Last month we had the pleasure of trying out the new Aer Lingus service from Southampton to Cork. We planned the trip to coincide with our anniversary, providing the perfect romantic getaway.
Ireland’s southernmost city, steeped in history, yet equally cosmopolitan with a distinctive continental air, Cork is a fun and friendly city. The city centre sits on an island in the River Lee and is full of unique shopping and dining options with unique boutiques and major department stores. There are a range of historic churches and cathedrals to visit exhibiting Gothic French architecture as well as some of the best art galleries, theatres and museums in Ireland.
The first couple of nights of our trip we spent relaxing at the luxurious Maryborough Hotel, just outside of Cork. As well as enjoying the spa facilities, luxury rooms and fine dining at the hotel, we visited some of the surrounding towns and villages; a highlight of which included driving over to the town of Cobh, the last calling port of the Titanic. Cobh fishing village is beautifully picturesque, adorned with colourful painted houses and traditional Irish pubs. The cathedral on the hill is well worth a visit as well as taking in the fishing scene with a stroll by the waterside or going out on one of the several boat trips.
After two nights exploring the Cork harbour region, we decided to drive out of Cork, having hired a car with Dan Dooley car rental. We headed towards the picturesque Killarney National Park in County Kerry. With rolling, lush green hills, lakes and scenic mountain views, it was a perfect location for a rural Irish escape.
During our trip to Killarney we indulged in a Irish whiskey and chocolate tasting course at the Irish Whiskey Experience before heading to the 5* Muckross Park Hotel as a treat for our anniversary. There we enjoyed food from the Yew Tree restaurant, using fresh and local ingredients from the Kerry Ring of Fire. The classic Irish wet weather held out long enough for us to take a walk by the beautiful Lough Leane, where the water mirrored the clouds above, leaving us with a fresh appreciation of the natural beauty of the Emerald Isle.
We drove back to Cork via the Wild Atlantic Way, the longest defined coastal route in the world. We followed the rugged coastline and stopping off at beautiful beaches, quaint fishing villages and famous Irish monuments. You can see how the Wild Atlantic Way gets its reputation as one of the best places for a road trip in the world!
Back in Cork for our final two nights at the Clayton Hotel Cork City, we spent some quality time exploring the city centre, with highlights including the English Market; a hub bustling hub of gourmet food with stands selling fresh produce including baked delicacies, cheeses, chocolates, fresh meats and fish, spices and much more, which has been standing for over 100 years. We also enjoyed visiting Oliver Plunkett Street, a major shopping street and home to bars and restaurants making up the Cork nightlife. We listened to Irish music and watched a spot of Irish dancing in a traditional pub before eating at the famous Market Lane restaurant.
We had a wonderful week in Cork experiencing the beauty, culture and fine food and drink of Ireland and would love to return again!
Further reading on our trip to Cork is available on my blog: The Project Lifestyle.
To book flights to Cork with Aer Lingus today please click here.