County Cork, there is so much to do here! Maybe I am biased as I have family from Cork but I just love the city. If you are looking for a girly weekend full of shopping, a partying weekend, a relaxing weekend or even a place to use as a starting point, then the city is where you need to be.
Like always, we stayed in the city as a base point and then traveled to where we wanted to go.
So we decided to stay in the Maldron Hotel Shandon, this hotel was good value for a family and usually depending on the time of year the Maldron hotels are one of the more affordable hotel chains. We went in January off season too so it would be significantly cheaper then high season.
This hotel is just a 10-15 minute walk to the main city centre; Saint Patrick’s Street so this is ideal to save money on taxis. https://www.maldronhotelshandoncorkcity.com/?utm_source=GMBlisting&utm_medium=organic
I recently went back to Cork city for an engagement party and we stayed in the Maldron Hotel Southmall which just opened around Christmas 2018 and this hotel is more central with Saint Patrick’s Street just around the corner, the interior is very nice and it is also just a 15-20 minute walk from both train and bus stations. This is the hotel I will stay at in future. I usually book accommodation on booking.com but in this case the Maldron offers ten euro off if you book directly on their website. https://www.maldronhotelsouthmall.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Brand%20-%20SM%20-%20Cork%20-%20WG&utm_term=Maldron%20Hotel%20South%20Mall&utm_content=Maldron%20Hotel%20South%20Mall
Opera Lane is a great street for shopping. This is just off of Saint Patrick’s Street and it has Tommy Hilfiger, GAP, New Look, Next, River Island, Topshop and a few more to keep you going.
Oliver Plunkett Street is a must and head into Oliver Plunketts Pub. This pub has great food, usually has music, matches, has a crowd and what more could you want! We always go there now when we are in the city.
The English Market on Prince’s Street is also another cool place to check out in the city! This is a dainty indoor market that has everything from food to crafts that has been described as the best indoor market in the Ireland and the UK.
Le Chateau Bars is a pub on Saint Patrick’s Street which has an outdoor seating area to watch the world go by while having a trusty Pint.
Going Further a Field;
For a weekend away you could just stay in the city, but for me we always like to be active and travelling about seeing as much as possible.
We headed to Blarney village which is only a 16 minute drive from the Maldron Hotel we stayed at according to Google Maps. We went to the Blarney Woolen Mills when we arrived and had a look around this shop. It was full of Irish knitwear, home wear and Irish souvenirs similar to the shop at Bunratty Castle. We then had a wander around Blarney Castle there is an admission fee here but you have unlimited access to the grounds. At the castle you have to ‘Kiss the Blarney Stone’ which is supposed to give you the gift of the gab. Not for the faint hearted as you actually have to lie down and hang your head over the ledge to reach down to kiss the particular part. There are gardens, different walkways and various other sections of the grounds to wander around. You could spend a few hours here. https://www.blarneycastle.ie/
2. Fota Island Wildlife;
The following day we ventured down to Fota Island Wildlife which is was only 25 minute drive from the city. I had never been hear before and was expecting great things. The area is huge with so much to see!! We spent a few hours walking around to the different sections of the park; Reptiles, birds, butterflies etc. As is was January, it was very quiet which was great but I can imagine how busy it must be during the holidays. There are different feeding times, talks and tours that we actually missed so I would advise to research this before arrival to make the most of the experience. There was also loads of picnic benches around the park, so if I was going back there I would pack a picnic and make a day of it. https://www.fotawildlife.ie/
We also continued onto Cobh from Fota Island as it was very close to the park approximately a 10 minute drive and about 35 minutes from the city. This town was picture perfect and I fell in love with this area. It is a town built right on the water which offers amazing views all around.
This is also where the Titanic Experience is, home to the original White Star Line ticket office. This was where the last remaining passengers went aboard this ship in 1912. This was the main reason for our visit to Cobh because I watched this film religiously when I was younger! I loved the experience, we were brought on a guided tour, shown the pier, a virtual video of the story behind Titanic and the episodes of the night the ship sunk. We were then led to see if you survived your journey in the final stage of the tour. It was really interesting to see and I would definitely recommend. I have also been to the Titanic expedition in Northern Ireland (which I will mention in another post) and this one took a different approach to tell the story of Titanic. https://www.titanicexperiencecobh.ie/
Spike Island, a 24 acre Fortress which used to be used as a prison holding, is set on an island just off of Cobh. This island can be reached by boats from Cobh but unfortunately the season wasn’t up and running but I reckon it would be another interesting area to explore. I know I want to go back. https://www.spikeislandcork.ie/
So be it a city break or make it a bit more adventurous, bring your car to explore and Cork has plenty to offer, something to suit everybody.
Who says you have to go abroad to enjoy some time away??
Thanks for reading! Give me your feedback and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!