found upstairs in the Roundy on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 8.30pm. This is an intimate venue and the perfect spot for a comedy gig. Comedians take to the stage and with the variety of comedy styles your sure to get a good laugh! So pick an evening and grab a friend because the Coco Comedy Club is one of the best ways to spend your midweek evening and entry is completely free! For more information on the Coco Comedy Club click here.
Culture night is taking over Cork City on September 22nd and trust me this is not one to miss! Cork is steeped in rich culture and history and this is an evening where Cork City comes alive and is celebrated with over 200 free events across 100 City venues! The events range from tours, talks, performances and particularly North Main Street is hosting a spectacular street celebration with film screenings, window installations and much more! A few of the many event locations include City Hall, The Everyman, The Franciscan Well, St Lukes, the English Market and the Triskel ChristChurch. For the full list of events for Culture Night in Cork City click here.
Guinness Cork Jazz Festival
We all know the saying that Jazz is good for the soul and that’s why Cork has been hosting the Cork Jazz Festival for the last 40 years! This event will be from October 27th – 30th and jazz events will be found right across the City for this festivals 40th anniversary! While many events will be ticketed, there will also be plenty of amazing musicians and bands holding free sessions across the City in bars, venues and in the streets! So you will be sure to find something to suit you. For more information on the Guinness Cork Jazz festival click here.
If you have a competitive side then quiz nights are for you! The Friary host “Wicked Wednesday Quiz” nights (8pm), Bricklane host “Game of Phones” on Wednesdays also (8.30pm) and the Woolshed host the “Woolshed Quiz” every Thursday from 9.30pm. These nights get hilarious (and serious!) pretty fast and they’re completely free! A major highlight of these quiz nights are the fantastic prizes to be won from cash prizes to beer vouchers! So grab your most competitive friends, think of an awesome team name and get to one of these quiz nights!
Open Mic Nights
Open mic nights can be found scattered across the City and of course they are free entry! Bru Bar (Mondays 9pm) and The Friary both host open mic nights that are free entry and you will get a free pint if you perform! If its a poetry challenge your looking for then The Long Valley on Wintrop Street host an open mic night (Mondays at 9.30pm) called Ó Bhéal. These nights include guest poets, poetry challenges and of course open mic for poetry.
Now who doesn’t love a bit of Irish dancing? Now that “Ceili at the Lough” is coming to an end its time to move indoors for the months ahead. The Frisky Whiskey bar located upstairs at the Oliver Plunkett and hosts ‘Paddy’s Irish Dance Party’ every Sunday from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. This free event includes ceilis, set dancing and waltz’s and is guaranteed to be great craic! Click here to see a video for inspiration. No dancing experience required!
Nano Nagle Place
Nano Nagle Place is Cork City’s brand new heritage centre located on Douglas Street. This centre is dedicated to educating the public on Nano Nagle’s story and her tireless work on educating the poor of Cork in the 18th century. While the heritage experience is ticketed, it is free to visit Nano Nagle’s tomb and gardens. Nano Nagle place also houses community projects and it will be offering spiritual and well being courses this Autumn. Nano Nagle place is open 7 days a week including bank holidays from 10am to 5pm. Click here for more information.
Mad About Cork
Mad About Cork is a brilliant initiative to be a part of! This is a guerrilla group focused on brightening up Cork Cities most derelicts sites. Being part of this guerrilla group is a great way to proactively use your time and really make a difference. Not only will you be lending a hand to improve the City but you’ll meet a lot of new people and have a lot of fun in the process. Click here for more information on Mad About Cork and to get involved!
St Peter’s Cork
St Peter’s Cork is an arts and heritage centre located in one of Cork’s oldest buildings on North Main Street. This visitor centre offers free entry and is open 6 days a week to the public. This really is a a great place to visit as you can wander through their central exhibition on the ground floor and also explore the Mezzanine Gallery upstairs which showcase’s the variety of creativity from local artists and community groups. St Peter’s Cork is also an excellent source of information of Cork City walking trails and general tourist information. If you do decide to visit don’t forget to enjoy a coffee in the secret courtyard garden run by Port a Filter! For more information on St Peter’s Cork click here.
The Crawford Art Gallery
The Crawford Art Gallery is located on Emmet Place right in the heart of the City Centre. This gallery is a national cultural institution and regional art museum for Munster and is dedicated to the visual arts, both historic and contemporary. Entry to this gallery is free to the public all year round and it opens from 10am to 5pm Monday – Saturday. With over 4,000 works ranging from sculptures, artwork and installations this gallery truly is a must see! The Crawford Café is also part of this gallery with both indoor and outdoor seating. For more information on click here.
Lewis Glucksman Gallery
The Lewis Glucksman Gallery is located on the campus of University College Cork and it is open to the public all year round with free entry. Opening times are 10am to 5pm Tuesday – Saturday and 12am to 5pm on Sundays. An excellent programme run by this gallery is the free Family Art Workshops on Sundays from 3pm. This programme is both for children and their parents and it is on a first come first served basis. For more information on this gallery click here.
Farmers Markets are a lovely way to spend your morning or afternoon exploring stalls with local produce including fruit, veg, cheeses, cake, paté and a variety of hot food and and coffee! Farmer’s markets are of course free to attend and there are multiple markets in Cork. A selection of these popular markets are included below. For more information on the variety of locations for Farmers Markets in Cork click here.
Mahon Point – Thursdays from 10am – 2pm
Douglas Village Shopping Centre – Saturdays 10 am -2pm
Blackrock Road – Sundays 10 am to 2pm
Bishopstown at the Outpost, Curraheen road -Thursdays 10 am to 2pm
Ballincollig Shopping Centre – Wednesdays 10am to 2pm
Wilton Shopping Centre – Tuesdays 10 am to 2pm
Dragon of Shandon
Have you ever seen a 36-foot dragon wandering the streets lost between the world of the living and the dead? This can be seen every year in Cork City on October 31st. This is of course a free parade on the north side of Cork City and is a spectacular halloween performance. You can also volunteer throughout September and October and help with puppet and costume making, performing, lighting, videography and much more as well as taking part in the parade itself. This is donation based however it is free for students and the unwaged. Adults can also take part in free drama classes every Tuesday at 7pm in the Old Lido in Blackpool. For more information on this exciting project click here.
Thanks for reading