Holly Donnacliffe, Laura Sullivan and Megan Buckley of Glanmire playing like pirates!Photo: Clare Keogh

Go and play like a pirate this summer

Yarrrrr, me hearties, shiver me timbers! From this week, a host of Cork locations are set to be transformed into pirate-inspired places of fun for kids.

As part of the new Playful Pirate Culture Trail which was launched this week for the summer, families can discover Cork’s hidden treasures and play in galleries, museums, cultural attractions and outdoor spaces in the city.

The trail - which includes cannon spotting, making floatable rafts, searching for golden eagles and loot - is designed to encourage young people to explore culture in a playful way.

Throughout July and August, the city’s museums, galleries and visitor attractions will add fun pirate elements to encourage families to explore culture, heritage and the city’s green spaces.

A specially created Playful Pirate Culture Trail treasure map will help people discover and explore museums, galleries, and historic sites. The map includes a special treasure to be found at each site, along with other challenges.

It also lists 20 child friendly activities to do in the city from spotting pirate ships to digging for hidden loot and searching for golden angels!

In addition to a treasure hunt at each venue on your voyage, there will be pirate photo opportunities, fun facts, lots of pirate colouring, and suggested activities to try where X marks the spot.

The trail includes the likes of Blackrock Castle Observatory, Blarney Castle, Cork City Gaol, Elizabeth Fort, Crawford Art Gallery, Nano Nagle Place, Glucksman Gallery, Shandon Bells and Tower, St Fin Barre’s, St Peter’s, Triskel and outdoor spaces/picnic points including Fitzgerald Park, the Lough, and the Atlantic Pond. The aim is that families can have multiple days out, trying different locations and activities.

The Playful Culture Trail was established in Cork in 2021 as part of an ongoing commitment towards making Cork a ‘playful city’ and to make cultural and heritage spaces more accessible and fun for children. The idea proved hugely popular with locals and visitors to the city and opened up a new way of thinking about attractions in the city.

This year the Playful Culture Trail has taken inspiration from sponsor Cork City Council’s coat of arms, which depicts a ship passing through two towers. This fun pirate theme is a playful nod to the city’s maritime history.

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 adult focussed spaces.

“Following the huge success of our Playful Cultural Trail in 2021, we have gone back to the drawing board to create lots more ways for children to have fun and discover the amazing riches on offer in our culture and heritage spaces. This year we want to stress that the Playful Pirate Culture Trail is for everyone, reflecting the creative, curious, interactive, inclusive, beautiful nature of play.”

The Cork Independent is delighted to be media partners for the trail.

This project is in partnership with Let’s Play Cork, and Pure Cork and has been generously funded by Cork City Council. Some venues on the trail are free, while others offer family rates.

Pick up your map in the tourist information offices or at any attraction or hotels in Cork city or find it at playfulculturetrail.com. For updates on Cork as a Playful City follow @corkcitycouncilofficial on social media or search hashtags #LetsPlayCork #ActiveCorkCity.