Rebel, Rebel: 24 Hours in... CORK CITY
Okay, so I'm slightly biased, but when it comes to weekend getaways, you can't beat Cork City.
While there's a large chance you'll want to pack up and move there permanently once you understand what us locals see in the Rebel County, 24 hours is plenty of time for the average blow-in to soak up some key highlights.
Here's a cheat sheet to help you make the most of your precious time on Leeside. Don't forget to tell them I sent you...
2pm: Check-in at The Kingsley: Facing the towering County Hall, overlooking the gushing weir of the River Lee, The Kingsley Hotel is the perfect combo of convenience (it's a stroll from the city centre) and luxury (the vast thermal suite is the stuff spa bunnies dream of and the giant outdoor Jacuzzi is a thing of beauty).
— Katie Mythen Lynch (@TheKatieMythen) April 23, 2016
3pm: After checking out the view from your room (and scoffing strawberry-dipped chocolates on your giant bed for 20 minutes, natch) stroll through the grounds of UCC to The Glucksman Gallery for a wander around the exhibitions.
4pm: Head back to The Kingsley for a mooch around their Turkish bath and steam rooms, then treat yourself to a Kerstin Florian Customised Deep Cleansing Facial (60-minutes of glow-inducing exfoliation, massage and moisturisiation, €80).
5pm: Afterwards, hit the pool for a calorie-busting swim, then lounge about like a big delighted sea lion in the huge hot tub overlooking the river instead before stretching out your weary muscles on a heated bed. Bliss.
6pm: Fancy some fresh air before dinner? Pull on your runners and stroll along the riverside through the Lee Fields. Look out for the kingfisher who stalks the banks. Alternatively you could retire to the bar with a newspaper or curl up in bed with a good book...
8.30pm: After the customary nap, head for the hotel's buzzing Springboard Bistro (a nod to the historical significance of the site, home to Cork’s famous Lee Baths, from 1934 to 1986) for fresh local fare. The rib-eye is to die for and the lamb special was out of this world the last time I visited. Afterwards, hit the cosy bar for a night cap before you sink between the sheets for that 'hotel bed' sleep you can never quite achieve at home.
THE MORNING AFTER
9am, coffee time: After breakfast in The Kingsley (don't miss it and arrive hungry, they even have a pancake making MACHINE- your kids will faint with the excitement) amble into town and head for Filter Espresso & Brew Bar on Georges Quay for a cold brew or small batch coffee.
11am: Trawl the best vintage: Make for Mother Jones Flea Market on the corner of McCurtain St. and York St. Treasure hunters will love the quirky stalls, selling vintage, antique and retro clothing and knick-knacks. (Open Friday - Sunday, 10am to 6pm).
12 noon: Stop by the English Market and stock up on spiced beef at Tom Durcan's (they sell 12 tonnes of the stuff every Christmas) and grab a pot of the whipped feta dip at the Olive Stall to enjoy at home (thank me later).
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1pm: Hit Fellini Tea Room on Carey's Lane for their tasty soup and famous salad. Cork's oldest tearoom, it was originally part of the Pavilion Cinema and the space is stuffed with art, fabulous costume jewellery and huge homemade cakes. If you've worked up a major appetite, bring it to Coqbull on French Church Street for rotisserie chicken straight from the spit, buttermilk wings and a long list of epic burgers. Their dessert chocolate pot (€5) is monstrous - one between two is plenty unless you're a serious chocoholic.
Those on an extended stay should seek out St Luke's Wine Tavern for vino by the glass and rustic tapas.
2pm: If an afternoon tipple or another cheeky coffee is in order, take a stool at the counter in Arthur Maynes Pharmacy. An impressive 120-years-old, this unusual little wine bar is still home to all the curiosities they discovered in its basement. Don't miss the glass cases of vintage cosmetics in the loos. Have a peek inside here.
THE DETAILS: The Kingsley is a member of The Fota Collection. The Kingsley Pampering Package - Overnight Escape for Two includes a full day at The Spa (Foot Soak, Hot Stone Massage and a Kerstin Florian Facial), lunch in The Springboard restaurant and a Classic room for the night from €192.50 per person. To book, click here.
Main image of St Luke's Wine Tavern taken by William Murphy.