This week’s guest post is from Irish writer and blogger Billy Lyons.
When tourists arrive in Cork, they usually head to the coastal towns and villages of beautiful West Cork. But I suggest, you step off that plane or cruise liner (in Cobh), and take a turn to the east.
Coming from the city on the East Cork Parkway, take the Cobh exit ramp and head for breakfast at Bramley Lodge. Now, set up for the morning, go over the nearby bridge to Fota Island and its many attractions.
If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, from the same car park, walk through the renowned Fota Arboretum and maybe add a tour of the Georgian House. If you like it around here, you may also try the high class Fota Island Hotel and Golf Resort.
Moving on, go over the Belvelly Bridge and you find yourself on Great Island where the cathedral town of Cobh is situated. Much to do here including the Sirius Art Gallery, walking tours (including the Titanic Trail), harbourside bars and restaurants and of course the Cobh Heritage Centre which tells of forced deportations and the later exodus caused by the famine and also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania.
Time now to head out of the islands and bear east for Midleton and a tour of the Jameson Experience. If you give the right answers here, you’ll end up with a certificate of proficiency in Whiskey!
Next stop is Ballymaloe, the home of modern Irish food. You could spend a day here but, with time getting scarce, take a look at the impressive Cookery School gardens and call to the cafe for a mid afternoon coffee. You could also take that coffee in the Kilkenny Design Shop in Shanagarry village before heading on to the seaside village of Ballycotton.
Time now for dinner at Nautilus, a French influenced restaurant in the village, with views over the harbour and the island lighthouse. Nautilus is a seasonal restaurant and not open throughout the year.
If closed, head back towards the city and make a stop at the estuary village of Glounthaune and the Rising Tide Bar Bistro. Enjoy your meal here, as Lady Gaga did, and take time for a deserved pint of the local stout, Murphy’s or Beamish, in the bar afterwards.
Billy Lyons , from County Cork, Ireland, spent 31 years as PRO of soccer league Cork AUL, contributing articles and photos to various newspapers. He started a website to publish soccer news and, when retired, expanded this to include restaurant reviews, things to do in Cork and travels in Europe. Now there is a nest of blogs and sites . Follow him on Twitter.