A weekend in Cork
Cork city, a jewel of Ireland’s south coast. Certainly a wonderful city in which to spend a weekend if one wants to soak up that quintessential Irish atmosphere christened as ‘craic’, eat some great food, drink a few cocktails and do some wandering in its historic streets. But where to stay? Where to eat? Where to go? Not to worry friends, we’ve got you covered. So get ready to pack that great leather bag, and prepare yourself to be pleasantly surprised with all that Cork city has to offer.
Where to stay
Cork is home to some impressive hotels which will be sure to fit your tastes – whether you’re after a modern boutique abode or a grand and cosy manor, we’ve got you covered.
The River Lee Hotel, located quite centrally just a 5 minute walk from Cork’s bustling Washington Street is a sleek 4-star with a must-try cocktail selection. Rooms are modern and minimal, with a window view of the river below available if that tickles your fancy.
The River Lee Hotel, Western Road
The hotel has a recently refurbished plush bar and terrace area, The River Club, which is a must-visit for their varied and creative cocktail menu. We’d recommend the honeycomb Old Fashioned or the Old Daunt Square (a delightful medley of Hennessy Cognac, Green Spot whiskey, Antica formula and Dom Benedictine). Grab a tipple, take a seat on one of the stylish tufted settees by the window and watch the world go by. Alternatively, you can move out to the tastefully decorated terrace, which correlates with the seasons, and sip your Old Fashioned to the soundtrack of the river outside.
The River Club
The River Club Terrace
If you are searching for something even more plush in terms of your lodgings, worry not, we have just the place for you. The Hayfield Manor Hotel, located near the beautiful University College Cork (more on that later) is a must-stay for the gentleman in search of 19th Century luxury. This five-star boasts richly decorated bedrooms and the fine-dining Orchids restaurant.*
The Hayfield Manor bedroom
So, there you have it. Two wonderful hotels, each catering to your varied tastes and interests. Each in close proximity to the city centre, where you may want to venture for a pint of Murphy’s (Cork’s local stout) or a stroll among the local Corkonians and their musical lilts. Perhaps, having tried either the River Club’s Grill menu or the gourmet delights of Orchid, you’ll want to sample some of the other cuisine and beverages Cork has to offer. Speaking of…
The Hayfield Manor bar
Where to eat and drink?
Cork city has culinary and beverage delights aplenty, so one is never lost for choice. For dinner, we recommend Market Lane on Oliver Plunkett Street, a staple local establishment on the food scene where you are sure to find more than one dish which draws your eye. A mix of seasonal (and local) produce form a varied menu where one can sample the wonderful seafood, meat and vegetables the Emerald Isle has to offer. We recommend starting with the Glenbeigh mussels, coconut, lemongrass and chili cream, followed by a main of Slow cooked Crowe's bacon collar, mustard glaze, scallion and potato cake, carrot purée and braised Hispi cabbage and if you are so inclined, a sweet treat to finish of Sticky toffee pudding, date syrup and Baldwin’s Madagascar vanilla ice cream. This award-winning restaurant provides a relaxed and intimate setting for a Friday night meal. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
When safely satisfied after your evening meal, why not then venture across the river to the up-and-coming McCurtain Street to sample one of Cork’s most stylish bars, Cask. Opened in 2017, Cask’s cocktail menu changes every twelve weeks in accordance with the seasons. Using ‘foraged ingredients and small artisan suppliers’, the menu conceived by Cask is original and tantalising. In our books, the current offering of wild heather, Barry’s Tea Blackwater gin, Blacks Session IPA, thyme ruby port and grapefruit bitters, married together to form the Black Ice cocktail, is an imperative.
Now your evening is sorted, you may be wondering about a Freres De Voyages-approved brunch or lunch joint. We’ve got you covered. If looking for a cosy and locally-owned spot to grab some lunch, Idaho on Caroline St. is the place to go. One can’t go wrong with one of their tasty lunch baps or the fish pie. They also serve wine if you are temped. In terms of brunch, The Liberty Grill on Washington St. is your answer. Think of a delectable selection of various kinds of eggs, French toast and bacon, but be prepared to wait a little on busy mornings. If you are concerned about getting your caffeine or hot beverage fix during your stay in Cork, do try the great coffee at Cork Coffee Roasters or the famous O’Connaill hot chocolate (milk and white is a must). If you are a fan of your lagers and stouts, for a quintessential Irish pub experience, complete with snugs and that pint of Murphy’s, look no further than Costigan’s of Washington Street.
The Liberty Grill, Washington St.
Now that you are well fed and watered, we assume you will want to explore what else Cork city has to offer. Of course, you'll be able to pack everything you need in your Heritage Bag.
What to do?
Cork is a city brim full of history, and where better to exemplify this than its beautiful university campus in UCC. Established in 1845, its main campus boasts a picturesque main quadrangle and is also home to the Glucksman art gallery. Well worth a stroll if you’d like a break from the city, but avoid weekdays if you don’t want to get caught up in the student bustle. For a weekend visit, walking tours of the campus run Saturdays at noon.
University College Cork Main Quadrangle
Moving back to the city centre now, and one place in Cork that cannot be missed is the city’s gem – the 230-year-old iconic English market. Chock full of flavourful delights and mouth-watering aromas, it’s an ideal place to grab a quick lunch, some freshly baked goods, or simply just to walk around and enjoy the surroundings.
The English Market
For evening entertainment, Cork’s opera house holds a variety of shows and concerts year round, so one is bound to find something of interest. Visit their website, provided below this post, for exact details.
For those interested in good beer, The Franciscan Well, a local Cork brewery company, provides tours of their craft brewery where one also has the chance to taste some of the wares in the brewpub. Pair their Rebel Red ale with a nice glass of whiskey and enjoy.
If you are wanting to travel further afield from the city, a short 20-minute drive to the nearby town of Midleton will find you face-to-face with the home of Ireland’s famous Jameson whiskey, where you may be tempted to have a grog at the bar, or even a guided tour or whiskey tasting. A 30-minute cruise westwards down the coast to the harbour town of Kinsale will provide you with the views of a delightful marina and some of Ireland’s finest restaurants. Or for a history-fix, a 15-minute journey to beautiful Blarney, just outside Cork city, will afford you the opportunity to get the gift of the gab upon kissing the Blarney stone. When your adventures are over, settle down in a cosy pub with an Irish coffee or a pint and mull over the success of your Cork getaway. Sláinte!