I would like to take my wife away on a child-free weekend break, somewhere in Ireland for her birthday. She has always said that she loved holidays in West Cork as a child, so I think it’s the perfect choice of destination. Where in West Cork would you recommend and what should we see and do while we are there?
West Cork is one of the most picturesque parts of the country so it’s easy to see why your wife has lasting childhood memories from this part of the world. The rugged beauty of the coastline is captivating and there are plenty of things to do and see, making it a great choice for a weekend break.
Kinsale, in particular, is a colourful, charming and vibrant seaside town with narrow winding streets and tiny houses surrounded by fishing boats, all giving it a sensational picture postcard feel. For a weekend getaway, this is one of the best locations as it has everything you will need for a relaxing break away.
To start your weekend break on the perfect note and for an extra special surprise for your wife’s birthday, why not treat yourselves to a day of pampering in one of the many luxury spas in the area. Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa in Clonakilty or the Carlton Hotel & Spa nearby both offer a fantastic range of treatments which will help you both relax and unwind.
If you are both interested in history, a visit to the 16th century Desmond Castle is a must. This is where Kinsale’s roots in the old wine trade are on display and the International Musem of Wine, which tells the story of the Irish wine trading families, is well worth a visit.
A great afternoon can be spent with a visit to the Michael Collins Memorial Centre. Situated in Clonakilty, the birthplace of the patriot, the tour is a must for anyone with an interest in Irish history.
If the weather permits, you should take a cruise out of the historic harbour of Kinsale where you will see the renowned Charles Fort, one of the best known historical attractions in Kinsale. It is one of the finest surviving examples of a 17th Century star-shaped fort, and much of the construction begun in 1678 remains. On the cruise, you can also take in the bold Sovereign Islands en route to the sheltered cove of Oyster Haven where you can enjoy an invigorating swim and a tasty picnic on board.
Once you have found your sea legs, whale and dolphin watching is another truly unique experience you could try out. Not only will you see these spectacular creatures in their natural habitat but the stunning coastal backdrop will make this a truly romantic day.
If action-packed activities are not to your taste, why not take a refreshing stroll along the beach. Cork has a well-deserved reputation for some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. With vast sand dunes and crashing waves, the fresh Atlantic air will have you both instantly revitalised.
Be sure to enjoy a heartwarming feast in Armada Bar on Market St in Kinsale where you can enjoy a pint of Guinness and the ever popular dish of bacon and cabbage. For a truly atmospheric evening make sure to visit An Seanachai which has traditional music sessions most nights and for those wanting to dance the night away make sure to go to the hip Bacchus nightclub.
Where to stay
Carlton Hotel & Spa Kinsale (****)
Prices start from €99 per room per night on Hotels.com
This four-star hotel is nestled in picturesque parkland with panoramic views overlooking Oysterhaven Bay. The hotel is perfectly located beside Charles Fort, James Fort and Desmond Castle. To relax and unwind a visit to The C Spa is a must where you can enjoy various beauty treatments and a swim in their indoor pool. The hotel restaurant provides a varied menu, perfect for every taste.
The Maryborough Hotel and Spa (****)
Prices start from €105 per room per night on Hotels.com
This stunning four-star family friendly hotel is close to Douglas Golf Club, Mahon Point Shopping Centre, Cork Heritage Park and just fifteen-minutes drive to Kinsale.
The hotel has a state-of-the-art spa and health club with an indoor pool so guests can relax and unwind. There are many dining options with a restaurant, café and bar to choose from.
Trident Hotel (****)
Prices start from €73 per room per night on Hotels.com
The Trident Hotel is located on the waterfront overlooking the harbour and is the perfect base for a weekend break. The hotels award winning restaurant, Pier One has breathtaking sea views and even boasts a Wine Cave. This hotel is an excellent base from which to explore the winding streets with many shops, cafès and restaurants only minutes away.
* Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking
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!