The Republic of Ireland’s second-largest city dates back to the 7th century and is found within a county of the same name. A coastal haven with a natural harbour, the area has a long and illustrious maritime history, along with a playful vibe. The small, pedestrian-friendly centre is known for its bustling English Food Market and bars with authentic live music. But venture further afield and there are multiple beaches, forts, castles – and Cobh’s Titanic Experience to be explored. Experience the ultimate in Irish grandeur as you stay in the country, by booking one of these fine hotels.
An alternative city break destination, Cork’s is easily explored on foot and bubbling with culture. Spend your time here at the boutique Hayfield Manor, an 88 bedroomed central new build, that’s been designed with a heritage look and feel. While the property itself is but two decades old, the mature gardens date back well over a century. Two restaurants serve meals crafted from locally sourced ingredients (Cork’s famous market is but a stone’s throw away.) An outdoor hot tub is a particular highlight, plus there’s an ELEMIS spa, fitness centre (with pre-bookable personal trainers), a pool and a residents library.
Fota Island Resort
A 20-minute drive from the airport and a short hop to the centre, Fota Island is a self-contained mini village. The sprawling resort encompasses an 18-hole championship golf course (that’s hosted four Irish Opens), a tennis court, four-bedroom two-storey guest villas, 40 bedrooms, and a large spa with a thermal suite, hydrotherapy pool and 18 treatment rooms. Its 500 acres also hold a terrace, playgrounds and ponds, ideal for families wanting to roam outdoors (plus there’s a holiday kids’ club). Both formal and more casual dining is available, with afternoon teas and breakfasts served in the signature restaurant.
Found just off the N25, commutable to the city centre, this 17th-century country house is, enviably, adjacent to the ruins of an eight-century-old castle. A lake, streams, walled garden impeccably manicured frontage and water fountain greet guests arriving on the property. Step inside and you’ll discover a cosy antique vibe, with rooms both in the main house and a modernised wing. Dine in one of four eateries, enjoy ESPA and Germaine de Capuccini treatments and swim in a 66-ft pool. And while it may be fancy, Castlemartyr is also family-friendly with some interconnecting rooms, a playroom, babysitting services and menus for younger palates.