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A Magical Day Out in Cork City for Christmas Shopping & Fun

A Magical Day Out in Cork City for Christmas Shopping & Fun

Get ready to unwrap the holiday spirit in the real capital of Ireland as we embark on a magical day out in Cork City for Christmas shopping & fun. From browsing historic markets to savouring the best local cuisine, this itinerary is your guide to experiencing the enchantment of the season in the real capital. If you're local to Cork, take this itinerary as your sign to play tourist in your own town! It also means you can order from us online and use our free click & collect service!

Honestly, we nearly named this blog post 'How to Survive Last-Minute Christmas Shopping in Cork City' because we are loading this post up with so much great advice to do just that.

Our 'itinerary' is divided into two categories: Shopping & Meals, then within those we give you ideas for each meal and certain streets or areas of town. We trust you to make your own schedule. But aside from that, the one other thing worth taking time for is a spin on the ferris wheel or carousel and a stroll through the Christmas market on Grand Parade. You will notice we are focusing on local or independent stores for the most part. Big chain stores don't need us to send customers their way, but LOCAL and SMALL CORK BUSINESSES DO. 



Start early. If you're driving in, this gives you the chance to get a prime parking spot near the lifts. If you're getting a lift in with a neighbour or friend going to work, this takes the stress off driving. Either way, plan to have breakfast in town and treat yourself. You won't want to look at the breakfast dishes when you get home in the evening.



The English Market

Shopping local is good for the soul so be sure to stop into our stall for your Christmas shopping. Explore the charming stalls filled with artisanal foods and gifts.

  • Our shop! You can avail of our free click & collect. There is something for everyone and we have a list of popular gifts under €50 too. Keep in mind, we also offer free shipping on orders over €45 shipped within the Republic of Ireland, though the last day to ship in time for Christmas delivery is 21st December. 
  • The Chocolate Shop for any and all chocolates you can imagine. Uncommon brands and flavours for your sweet tooth.
  • The Roughty Foodie has local jams and chocolates packaged for gifting or create your own collection for the most generous gift bundle.
  • Mr. Bell's has spice sets and seasonings as well as specialty imports. If you have someone on your list who sees spice sauce as a challenge, check out their vast selection.
  • Bubble Brothers for wine 

North Main Street

The original main shopping street in town, North Main Street is peppered with charity shops and unique experiences.

  • A Christmas wouldn't be the same without something from Bradley's Off-licence (opens at 8:30am). They have chocolates, baked goods, wines, beers, and an impressive selection of spirits. The shop is filled with everything you need to make a bountiful housewarming or hostess gift hamper. 
  • We love charity shops for stocking stuffers or something to wrap and keep on-hand in case someone stops by, especially in the case of children's board books which are easy to win down. 
  • Movie theatre vouchers to Arc Cinemas (formerly Gate Cinemas) is a fun gift for new parents to encourage date nights, add a promise to babysit and they'll be blown away.

Oliver Plunkett Street

Continue your shopping expedition along Oliver Plunkett Street, where you'll find a mix of well-known brands and unique local boutiques. Discover stylish fashion, quirky gifts, and cozy accessories as you stroll through the heart of Cork's shopping district.

Paul Street

We so often fly through Paul Street, but rarely stroll and see all the shops available to us.

  • Sweet Hearts Sweet Shop has the old-fashioned charm and selection that makes it feel a big magical. Unlike a few other sweet shops, this is not a franchise or chain, just a local woman-owned shop with a sweet heart and fab selection, including American imports.
  • Toys for kids fill Pinocchio's from floor to ceiling. Their window display is always enchanting.

MacCurtain Street

You won't recognise the Victorian Quarter these days. The road construction is done and traffic goes in two directions now. There are also a multitude of shops!




Fuel up for a day of shopping with a hearty breakfast. There are so many options, so choose based on location and menu. It'll set a pleasant tone for a day of exploring Cork's vibrant city centre. We personally love:


Take a break from shopping and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Reserve a table or get seated before 1pm to avoid the queue. There are many options in Cork City for lunch, but here are a couple favourites:

  • Farmgate Cafe (within the English Market on the Princes Street side)
  • Long Valley Bar (Winthrop Street, casual & classic with the best spiced beef sandwiches)
  • Cafe Gusto (Washington Street, try their seasonal sandwich!). 


Take time out for dinner before finishing any last bits and going home. Then you can just hide the shopping bags (to wrap later) and put on your pyjamas. We love:


We're partial, but with its blend of festive charm, local delights, and vibrant attractions, we wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Immerse yourself in the spirit of the holiday and enjoy a magical day out in Cork City for Christmas shopping & fun. 🎄✨

Don't forget to pick up some carrots and treats for Santy and his reindeer.

handmade Irish pottery Cork English Market shop online worldwide shipping Charlie Mahon Ceramics Pottery Irish ceramics pottery


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