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Cork is the second city of the Republic of Ireland and Ireland's third most populous city after Dublin and Belfast. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city of the province of Munster.
The city of Cork has a population of 119,143, while the addition of the suburban areas contained in Cork County brings this total to 190,384. Metropolitan Cork has a population of approximately 274,000, while the Greater Cork area is about 380,000.
Places of Interest: Cork features architecturally notable buildings originating from the medieval (only the Red Abbey survives from medieval Cork) to modern periods. St. Patrick's Street, a main street that has been recently remodelled, is known for the architecture of the buildings along it pedestrian-friendly route through a major shopping district.
There are two cathedrals in the city: The Roman Catholic St Mary's Cathedral (commonly called the North Cathedral), and the Church of Ireland St Finbarre's Cathedral.
Other notable places include the Cork Opera House is one of the few modern opera houses in Ireland. Fitzgerald's Park, to the west of the city, and the grounds of University College Cork, through which the River Lee flows, are also tourist destinations.
The city has many local traditions in food and customs. Traditional Cork foods include Crubeens and Tripe and Drisheen. Other traditions include Whipping The Herring, a (now discontinued) celebration which marked the return of meat to local tables at the end of lent. Observed up to the early 19th century, it involved a local butcher and citizens parading through the streets to the Lee while flogging a herring with a whip. Once at the river he would drop the herring into the water, then pick up a leg of lamb adorned with ribbons. He would then parade back to his shop and distribute cuts of the meat to the joyous spectators.
Public Transportation: Cork City's public transportation is provided by the national bus operator Bus Éireann. Routes connect the city centre to the principal suburbs, colleges, shopping centres and places of interest. There are also two city bus routes, Route Numbers 1 and 19, that provide orbital services across the Northern and Southern districts of the city respectively. it is on the road 7 days a week from 06:30 until 23:00.
The Cross River Ferry, from Rushbrooke to Passage West, links the R624 to R610. This service is useful when trying to avoid traffic on the Great Island (Cobh). Cork Ferryport is situated at Ringaskiddy, 16 km SE via the N28. A direct sea link is available to Roscoff (France) with Brittany Ferries. A long-established link with Swansea in Wales is currently out of service but it is widely hoped will be reinstated in 2008. A connecting bus service is available from the ferryport to the city centre. Plans for a water taxi service are being finalised to provide traffic free connections for both commuters and tourists alike.
Education: Cork is an important educational centre in Ireland. University College Cork (UCC), a constituent university of the National University of Ireland, offers a wide variety of courses in Arts, Commerce, Engineering, Law, Medicine and Science.
The National Maritime College of Ireland also located in Cork and is the only college in Ireland in which Nautical Studies and Marine Engineering can be undertaken. CIT also incorporates the Cork School of Music and Crawford College of Art and Design as constituent schools. The Cork College of Commerce is the largest post-Leaving Certificate College in Ireland and is also the biggest provider of Vocational Preparation and Training courses in the country.
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