Shifting down a few gears for a weekend away in Cork

There is nothing like getting away as a couple to keep the romance alive and if you are thinking about your next trip, then consider Cork. The city itself has plenty on offer to keep you entertained, while the surrounding countryside is perfect for that much-craved solitude.

Read on for your guide to help you plan the ultimate getaway, just the two of you.

Where to stay

The main question when organising accommodation for your weekend in Cork is whether you want to be based in the city or the countryside. Only you know what type of couple you are. Do you prefer to have all the amenities, bars and restaurants close at hand or would you prefer to escape to a rural retreat?

Either way it can be a good idea to hire a car with Auto Europe to give you the flexibility to move between the two. From your hotel in Cork city you can hit the road and head off to find your own little piece of the Emerald Isle, before returning to an evening of fine food and drinking in the metropolis. If you are located in the surrounding area then a trip into the city to experience some of its famed culture is a must.

The five-star Kingley Hotel on Western Road is a good option in Cork itself, as is the Hayfield Manor Hotel on College Road. Both of these are close enough to the action without being noisy or intrusive. They also offer enough luxury to let all your cares melt away and enjoy being in each other’s company.

For those who have opted for a more rural setting, you can’t beat the Maritime Hotel with its views out across Bantry Bay. This four-star establishment offers up the idea of an Irish romantic break of epic proportions. But if you or your partner has the gift of the gab, then you won’t be able to resist staying within sight of the famous Blarney Castle at the four-star golf resort.

Romantic activities

What is romantic for one couple may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but there are a certain number of things that tick the boxes for most people. Pick and choose the ones that suit you and your partner, but also let the magic of Cork create its own romantic memories for you too.

Whale watching – the waters around Ireland have been designated a whale and dolphin sanctuary since the 1990s and the Cork coastline is a great place to spot these majestic mammals. Depending on the time of year you may see fin whales, minke whales, harbour porpoises, common dolphins and basking sharks.

Fota Arboretum and Gardens – strolling around this beautiful collection of shrubs and flowers dating back to the 19th century on Fota Island is a great way to pass time with your loved one. The walled garden and glass houses add interest, as do the notes on the planting that can be found throughout. Expect to see species from Japan, China, South America, the Himalayas and North America.

Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral – Cork’s impressive limestone cathedral was built by William Burges and remains an important landmark in the city to this day. Take a look around the church and admire its stained glass windows, stone carving and depiction of foolish virgins by the west door.