Treat your visitors to an action-packed stay on Leeside

The English Market, Cork
My boyfriend’s parents are coming to visit us from the US next month and we have decided to take a trip to Cork for a long weekend. I really want to show Ireland off as it will be their first visit since we moved here nearly eight years ago. What sights would you recommend and where should we stay?

My boyfriend’s parents are coming to visit us from the US next month and we have decided to take a trip to Cork for a long weekend. I really want to show Ireland off as it will be their first visit since we moved here nearly eight years ago. What sights would you recommend and where should we stay?

Cork is a beautiful place to visit and an ideal destination to show off to your American visitors! The city itself is not geographically very big making it easy to navigate but do consider that a number of the Rebel County’s most popular sites are found outside the city so having access to a car is ideal.

The English Market, which has been trading since 1788, is a great place to begin your stay and immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Cork city. Located off the Grand Parade, the covered market offers a diverse range of foods and is a must see during your stay. Queen Elizabeth II even visited the famous market during her state visit in May 2011.

Cork City Gaol is steeped in history and will give you a unique insight into the lives of its past inhabitants. The building was designed by Irish architect, Sir Thomas Deane and is a beautiful example of Georgian/Gothic architecture. A number of tours of the Gaol are available including a night tour if you are feeling brave!

The historic Blarney Castle, home of the world famous Blarney Stone, can be found to the Northwest of the city and is a must for all visitors to Cork. The castle itself is almost 600 years old and is one of Cork’s most popular attractions. Exploring the castle and the grounds of the estate is an idyllic way to spend an afternoon. The surrounding gardens are a beautiful place to relax with a picnic and are a spectacular showcase of the local flora. A visit to Blarney Castle is not complete without a trip to the top of the battlements to kiss the Blarney Stone, with its promise of eternal eloquence which has attracted millions of pilgrims including literary giants, stars of the silver screen and world statesmen.

If your visitors are fans of Irish whiskey, then a trip to the Old Jameson Distillery in Midleton should be on your itinerary. The distillery, which operated for 150 years from 1825 until 1975, remains beautifully preserved and guests can retrace the history of whiskey in Ireland through guided tours daily. After the tour, enjoy a complimentary glass of uisce beatha in the Jameson Bar or a sumptuous lunch in the Malt House Restaurant.

West Cork is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations and definitely not to be missed. The area is easily access by car and is littered with stunning peninsulas and beaches as well as cosy pubs and restaurants serving fresh seafood and a daily dose of Irish charm!

After a long day of sightseeing, Cork city has a wide range of culinary options to tantalise your taste buds. For an after-dinner drink, The Franciscan Well is known for its high quality home brews which will please any beer lover. The Bodega on Coal Quay is one of the best late-night pubs in the city. This busy spot always packs a great crowd and its stylish Spanish interior creates a memorable atmosphere.

Where to Stay:

Hayfield Manor (*****)

Prices start from €175 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

This five-star hotel is located within walking distance of the city centre. The hotel features a full-service spa offering health and beauty treatments. The luxury hotel also includes an indoor swimming pool and fitness equipment. Guestrooms feature city or courtyard views and are equipped with flat-screen televisions with DVD players and satellite channels. Wireless internet, daily newspapers and bottled water are all complimentary.

The Clarion Hotel (****)

Prices start from €100 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Overlooking the River Lee, The Clarion Hotel is located ideally in the heart of Cork city. The hotel offers a full service spa, an indoor swimming pool and a health club. The hotel also includes a restaurant, café and bar and lounge area. All guestrooms are fully air-conditioned and are equipped with televisions, wired internet and 24-hour room service.

The Imperial Hotel (****)

Prices start from €99 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Within walking distance of Lavit Gallery and Cork City Hall, The Imperial Hotel is surrounded by numerous of the city’s popular sites and amenities. The hotel has a full-service spa, health club and sauna for guest’s to enjoy. Wireless internet access is available throughout the hotel. Rooms include complimentary newspapers and coffee/tea makers. Additional services available include hypo-allergenic bedding, extra towels/bedding and wake-up calls.

Blarney Woollen Mills Hotel (***)

Prices start from €63 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Located just 500 metres from the world famous Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone, this three-star hotel offers boutique bedrooms, a restaurant and fitness suite as well as free WIFI in public areas and free parking for guests. Guestrooms amenities include hair dryers, complimentary toiletries and extra towels/bedding.

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!