There’s something for everyone. Outdoor enthusiasts can take in the whale and dolphin watching, fishing, golf (the Old Head Golf Links, just outside Cork, is one of the best courses in the world). Also, Cork has some of the best surfing beaches in Europe. Those after a more-relaxing break can take in the city’s charming network of narrow streets and alleys, full of small shops, artisan food producers, restaurants and bars.
It’s all about food and travel. And Cork is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland with a diverse landscape of rolling green fields, mountains and a wild Atlantic coastline.
Cork is also full of acclaimed galleries and museums, such as the Crawford Art Gallery. Furthermore, There are imposing buildings, such as the ornate French Gothic spires of St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral.
Gourmets should make time for the covered English Market, established by James I in 1610. Thus, we stayed in the Hayfield Manor in Cork, which is set in two acres of private gardens and is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book. This is an exclusive listing of the best of luxury accommodation throughout Ireland. Furthermore, it hosts 88 guest rooms and suites, two restaurants offering the best of local produce, a bar and spa with pool and Jacuzzi. Hayfield Manor offers a peaceful haven from which to explore Cork and the countryside beyond. In addition, you can get anywhere else in the county within an hour by car.
Unreliable road signs and confusing one-way systems make driving something of a trial. But, the scenery is so bucolic, the traffic so light and the locals so helpful that it just seemed to add to the charm. We drove along the west coast of Cork towards Kinsale, a medieval town at the mouth of the River Bandon. The town is famous for its food and range of restaurants. Chief among them being Fishy Fishy (+353 (0)21-470 0415, www.fishyfishy.ie), which specialises in locally caught fish and shellfish.
From there we followed the coast road, stopping at beaches alive with birds and other wildlife. Furthermore, with every turn in the road another sweeping vista would greet us and sleepy villages with ancient monuments were spread throughout the area. A more dedicated tourist takes in the famous sights of Blarney Castle. Or driven to Schull or Baltimore to take a day trip to the spectacular Sherkin Island or Cape Clear. So, with good food, a pint of the local Murphy’s and wonderful views, it’s more important to take the time to just eat, drink and be merry.
The positive aspect here is that if you decide to undertake this journey, you could stop over in locations such as Amsterdam, London and Paris. Connector flights are readily available through out the year and you could even arrange a night over in one of the beautiful cities.
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