County Cork (Irish: Contae Chorcaí) is a county in Ireland located in the South-West Region and is part of the province of Munster. It is named after the city of Cork (Irish: Corcaigh). It is the largest of all the Irish counties and in many ways the most varied. Rich farmlands, many bog and peatlands and river valleys contrast with the wild sandstone hills of the west, and above all there is the magnificent coastline scooped and fretted by the Atlantic into great bays and secret coves, strewn with rocky headlands and long soft golden sands. It borders four other counties: Kerry to the west, Limerick to the north, South Tipperary to the north-east and Waterford to the east. The climate of Cork, like the rest of Ireland, is mild and changeable with abundant rainfall and a lack of temperature extremes. Temperatures below 32 °F or above 77 °F are rare. Like many counties in Ireland Cork's main industries are farming, fishing and tourism. The remote westerly region of West Cork has some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Ireland.


Description: MizenheadA sparsely populated peninsula of outstanding rugged beauty, Mizen is Ireland's most southerly point. The real magic of Mizen Head is the breathtaking scenery of the landscape itself and of course the knowledge that you are at the very southern tip of Ireland, with the vast swell of the Atlantic sprawled out before you.

Cork is colloquially referred to as "The Rebel County". This name has 15th Century origins, but from the 20th century the name has been more commonly attributed to the prominent role Cork played in the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921) when it was the scene of considerable fighting. On 11 December 1920 Cork City center was gutted by fires started by the Black and Tans in reprisal for IRA attacks. The Black and Tans, many of them British World War I veterans, were men from Great Britain who joined the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) as Temporary Constables during the Irish War of Independence. They were the brainchild of Winston Churchill, then British Secretary of State for War. Their role was to help the RIC maintain order and fight the Irish Republican Army (IRA).The nickname "Black and Tans" arose from the color of the improvised khaki uniforms. The Black and Tans became infamous for their attacks on civilians and civilian property. In addition, Cork was an anti-treaty stronghold during the Irish Civil War (1922–23).
 Much of what is now county Cork was once part of the Kingdom of Deas Mumhan (South Munster), anglicised as “Desmond”, ruled by the MacCarthy Mór dynasty. After the Norman Invasion in the 12th century, the McCarthy clan were pushed westward into what is now West Cork and County Kerry. The north and east of Cork were taken by the Hiberno-Norman FitzGerald dynasty, who became the Earls of Desmond. Cork City was given an English Royal Charter in 1318 and for many centuries was an outpost for Old English culture. In 1491 Cork played a part in the English Wars of the Roses when a pretender to the English throne, landed in the city and tried to recruit support for a plot to overthrow Henry VII of England. In 1601 the decisive Battle of Kinsale took place in County Cork, which was to lead to English domination of Ireland for centuries. County Cork was officially created by a division of the older County Desmond in 1606. Corkonians often refer to the city as "the real capital" in reference to the city's role as the center of anti-treaty forces during the Irish Civil War.


Michael Collins was born in Woodfield, Sam's Cross outside the town of Clonakilty in West Cork in 1890. He inherited his father's nationalistic outlook and was further influenced by his primary school teacher and also by the local blacksmith. Collins never forgot the stories he heard  about the struggle for Irish freedom.
He took part in the 1916 Rising in Dublin and was imprisoned in Wales following his capture. He negotiated the Anglo Irish Treaty in 1921 which lead to the creation of the Irish Free State and ultimately lead to civil war in Ireland. Following the ratification of the Treaty of 1921, Collins became Chairman of the Provisional Government (effectively the Prime Minister) and later at the outbreak of the Civil War following the occupation of the Four Courts in Dublin by anti-treaty forces, he assumed leadership of the Free State Army as its Commander-in-Chief.
He died on 22nd August 1922 at Beal na mBlath in County Cork when the convoy in which he was travelling was ambushed by anti-treaty forces There is a statue of him in Clonakilty which was unveiled by the actor Liam Neeson who played the title role in the film "Michael Collins" (1996).

Kissing the Blarney Stone is a must on most people's list of things to do in Ireland. Description: ImageFor many years people have descended on the picturesque, 15th Century Blarney Castle with the purpose of kissing the Blarney Stone to be bestowed with the "gift of the gab", the talent for eloquence that the Irish famously possess. Though kissing the stone is a relatively new ritual and one that has proved hugely marketable, the association with smooth talking and Blarney goes back many centuries. When Queen Elizabeth I of England sought to impose her rule on Ireland's Gaelic Chiefs, The Lord of Blarney, Cormac MacCarthy, proving most elusive, would reply to her demands with flamboyant flattery rather than submission. The Queen was to reply, "this is all Blarney, he never means what he says and never does what he promises." And so the word Blarney came into the English language, eloquent words that flatter or deceive.
The history of the castle goes much further, it was built around 1446 for the MacCarthy Chieftains of Munster, though its believed a settlement was established here as early as the 10th Century. The MacCarthys held sway over Blarney and Munster throughout the many tumultuous centuries of Anglo-Irish conflict until the defeat of the old Irish nobles at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, after which the Lord of Blarney was exiled. Blarney Castle presents a fairytale picture, its tall towers are set within wonderful gardens containing such romantically named landmarks as, the Druids Altar, the Witches Kitchen and the Wishing Stairs. All of which add to the whole magic of Blarney Castle.

The town of Cobh just outside Cork City was once Ireland's main port and was the embarkation point for some 2.3 million people who left Ireland for new lives in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK. From 1848 – 1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland – over 2.5 million departed from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration. This exodus from Ireland was largely as a result of poverty, crop failures, the land system and a lack of opportunity. Irish emigration reached unprecedented proportions during the famine as people fled from hunger and disease.  Many famine emigrants went initially to British North America (now Canada) because of fare structures and government regulations, but the majority subsequently settled in the United States. The famine resulted as a consequence of widespread potato crop failure which was not unusual in Ireland so the partial failures in 1845 did not cause particular concern. In 1846 the potato crop failed completely and in the years 1847-1849 there was either total or partial crop failure of whatever potato crop could be planted. Escape was seen by many as the only chance for survival: between 1845 and 1851 over 1,500,000 people emigrated from Ireland. This was more than had left the country in the previous half century.


Located outside the Cobh Heritage Centre is the statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers. Annie Moore became the first ever emigrant to be processed in Ellis Island when it officially opened on 1st January 1892.   Annie and her brothers sailed from Queenstown (now known as Cobh) on the SS Nevada on the 20th December and arrived after 12 days of travelling in steerage. The statue outside Cobh Heritage Centre was unveiled by President Mary Robinson on the 9th February 1993. A similar statue of Annie can be found in Ellis Island, New York which represents not only the honour of her being the first emigrant to pass through Ellis Island but also stands as a symbol of the many Irish who have embarked on that very same journey.
Cork (Irish: Corcaigh, from corcach, meaning "marsh") city is built on the River Lee which divides into two channels at the western end of the city. The city center is located on the island created by the channels. At the eastern end of the city center where the channels re-converge, is one of the world's largest natural harbors. Cork was originally a monastic settlement founded by Saint Finbarr in the 6th century. Cork achieved an urban character at some point between 915 and 922 when Norseman (Viking) settlers founded a trading port. It has been proposed that, like Dublin, Cork was an important trading center in the global Scandinavian trade network.
The city's charter was granted by Prince John in 1185. The city was once fully walled, and some wall sections and gates remain today.[9] For much of the Middle Ages, Cork city was an outpost of Old English culture in the midst of a predominantly hostile Gaelic countryside and cut off from the English government in the Pale around Dublin. Neighbouring Gaelic and Hiberno-Norman lords extorted "Black Rent" from the citizens in order to keep them from attacking the city. The city's municipal government was dominated by about 12–15 merchant families, whose wealth came from overseas trade with continental Europe – in particular the export of wool and hides and the import of salt, iron and wine. Of these families, only the Ronayne and O'Spaelain families were of Gaelic Irish origin. The medieval population of Cork was about 2,100 people. It suffered a severe blow in 1349 when almost half the townspeople died of plague when the Black Death arrived in the town.
The city has many local traditions in food including: Crubeens((from Irish: crúibíní) an Irish food made of boiled pigs' feet. They are traditionally eaten by hand.), tripeand drisheen (Irish: drisín) a type of black pudding (blood sausage) made in Ireland. Cork City features architecturally notable buildings originating from the Medieval to Modern periods. The only notable remnant of the Medieval era is the Red Abbey. There are two cathedrals in the city; St. Mary's Cathedral, often referred to as the North Cathedral is the Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1808 and St Finbarre's Cathedral, which serves the Protestant faith and is possibly the more famous of the two.
Surnames common in Cork include.

Ahern, Barnewall, Barrett, Barry, Beal, Bear, Buckley, Cagney, Carrigan, Casey, Clayton, Clancy, Coakley, Coffey, Collins, Commiskey, Condon, Connell, Coppinger, Cronin, Crowley, Daly, Deasy, DeCarew, DeCogan, DeCourcey, Desmond, Dunhoy, Egan, Fitzgerald , Fitzgibbon, Gogan, Gould, Haley, Harrington, Healy, Hickey, Hodnett, Hogan, Holland, Keating, Keely, Kelliher,  Kent, Kidney, Lombard, Lucey, Lynch, Lyons, MacAuliffe, MacCarthy, MacClancy, MacCorcoran, MacCormack, MacCotter, MacDonough, MacElroy, MacSheehy, MacSherry, MacSweeney, Mahoney, Murphy, Nagle, Nugent, O'Baire, O'Barry, O'Begley, O'Bogue, O'Bohane, O'Bradley, O'Brien, O'Broder, O'Cagney, O'Callaghan, O'Callinan, O'Canty, O'Casey, O'Coffey, O'Coleman, O'Collins, O'Connell, O'Connor, O'Corry, O'Coughlan, O'Cowhig, O'Creagh, O'Cremin, O'Cromley, O'Cronin, O'Crowley, O'Cullen, O'Cullinane, O'Curry, O'Daly, O'Danaher, O'Dea, O'Deasey, O'Dennery, O'Dinane, O'Dineen, O'Doheny, O'Donegan, O'Donovan, O'Doorly, O'Dowling, O'Driscoll, O'Duane, O'Dugan, O'Falvey, O'Fihelly, O'Flynn, O'Gavan, O'Grotty, O'Halahan, O'Hallissey, O'Hanvy, O'Hartigan, O'Hartnett, O'Hea, O'Healy, O'Hennessy, O'Hennigan, O'Herlihy, O'Heyne, O'Hingerdill, O'Hogan, O'Hooney, O'Horan, O'Horgan, O'Horlihy, O'Houlahan, O'Hurley, O'Kearny, O'Keeffe, O'Kieran, O'Kelleher, O'Leahy, O'Leary, O'Lehane, O'Looney, O'Long, O'Lornasey, O'Mahony, O'Morony, O'Moynihan, O'Mullane, O'Murphy, O'Neill, O'Noonan, O'Quinnelly, O'Regan, O'Riordan, O'Ronayne, O'Rynne, O'Scanlan, O'Scannell, O'Shea, O'Shelly, O'Sullivan, O'Tuohy, O'Tuomey, Ormonde, Regan, Roche, Sarsfield, Savage, Shanley, Shannon, Sheedy, Sheehan, Sheehy, Sherry, Skiddy, Supple, Tobin, Tracey, Wallace, Walsh.