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Thecity's downtown core is bounded by channels of the River Lee, and itsmain thoroughfare is St. Patrick Street, a graceful avenue lined withshops and boasting some of Europe's largest retail chains. OliverPlunkett Street, which runs partly parallel to Patrick's Street,bustles with smaller shops, life and color. Secondhand books, handmadechocolates, and an infinite array of surprises can be found in thealleyways and lanes around this central shopping district. Head westinto the English Market, which boasts a huge array of fresh localproduce and tantalizing international delicacies. Following St.Patrick's Street eastwards leads to the statue of Father Mathew, muchrespected founding father of the Irish Temperance Movement. Tucked offto the left is the Cork Opera House. Nearby, the South Mall is a widetree-lined street with attractive Georgian architecture and a row ofbanks, insurance companies, and legal offices, while the Grand Paradeis a spacious thoroughfare that blends 18th century bow fronted houseswith the remains of the old city walls.

Northern Cork
St.Patrick's Bridge leads over the river to the north side of the city, ahilly, terraced area where St. Patrick Street becomes St. Patrick'sHill. Dominating the landscape is St. Anne's Church, whose lime andsandstone clock tower can be seen from all over the city. Directlybelow 'the bells' is the old Cork Butter Exchange, now home to theButter Museum, and the Shandon Craft Center. Perched on a more westernpoint of the hill lies the Cork City Gaol, a gloomy 19th centuryprison. On the eastern end, St. Patrick's Bridge links the city centerwith the charming MacCurtain Street, a busy stretch of road offeringeverything from antiques to ice cream.

Southern Cork
The Gothic grandeur of St. Finbarr's Cathedral dominates the horizon of Cork's 'South Side'. Nearby are the ruins of the 17th century Elizabeth Fort, a somber reminder of the Cromwell era, and the rambling character of Barrack Street, as featured in the film Angela's Ashes. The street also offers a number of drinking and live music venues, popular with students of the nearby University College Cork (UCC). The stately college quadrangle is also worth a visit.