A real Corker of a trip to the Rebel County that has everything

by Sylvia Pownall

You can’t beat Cork when it comes to stunning scenery, superb seafood, superior service and laid-back hospitality?

If you’re planning a staycation any time soon, the Rebel County ticks all the boxes – whether it’s a romantic break, active getaway or family fun you’re after.

The Eccles Hotel stands on the foreshore and commands breathtaking views of Garnish Island, Glengarriff Harbour and Bantry Bay.

The Wild Atlantic Way runs right past the hotel – turn right for the rugged beauty of the windswept Beara peninsula and on to Co Kerry.

Alternatively, taking the turn to the left will take you to Ireland’s southernmost point at Mizen Head peninsula – and a visit to the famous Barley Cove beach.

If you’re more of a city slicker, then a stylish getaway at the chic River Lee might be more your thing.

The terrace has just undergone a stunning transformation for the summer and the Brunch, Bubbles and Blooms package comes with champagne on arrival, brunch with cocktails and a €25 Brown Thomas voucher (telephone 021 493 7772, or see www.doylecollection.com).

For those with kids in tow, Castlemartyr Resort is offering five-star family vacations with fun activities for the younger guests thrown in.

Children are given a kite on arrival and encouraged to get out into the fresh air to fly them in acres of lush green grounds.

From woodland walks and manicured lawns, picturesque ruins and impeccably restored parterre gardens, the surroundings at Castlemartyr Resort are idyllic and make an amazing setting for kite flying.

There are also many Blue Flag beaches on your doorstep for those in search of an extra breezy challenge.

Let’s Go Fly A Kite at Castlemartyr Resort costs from €249 per night for a deluxe room for two adults and a child up to 12, and is based on two nights bed & breakfast with one evening meal – and a kite kit.

The stay also includes a family entrance ticket to nearby Fota Wildlife Park or to Leahy’s Open Farm in Midleton, two excellent family days out.

During July and August, there’s a kids’ club, and milk and homemade cookies at bedtime too (telephone 021 421 9000, or see www.castlemartyrresort.ie).

If you fancy a great escape to remember then check out the seaside adventures package at the idyllic Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa.

RTE presenter Kathryn Thomas couldn’t resist checking out the new activities and gave them a resounding thumbs up.

From surfing and kayaking to whale watching and food trails, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on this magical stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Adrenaline seekers can ride the waves at Inchydoney Beach with a surf lesson, follow a bike tour from Clonakilty on one of five picture perfect routes or slow things down with a memorable starlight kayak along the rugged Cork coastline.

For the explorer who likes to take things at a slightly slower pace but still soak up the great outdoors, jump on board for a half day whale-watching trip discovering Old Head or treat your taste buds to a walking food trail of charming Clonakilty.

All packages include two nights in a deluxe room with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, breakfast each morning in the Gulfstream Restaurant and access to The Island Spa, Ireland’s only proper thalassotherapy spa (from €229, see www.inchydoney.ie).

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