Discover, explore and play in Cork City

New Playful Culture Trail features 30 fun things to do this summer in museums, galleries, attractions, and green spaces throughout Cork City.

Click here for Play Trail Video & Links

Are you looking for interactive, educational, and playful things to do with your kids this summer?

Museums, galleries, and attractions in Cork City have come together to create a Playful Culture Trail, featuring 30 fun and playful places where kids can explore the city’s culture, heritage and green spaces through play.

Each attraction on the trail will have a unique activity pack for kids on arrival with numerous challenges to complete from scavenger hunts, to sketching tasks, crosswords and investigation work.

Families participating in the trail will have the opportunity to hop through labyrinths at St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, design costumes for superheroes at Crawford Art Gallery, find their Bog Age at the Cork Butter Museum, trace tombstones at St Peter’s Church, make daisy chains at Nano Nagle Place, enjoy the playground at the Old Cork Waterworks, and lots more.

Make sure to keep a beady eye out for ‘Blaithín’ on your adventures – a cute and cuddly lizard who is the play trail mascot and will be playing hide and seek in lots of attractions.

The full trail is highlighted on a colourful and child friendly map that can be picked up along with a unique tote bag, colouring pencils, a Pure Cork pencil, and a bookmark, from attractions and hotels in the city.

One of the first adventurers on the Cork City Playful Culture Trail was Olivia Phillips, aged 6 from Youghal, who has already explored the labyrinth at St Fin Barre’s.  She said “I love my play trail kit and can’t wait to search for Bláithín the lizard with my little brother and sister in other places. I love art so the next time I want to do some sketches in Crawford, and science is my favourite subject so star-gazing and learning about space at the Observatory sounds so cool!”

Commenting on the reasons behind the initiative, one of the key organisers Dr Danielle O’Donovan, Programme Manager at Nano Nagle Place, said that Cork City wants to lead the way in encouraging playful engagement in venues that may have traditionally been perceived as quiet spaces.  “Lots of us want to bring kids to museums, galleries and attractions, but often there isn’t anything designed for them to do. This summer in Cork we have turned that problem into a creative opportunity by designing playful and engaging activity packs for kids so that families feel welcome in our cultural spaces.  We are delighted to launch this innovative Playful Culture Trail, which will make kids VIPs at cultural venues throughout Cork City. It has been a real passion project for everyone involved and all the project partners have been hugely enthusiastic in devising activities for kids of various ages and interests”

Also commenting, Denise Cahill, coordinator of the Playful Cork City Project and Cork Healthy Cities, said “Providing opportunities for fun and giving children permission to play is more important than ever right now, after a year of lockdown. We’re working on making Cork City a playful city, and this exciting new initiative that introduces play to culture not only promotes wellbeing, activity and learning, but it inspires families to engage with the wonderful cultural attractions, heritage spaces, museums, galleries and green spaces that they have yet to discover in Cork.”


Get inspired by the Cork City Playful Culture Trail:

  1. Scoot down the marina
  2. Explore with coke zero bikes
  3. Go otter spotting along the lee
  4. Have a picnic at Bell’s Field
  5. Find Bláithín the lizard
  6. Make a daisy chain at Nano Nagle Place
  7. Find out your ‘bog’ age at The Butter Museum
  8. Get locked up at Cork City Goal
  9. See underground at Triskel Christchurch
  10. Get in the stocks at Elizabeth Fort
  11. Find the medieval bowling ball at Cork Public Museum
  12. Fire your imagination at the city library
  13. Play chase or fly a kite in the lee fields
  14. Skim a stone across the Lee
  15. Float a paper boat on the lough
  16. Star gaze at Blackrock Castle Observatory
  17. Find the centre of the labyrinth at St Finbarre’s Cathedral
  18. Discover the playground at Old Cork Waterworks
  19. Pose like a sculpture at the Crawford Art Gallery
  20. Find the right time on one of the 4 clock faces of Shandon
  21. Play pooh sticks at the Glen River park
  22. Make a wish on the witches wishing steps at Blarney castle
  23. Run over the shaky bridge
  24. Balance on a silver ball at Fitzgerald’s Park
  25. Find the little boys on the rubble of St. Peter’s
  26. Find the shiny tree in Fitzgerald’s Park
  27. Do the UCC art trail at the Glucksman
  28. Find the Cork town walls at Bishop Lucey park
  29. Hunt for medals at the military museum, Collins Barracks
  30. Treat yourself to sweets in Lenihan’s, Shandon

Get ready by picking up your free canvas goodie bag or download the virtual map at, Get set by choosing where you want to visit, and go, go, go before the summer is out!

This project is part of an overall mission to make Cork a playful, child friendly, active city  and was developed in collaboration with all of the participating museums, galleries and attractions in Cork, in partnership with Playful Paradigm, Cork City Council, Cork Local Sports Partnership, Pure Cork, and Bus Eireann.


Some venues are free and others offer family rates.  For more see Follow @corkcitycouncilofficial on social media for updates on the Cork Cultural Play Trail and Cork as a Playful City. Hashtags are #LetsPlayCork #ActiveCorkCity and anyone who uses these when enjoying the trail could be in with a chance to win spot prizes.


For further information please contact:

Niamh Murphy or Clair Phillips ETC;


Cork as a Playful City

Cork City aims to be a Playful City where people of all ages can enjoy access to play in a wide range of different settings that offer variety, adventure and challenge to play freely and safely while creating excitement and freedom of choice about where, how and when to play.

The Playful Cork City Project is a partnership between Cork City Council, Cork Healthy Cities, Cork Local Sports Partnership, Young Knocknaheeny, Foroige, Cork City Library Service and Cork Learning Cities that seeks to use Play as an innovative concept for promoting place-making, social inclusion, healthy lifestyles and energy awareness, intergenerational & cultural mediation and economic development. The group seeks to deliver and support policies, events, programmes and projects that use Play as a strategy for engaging city stakeholders in activating urban areas.

The group originated as part of Cork City’s active participation in the EU funded URBACT program “Playful Paradigm”. URBACT is an EU funding stream which encourages cities across the union to explore innovative and sustainable methods to tackle shared challenges and is based on a learning transfer model. In late 2018, Cork City successfully progressed to Phase 2 of the Playful Paradigm URBACT programme.  As part of the programme Cork City has actively engaged with the City of Udine (Italy) as ‘Lead City’, and the other partner cities, to share learning’s from the models, methods and policy approaches to increasing opportunities for play, and to transfer good practise to their own municipalities.