Alice & Tom were on the road on Friday 2nd February visiting some of Cork’s finest properties, starting at Castlemartyr and finishing in Ireland’s Gourmet Capital of Kinsale. It was a very informative trip and extremely worthwhile to check out some of the hotels we hope to send plenty of guests to in the future.

2018-02-02 10.54.12First up as we said was the very classy Castlemartyr Resort. The drive  through the estate sets quite the tone of what we’re sure will be a very relaxing stay, and if you’re not relaxed on arriving you will definitely be relaxed soon after visiting this superb spa! The rooms are beautiful and very well appointed – we particularly enjoyed seeing The Presidential Suite (you could live there!!). The quirky and cool Clubhouse and Ron Kirby (of Jack Nicklaus Design & Old Head Golf Links fame) designed Golf Course compliments the Hotel very well. Stay classy Castlemartyr, we’re sure you will!!

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Next up was the stunning town of Kinsale, resplendent on the day in the Winter sunshine (it wasn’t warm outside though!!). We made our way to The Trident Hotel, perched on the waterfront on the edge of town. Significant investment over the past few years is evident here, the same as the next hotel on our Itinerary in the shape of Actons Hotel, and we were very impressed by the overall quality of everything this beautiful hotel has to offer. Their suites with the view of the marina, river and out towards Charles Fort were stunning and something that you would not tire of seeing on waking up each morning. Many thanks to Eleanor and Orlaith for showing us around!

2018-02-02 12.32.16 HDRActons Hotel is just a short walk from The Trident but we took the car (and gave Orlaith a life so we had the excuse to leave it there while we grabbed lunch nearby!). Like the Trident, Actons has also underwent significant investment recently – this is very evident all over, from the front entrance to reception area and from the bar to the rooms. Again we were very impressed by the overall and consistent quality of the rooms in the hotels in Kinsale. The view from Actons is superb as well, straight out over the water. As with the majority of the excellent accommodation on offer in Kinsale, you are a short walk from all the fantastic bars and restaurants around the town – and there are quite a few!

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Next up was lunch, very important! Kinsale is a haven for foodies so it was a tough choice for where to grab a bite of some gastronomique delights! At this time of year some of the cafés and restaurants are taking a break due to the off-season so our choice was narrowed down slightly which helped only slightly due to the great restaurants and cafés in Kinsale – we went for Jim Edwards and as per usual were very much happy with our choice!! The Fish Goujons were great, or so Tom told us as he wouldn’t share….. “Jim’s” is always great and has fantastic bar menu for something more casual, and of course the restaurant menu is excellent as well. Well worth stopping by whether you are on a flying visit to Kinsale to staying a bit longer.

Our afternoon had a few more showarounds – namely at The White House (not Donald’s!), The Blue Haven & Old Bank House and then Blacks Brewery. A pretty nice way to spend a Friday afternoon!2018-02-02 13.33.16 HDR

The White House is located right in the middle of Kinsale and boasts their Restaurant d’Antibes which is part of the Good Food Circle in Kinsale. There are 15 rooms – all spacious and slightly different in terms of look due to the quirkiness of this family run property. The White House Bar is a great place to unwind with a pint of Guinness and a Bowl of Chowder or watch the match while their Restaurant and Bistro serve fabulous food in a more intimate setting. The staff at The White House very much keep things in the family having been working at this Kinsale institution for many years and this definitely comes across in the welcome you receive here.

Room 11 - Blue HavenAcross the street from The White House is The Blue Haven with the Old Bank House just down the street from there then. The Blue Haven collection consists of The Blue Haven Hotel itself, The Old Bank House, Hamlet’s Bar (a great spot for a drink and bar food), The Fish Market and also Apéritif Wine & Tapas Bar. The rooms at the Blue Haven are lovely and they have recently started a Dyson Project which entails using a Dyson Hairdryer and Heater in each room – now that is impressive!

Gourmet Café Old Bank House Kinsale

The Old Bank House is just a few doors down from The Blue Haven and has underwent plenty investment recently as well, seems to be a constant theme in Kinsale of late! They also have their excellent Café on the ground floor which produces the lovely cookies that form part of your welcome to both these Kinsale properties, of course they have plenty of other goodies in the café as well. One of the rooms in The Old Bank has been transformed into a “chill out zone” for guests with comfy chairs, a coffee machine and business centre as well – a welcome and smart addition. This property is located in the quieter area of town so it might be more suitable for those who won’t be revelling into the wee hours of the morning or want those doing so to be passing your window at night!2018-02-02 16.27.29

Last stop on the day was to Black’s Brewery which is located just on the outskirts of Kinsale. With Tom’s interest in Craft Beer (probably dating back to when Black’s Brewery was founded in 2013!) and Alice’s mother’s love of Gin (hi Julia!) this was a pilgrimage worth making. Maud & Sam took us through the stages in craft beer & spirit creation and we even got to check out the Tap Room which will definitely be busy when the season kicks off in Kinsale again soon. We look forward to sending plenty sightseers and golfers to Black’s Brewery in the coming months, this is a great family run craft business and they make some great product as well!

Some great properties visited today around Cork – it is definitely a fantastic base for an Irish tour, whether it’s sightseeing like the Midleton Distillery, the Titanic Experience and Spike Island or enjoying the gourmet delights in Kinsale after a game of golf at Old Head and staying at one of their heavenly hotel in the town there is much to enjoy! Drop us a line to find out more and Experience Ireland with Us!!