Our Trip to Cork, June 2005
Day 1: Dublin to Cork
Day 1: Checking out the Nightlife in Cork Day 2: Cork to Blarney
Day 2: The Midleton Jameson Distillery
Day 2: A Visit to Historical Cobh
Day 2: Night out in Cork City
Day 3: Cork City Gaol
Day 3: Fota Wildlife Park
Day 3: Homeward Bound - Cork to Dublin
Cork - Blarney We woke around 10am on Saturday and down to the restaurant for breakfast where a great selection of is available from 7am until 11am. Breakfast at the Quality Hotel is E10 for adults and E5 for children. Cereal, fruit, yoghurts, croissants, as well all the components of a good Irish Breakfast (sausages, rashers, beans, scrambled egg, hash browns etc.) are all available.
Back to the room then to get ready to go out for the day. We decided to try and visit Blarney and Cobh, two towns within easy driving distance of Cork city.
Blarney is about 7km from Cork, about a 10-15 minute drive, and is well worth the effort. There is also a bus service available if you do not have your own transport. Blarney village is a pretty village located just west of Cork city. Here you will find the Blarney Woollen Mills, and world famous Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone.
Blarney Woollen Mills The Blarney Woollen Mills is a large of shopping complex- you will find almost anything 'Irish' here: clothes, food, chocolate, alcohol, souvenirs.... There is a great selection of Aran knitwear upstairs and most things seemed reasonably priced, though we didn't buy anything. Within the Wollen Mills complex is the Blarney Wollen Mills Hotel with a great Irish welcome and a great location that you will be hard pushed find anywhere else. There is also a large traditional style bar in the complex which serves a Bar food menu through the day.
Blarney Castle, gardens and the Blarney Stone From there you can walk around the corner to Blarney Castle which takes about 5 minutes. Parking is available at the Castle, the Woollen Mills or the village itself. E7 gives you admission to the castle grounds, the castle itself and to kiss the Blarney Stone. Down the road you will find the Blarney Park Hotel another fine three star hotel which has a full leisure centre and swimming pool.
The grounds were very impressive with well kept lawns, mature Japanese maple trees along with some other old established trees. Most unusual were these large leafed plants known as elephant ears! There were lots of ferns and greenery along the river's edge - very scenic. The castle itself was also much more impressive than we expected. We explored every nook and cranny - there were caves, dungeons and even a murder hole (where the residents of the castle would pour boiling liquids etc. on their attackers). We climbed the winding narrow steps that you to the top of the Castle. Along the way there were rooms that you could look around and admire the spectacular views from the various slit windows. It wasn't for the faint hearted but it was definitely worth the climb. The views of the surrounding Cork countryside were picture perfect. We decided to pass on kissing the "Stone of Eloquence" - which is traditionally believed to have the power to bestow the gift of eloquence on all those who kiss it - but got to see some other people giving it a try - it looked very awkward but if you do it, you get a certificate and there is a photographer there to capture the moment!
The journey down the windy stairs was even more treacherous than the climb up them!
We spent an hour or so walking around the grounds of the castle - known as the Rock Close, with its winding paths, little streams and many interesting features such as the Dolmen, wishing steps and witches kitchen! For us, this was probably the highlight of the day. The atmosphere of silence and calmness and beautiful surroundings was wonderful!
Coffee @ Kopi Café Back in the village we decided to go for a coffee in a small café across the road; "Kopi Café" , on the main street in Blarney. They serve a range of gourmet coffees, snacks, wine and beer in bright airy surroundings. From the posters on the wall, it seems there are live music events on some evenings, and there is an internet café at the back. All in all we were very impressed and would definitely recommend it for a stop off! One of their speciality coffees - the Mocharetta Café au Lait comes highly recommended, a combination of gourmet coffee, cream, milk, chocolate and almond flavouring. The verdict on the taste was 'liquid fererro rocher' - unmissable and not cheap at E4.25! We also sampled the Buffalo wings which were tasty if a little greasy.
Energies replenished, we made our way back to the car and were back on the road to Cobh in minutes.
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