Top three ways to put a Cork in it.

When you go to Ireland, you will either love or hate Dublin, probably depending on whether you love or hate Guinness. Or big cities. If you get tired of big cities, it is a good idea to check out smaller cities. Yes, you are welcome for that wisdom.
I decided to base myself in Cork, for a few days. It is much smaller than Dublin, but still big enough to find plenty of shopping and bars with live music. I took a couple daytrips to elsewhere, as explained below. But Cork does have its own attractions. Like...

1. The Butter Museum!
Just think what you can learn here! The options are limitless! How is butter made? What impact has it had on the Irish economy? Why did you just spend three euros on this when you could have bought a beer?
I know these are historical butter churns, 
but I am pretty sure that that one is a dalek
2. Visit the Church of St. Anne (Shandon)

You can set your watch by the four-faced-liar. Then reset it when you see that the time on the next side is different. And the next side. And the next side. Actually, none of the clock faces are accurate. But that doesn't matter.

What matters is that you can climb the belltower and play songs with the bells to annoy the neighbors. They provide you with papers so you can easily play a complex arrangement like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" or "My Country Tis of Thee" and deafen the other people climbing the tower if they forget to wear their headphones.

AND when I went into the church, there was a rainbow memorial.
AND not far outside the church is a memorial to Mother Jones.

Not pictured: the fish weather vane on top.
Really the best part.

3. See Saint Finn Barre's Cathedral

I went to this church only because I climbed the bell tower and took a picture of a pretty building. Then I walked around asking Corkers what the hell this building was and how could I get there. A couple of people shook their heads and asked if I was sure that I wasn't showing them a picture from Dublin. Spoiler: I wasn't.
Not pictured: Evidence that the church also has a front. 

4. Very long Daytrip to the Cliffs of Moher. 

While I would really recommend you actually take the time to go to the coast and stay in some smaller villages, you might find yourself pressed for time. I know I did. But could I go to Ireland without seeing the Cliffs of Insanity? Nope. My shameless movie tourist side prevailed, and I took a tour bus for expedience.

The bus takes you through may stops of minimal interest, including some old Druidic locations.  You get to stop and see some rocks that dissolved.
Rocks, formerly unholy. Now holy.  
And then you get to the cliffs and get to take tourist pictures.

Visual evidence I am in Europe and/or have no legs

And you get a couple hours to walk along the cliffs and sigh at the beauty. And read all of the signs that say things like "Need to talk? Call this number." I don't know what the jumping stats are, or how many tourists are blown off the edge while trying to take jumping pictures. But I do know that the cliffs are huge.
See that castle on top? Yeah.

5. Daytrip to the Dingle Peninsula.

I don't actually recommend taking a bus to this. Apparently the bus trip to Ring of Kerry is very good. But this was way too much time on a bus, and very little time to actually interact with the beautiful nature. Many stops in small villages that seem to cater heavily to tourists.

But the Dingle Peninsula does have some strikingly beautiful natural formations.
I want to be those people.

6. Blarney Castle

You're in Cork? Dude, you gotta go to Blarney Castle. Then you can kiss the Blarney stone, and get the gift of gab. Which is to say, you'll be blessed with eloquence for the rest of your days.
This is why I talk good.

The castle has a lot of little areas to walk around and explore. It's also a good place to relax.
Visual evidence I was in Europe and/or near a tree. 

AND you can see the Witch's stone, which kind of looks like those other dissolved stones, except vertical.
and contains a face


Hot Tips for Dublin your fun.

Every day, the cost of living is Dublin.

Like a bridge over untroubled water.
After all, it's not Belfast.
Hi there, friends! Long time no read! A brief word on free internet according to hostels: many hostels offer free internet. When you get there, you may discover that their definition of 'internet' is a slug that moves roughly the speed of dialup and cuts out every ten minutes. You may also find that you can only access it in the kitchen/by reception/holding your laptop up hopefully towards the sky. Or that it is only free between the hours of 10 and 6, when you are most likely to not be in said hostel. All of this contributes to my unacceptable lack of updates. Now that I have found a place with a solid connection, I can finally tell you about Ireland!

Let's take a moment to talk about Dublin. And some hot tips to enjoy your stay.

Hot Tip 1: Read some books before you go.

This is a city made famous by Oscar Wilde! (Well, he was born there, anyway.) And James Joyce!
Look at that jaw! A Ulysses among men.

Statues gone Oscar Wilde.

Hot Tip 2: Dublin Castle.

This castle has seen better days. Right now, it is an architectural wonder. There are few buildings that are attached to other buildings that are built in so many different styles. It's worth wandering around, and the courtyard has some free information, and unnecessarily large sand sculptures for no apparent reason!

Classic Castle.
Note the medieval looking tour behind the gothic looking part. Someone once escaped from that tower through the sewer. It was kind of a big deal.

Courtyard like a brick house & triumphant arch.
But it's really outside the castle that the architecture really gets confusing.

Pop art turrets? 
Back to the courtyard. Went there twice in a week. 

First visit: 
I couldn't shake the feeling a giant Lincoln would emerge from the earth.
Second visit, and the completed work:

Somehow manages to make even less sense!

Hot Tip 3: Learn History.

If you go on a walking tour of Dublin, or speak to anyone in Ireland, they might mention some history. There was this time when the Irish Potato Famine happened, and all the potatoes rotted in the field. This would have been fine, according to our tour guide, if Britain hadn't continued selling off most of the food produced in Ireland to Britain. I don't advise making jokes about potato famines, unless of course you like being punched in the face.

Not pictured: the starving dog statue behind the starving people statues.
A good idea to ensure sympathy points.

A ship. A perfect replica of something.
Hot Tip 4:  Guinness has a brewery in Dublin.

Enough history! I know the real reason you find yourself in Dublin. It's all about the Guinness.
You can go on a brewery tour and learn all about the production of Guinness presented in a mildly hilariously commercialized manner. It is like an enormous ad, with a bit of history thrown in, and an explanation for what has always seemed a mystery: their old advertising campaign with toucans. 

Spoiler: an artist decided it was a good idea.

Guinness. Made of More. And Horses, apparently.

Fortunately, when you take a brewery tour, you don't just get to taste some Guinness, you also get to drink your Guinness while staring out over the entire city of Dublin from their Gravity Bar.

Dublin: just might be a unicorn.

Green roofs: probably related to copper, somehow.
Back to the street level of the city. For the mellinium, the powers that be in Dublin wanted a really tall statue. They also wanted a defense strategy against the possibility that the city would be crushed by a giant balloon. They knocked out both goals with the spire.

Spoiler: it's actually vertical.

Hot Tip 5: The book of Kells. 

If you are in Dublin, you may want to pop over to Trinity College and see the book of Kells. In case you don't know, it's the oldest illuminated manuscript thing made predominately by four(?) monks on a tiny island. It is a masterwork of celtic knotwork and bright colors and things that are pretty. 

The best strategy to see the book is to kidnap a student at Trinity College, and make them select you as their plus one to see the book for free. And by kidnap, I mean make friends or something.

Trinity College. No relation to the Matrix.
And when you do go to the Book of Kells, you get to see two pages of the book, some pictures and information about the book, and a walk through the Long Room library. It's pretty, and they display other written works of interest. Some Irish history ones, some poetry things, and in the middle of everything pretty understated, a couple of cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia, that are kind of way older than everything else.

The aptly named Long Room is, in fact, long.
Or just say whatever, and go to an Irish Pub. They have a couple.