When I think of Ireland my thoughts go to luscious green landscapes, historic buildings, cosy pubs and warm and friendly people: exactly what I have found on my visits to the Emerald Isle! Of course, there are also cosmopolitan towns and great beaches too: County Cork is the largest county in Ireland, and as such, it’s wonderfully diverse. Its green farmlands and valleys provide idyllic walking, while its stunningly beautiful coastline has plenty of bays and coves to enjoy.
With so much to explore and savour in County Cork, why not book and stay in a beautiful cottage or apartment? You could explore some of the charms that make County Cork such a special place, some of which I’m about to share with you…
Fantastic two-storey house with indoor swimming pool
Caher Lodge provides luxury accommodation in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Ireland is well known for its excellent golf courses (a few of which I have personally enjoyed!), and this property couldn’t be more perfectly located for lovers of the game. Located between the 14th and 15th tee of Bantry Bay Golf course, with the all-important club house only 200 yards away, it’s a dream for golfers and families alike.
With four spacious bedrooms, each boasting an en-suite bathroom and TV, accommodating eight adults – or a large family – is easily achieved while still providing maximum comfort. Throughout the house from the well-equipped kitchen to the relaxing and comfortable living room, you will find the highest standard of decoration and furnishings. With exceptional facilities including an indoor, heated swimming pool, steam room, tennis courts, putting green and private garden with heated BBQ area, it may take a while to venture further than your front lawn!
Close by is Bantry House, an historic and privately owned stately home which has been managed by the White family since 1756. Looking around the house you will find an Aladdin’s cave of treasures collected by the family over the years: mosaics from Pompeii, French and Flemish tapestries and a beautiful antique piano in the library that budding pianists will love. Make your way upstairs and take in the wonderful views of the bay. The gardens are a joy to walk around and a stop at the tea rooms is a must: homemade goodies and refreshments make Bantry House a treat for all.
Sleeps: bedrooms 4, sleeps 8-11.
Price: from £1,324 per week.
Beautiful house overlooking bay
An idyllic location mixed with fantastic accommodation makes Coolbaun a true gem for the family. Overlooking Courtmacsherry bay, it’s within easy walking distance of the eponymous town of Broadstrand, and lies just 100 metres from a lovely, sandy beach.
A modern open-plan area affords a light and airy feel downstairs, with a wood burner adding a cosy element. There are also two bedrooms on the ground floor, one with full en-suite facilities, while upstairs there is a double and twin bedroom respectively. This accommodation is well equipped with all modern conveniences including TV, DVD, dishwasher and microwave.
A short walk gives fabulous views of the bay – within 50 metres is a slipway – and when the tide is right it’s perfect for swimming and fishing! A flat-bottomed kayak is also available, and if water sports take your fancy then head down to Courtsmacsherry harbour.
There’s a great variety of places to eat locally, with Deasy’s bar and restaurant in Clonakilly offering fantastic local seafood.
Sleeps: bedrooms 4, sleeps 8.
Price: from £342 per week.
Baltimore holiday home with tennis courts
This three bedroom holiday home is situated on a purpose-built holiday complex, situated in the picturesque maritime village of Baltimore. It provides fabulous accommodation with easy access to many amenities.
There are two double bedrooms, one complete with cot, and the third bedroom has three single beds: perfect for the children. The kitchen is well stocked and the dining area is ample for six people. With satellite/cable TV to boot, chilling out after a busy day should remain argument free!
Outside, you’ll find the property equally well equipped: the shared tennis courts and a garden are replete with ample seating and a BBQ. A children’s playground nearby will also ensure little ones are entertained. Baltimore is still very much unspoilt, so simply wander around the harbour before dining in one of the many great restaurants. From the pier, you can also take a ferry to visit the enchanting and tranquil Islands of Cape Clear, Sherkin and Heir.
Sleeps: bedrooms 3, sleeps 7.
Price: contact owner.
Stunning barn conversion at Three Castle Head
The Loft is really quite special: with arresting views of Dunlough Bay and the Mizen head, and located on a working sheep farm, it’s a property not to be missed. It even boasts an amazing walk through farm land, which leads you past an impressive 12th century castle and a beautiful lake.
It’s not just the location that’s stunning, however: the living accommodation is gorgeous, with its open and airy atmosphere which retains a rural feel. Oak floors, a modern fully-fitted kitchen, and a bathroom with clean lines and beautiful furnishings all add to the ambience. Both double bedrooms offer the option of changing them into twin singles, so the property’s comfortable and inviting whoever you’re travelling with. The Loft also boasts all the modern conveniences you’d expect, so you can make your stay a home from home experience.
The garden has wooden decking and a patio, so you should make use of the large BBQ and dine alfresco while enjoying your fabulous surroundings.
Again, there is much to see and do in this area, but here are my top tips: walk along the sand on Barleycove beach, often referred to as one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland, and then make your way for a well-earned supper at the idyllically placed Herons cove in Goleen. With local and fresh produce weaved into tempting dishes, all of which are served in relaxed surroundings with views of the harbour, there’s surely no better way to end the day. Ready for tomorrow? Well, make sure you’ve packed your binoculars as Three Castle Head is also a haven for wildlife and birdlife: you can even enjoy a spot of whale watching!
Sleeps: bedrooms 2, sleeps 4.
Price: From £386 per week.
Two charming holiday cottages
Caras Cottage and Marian Cottage are both situated in the grounds of Scilly house which dates back to 1760. The Village of Scilly is only minutes away: overlooking the once medieval fishing port of Kinsale, it is now a thriving town. It has been many years since I’ve visited, but writing this I can almost smell the warm, freshly-baked bread that came with my every meal!
Both cottages are inviting, cosy and finished to a high standard. Relaxing colours and beautiful touches such as the free-standing bath in Marian cottage make them something truly special, not to mention the views, which quite frankly won’t make you want to part with this perfect holiday accommodation! They offer peace and tranquillity, but remain near enough to Kinsale to enjoy the buzz and attractions of the town. Marian Cottage has one bedroom and can sleep three, while Caras cottage has two bedrooms and sleeps four. Both have well-equipped kitchens and offer all home comforts.
Sleeps: Cara’s Cottage: bedrooms 2, sleeps 4; Marian Cottage: bedrooms 1, sleeps 3.
Price: from £398 per week.
There is a whole host of museums, golf courses, art galleries, historic buildings and places to eat and drink in the area, but for me, Desmond Castle – home to the International museum of wine – pulls at my heart strings every time. But as with all the places I have talked about in Ireland, the difficulty won’t be finding things to do; it will be leaving the Emerald Isle after your stay. That said, I’m sure your next visit won’t be too far away!