Just received IRELAND 2013. Why no info about Cork, Ireland's second largest city? Is it not worth a visit? Thank you.
For us it was a good 2 night stop. We spent just a bit of time exploring the city, went to the church, and took a day trip to Blarney (grounds are beautiful-castle is a bit of a tourist trap). It's much more of a workers city than a touristy place. We used it as a jumping off point to go to the cliffs of Moher and then Galway.
The tour we were on this year (Go Ahead's Walking Tour of Ireland) stopped in Cork for lunch, on the way to Blarney Castle. I found it to be a big, somewhat dirty city. I would not choose to go there. There are much nicer places to stay.
Cork was designated the European Capital of Culture for 2005. There is a lot to see and do there, including Blarney (which I love). The reason it doesn't appear in the RS book is the same reason that he leaves out great swaths of other countries - Rick Steves isn't fond of it. It doesn't mean it isn't worth visiting, by any means. And with all due respect, a single lunch stop on a tour doesn't give you a fair representation of the city and what it has to offer. Cobh, Kinsale, and the Rock of Cashel all are within easy reach, too.
I was in Cork on a business trip a few years ago, stayed over after and had a full day to explore. I spent two evenings in town, but during the day I chose to take the bus to Kinsale because there just was not that much to do in Cork that is of touristic interest. The people are nice as elsewhere in Ireland (I also traveled with my wife for two weeks there in 2002 but did not stop in Cork as we did not want to drive in to the city). In general I think the best parts of Ireland are the smaller towns and countryside. One good thing about Cork is that there are easy bus connections to Kinsale and Cobh (maybe even a lightrail to Cobh as I recall) and you would not need a car to see those towns with Cork as a base. Both of those towns are very worthy stops, Cork City can be skipped without worrying that you missed something really great (I did stroll the area around the market before taking the bus to Kinsale, it was pretty nice but not a must see by any means). A car is highly necessary for most parts outside of Dublin, but this is one area where you could simply dump the car early and take the bus to the smaller towns, if you choose. BTW, you might want to drink Murphy's Irish Stout instead of Guiness in Cork, as that is the local beer. It took me a while to figure that one out..