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How to spend a weekend in County Cork

By Ciara McDonnell

If you are tight for time, here are some ideas for a memorable short break to County Cork.

Day one

Start the day in Cork with brunch at Brick Lane, where you should definitely order Belgian cinnamon waffles with crispy rashers and maple syrup, washed down with an excellent coffee and maybe one of Brick Lane’s gorgeous smoothies. After a large feed, walk in a leisurely fashion to Kent Station and hop on the train to Cobh, where you should take the ferry to Spike Island – Ireland’s answer to Alcatraz.

Spend a few hours exploring this island which over the last 1,000 years has incarnated as a monastery, a large prison and then a community of houses. Today, it is a world-class museum, with a wealth of information about Cork past and present.

Spike Island, County Cork

Step back in time with a trip to Spike Island

After your big walk, head across to Seasalt Cobh for a delicious sandwich and bowl of soup. Go for the Cork Rueben sandwich when it’s on the menu, which changes every Saturday. Kanturk pastrami, pickles, cheese and celeriac slaw – need we say more?

With a full belly, walk across the road and check into The Titanic Experience where you’ll literally become one of the ill-fated passengers who joined Titanic on her maiden voyage as she made her final stop at Cobh.

Head back to the city for a quick meander through the shops on St Patrick’s Street, before heading to Market Lane for a dinner filled with city centre buzz and gorgeous food. Finish the night with an excellent drink at Upstairs at Arthur Maynes.

Day two

Head straight to Blackrock Castle Observatory and have breakfast in the gorgeous Castle Café. This restaurant is extremely family friendly and offers some great vegetarian and vegan breakfast options. Head into the observatory post breakfast and check out the universe beyond our reach – you will be amazed. Be sure to read about the history of the castle before you leave; it has protected Cork city for hundreds of years.

Back to the city centre for an afternoon exploring Cork’s museums and art galleries. Staying in and around Patrick Street, check out Crawford GalleryLavit Gallery, The Butter Museum and Nano Nagle Place. Leave the English Market for your last stop and eat lunch at Farmgate Café.

After lunch, indulge in some more retail therapy – consider the side streets today, where you’ll find a more vintage retail feel. When dressed for dinner, head to ORSO, where incredible cocktails and small plates of utter deliciousness, make for an unforgettable evening. Tonight, round off your stay with a trip to Crane Lane Theatre, where you’ll find the best of Cork’s live music scene playing seven nights a week.

Learn more about Spike Island’s grisly history

Read more about County Cork

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Image credits: ©Ken/; Jamie O'Sullivan/Unsplash; Jed Niezgoda/ Art Gallery;; Video: Irish Times/YouTube

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