Cork harbour is the second largest natural harbour in the world and is home to the world's oldest Yacht club, the Royal Cork Yacht club. Sailing is one of the prime activities in Cork Harbour but wind surfing, rowing & horse riding is also available. Every second year the RCYC in Crosshaven hosts Cork Week, a major sailing regatta of international significance which brings much revenue to the local economy.
The area closer to the harbour mouth is known as the lower harbour, whilst that closer to Cork City is called the upper harbour. Popular residential areas include Crosshaven, Carrigaline, Ringaskiddy, Monkstown and Passage West. Shipping and Port facilities in Cork Harbour are run by the Port of Cork. Port of Cork has berthing facilities at the City Quays, Tivoli, Cobh and Ringaskiddy.
Both commercial and hobby fishing is popular in the harbour. The main fishing resources include angling for trout, salmon, cod, coarse fish and sea fish. Oysters and mussels are grown in beds in the eastern side of the harbour and in the Belvelly Channel. The harbour waters supply important spawning and nursery areas for sea fish species. The Cork Harbour area boasts many water based festivals, such as the Ocean to City Race, Crosshaven Traditional Sail, Monkstown Traditional Sail and Cork Harbour Open Day. Check out
Cork Harbour is one of the most important industrial areas in Ireland, providing employment both locally and further afield and generating significant revenue to the national economy. The oil refinery at Whitegate is the only one in the country. There are over 100 pharmaceutical firms operating in the Cork Harbour area, centred principally on Ringaskiddy and Little Island. Cork Dockyard on Great Island was the home to Verolme Shipbuilding and, although ships are no longer built there, the dry docks are used for repair and survey work.
Its size and huge diversity of activities mean that the pressures on Cork Harbour are in a continual process of change and growth. Locals and authorities alike are becoming increasingly aware of the unique asset this harbour offers to so many interest groups. Integrated Coastal Zone management is being lead by the Coastal and Marine Resource Centre.