St. Patrick’s Street & Cork City

Cork City is the second most populous city in Ireland and should hold a secure spot at the top of your list of places to visit. Cork, originally a monastic settlement, was founded in the 6th century by St. FinBarr. It wasn’t until around AD 920 that Cork began to progress as an urban setting after Viking settlers transformed it into a trading port and an important niche in the Scandinavian trade network. Today, almost ironically, at the centre of the city you can find St. Patrick’s street, twice named the best shopping street in Ireland.


St. Patrick’s Street, referred to as “Pana” by the older residents, was initially built on the marshy islands around the River Lee. It was formed in 1783 but didn’t start becoming the main centre of Cork City until the 1820’s. A lot of the commercial development of St. Patrick’s Street is owed to the opening of the first St. Patrick’s Bridge in 1789 that connected the street and surrounding areas to the northern suburbs. With this, access to the street was available to residents from all over Cork City and thus began its increasing commercial importance.

Parts of St. Patrick’s Street were damaged in 1920’s Burning of Cork during the Irish War of Independence but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that redeveloping the area to what it is today began. Before then, the street was mainly a thoroughfare for motorists that crowded the already narrow streets. The renovation plan was focused on developing the street into a more pedestrian-friendly area and improving its attractiveness. The city of Cork wanted a more modern, vibrant, and welcoming city centre. After a €13 million payment and years of hard work, the new St. Patrick’s Street officially reopened by Lord Mayor Seán Martin on 22 September, 2004.

What You’ll Find

Being Cork City’s main street and city centre, everyone from tourists to locals congregate on St. Patrick’s Street. This lovely, pedestrian-friendly area of town offers visitors endless options for shopping, relaxing, entertainment, and convenient access to all of Cork’s major attractions. As one of Ireland’s best shopping streets, here you will find the biggest names in shopping including Debenhams, Brown Thomas, Marks & Spencer, and Dunnes Stores in addition to many locally owned shops that have been operating here for decades.

Take a walk along the River Lee and don’t forget to check out the side streets off St. Patrick’s for some of the area’s finest cafes, pubs, and restaurants. At the heart of the city and offering free Wi-Fi, St. Patrick’s is always full of life, clean, and offering up a great atmosphere for everyone.

What is nearby?

St. Patrick’s Street is conveniently located winding between all of Cork’s most notable visitor attractions. From here you can easily walk to St. Finbarre’s Cathedral, the Cork Butter Museum, the Cork Opera House, and the famed English Market.

St. Patrick’s Street is a notable area in the history of Cork, Ireland having helped boost the community socially and commercially. No trip to Cork would be complete without a stop at one of its many shops or a visit to one of the local pubs or cafes to appreciate what daily city life in Ireland involves for the locals.

Get In Touch

If you would like to discuss any of the tours shown on this site, or if you’re looking to customise your own tour and just want to ‘pick our brains’ we’d be only too delighted to chat with you.