It was so nice to be home in Cork for my second trip with Radisson Blu ! Cork is the second largest city in Ireland and Corkonians jokingly refer to it as “The Real Capital” 😉 It was a wonderful place to be reared. A vibrant, safe city which has charming streets on each side of its river -The River Lee.
I grew up on the South side of the city which is a few minutes walk from the city centre and next to the iconic University College Cork. I have been gone from Cork 9 years now. Pre-kids, I never really wanted to visit home. My family would come to me wherever I was. There was a whole world out there to see! Now that I have kids, I love bringing them back and see it in a completely different light. I guess that’s what happens when we get a bit older…
We flew from Heathrow again and I cannot stress how fantastic they are there for families. This white board past security was such a nice little touch too! I always arrive to the airport 2 hours before the flight as I like to have good time to get something to eat and not rush. Nothing worse than having to change Harper or something like that when the flight is boarding! I now have my routine and know exactly what to expect. Saoirse does too! Hops on the plane and puts on her seat belt!!
The Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa in Cork is nestled 15 minutes from the city centre. It has a modern extension onto the beautiful elegant Victorian-style Ditchley House which is still intact and its rooms are used for business meetings, events and Blue Birds Kids Club is there too!
Like the last time, after we checked in, we went to get lunch in the bar. The staff were as lovely here- straight down with the kids menus, colouring and little drinks with the straws cut. All about those details!
We were staying in a perfectly spacious suite on the third floor. They had organised an extra bed for Saoirse and a cot for Harper ,but I ended up cancelling them because we always just end up in the same bed anyway! It was huge, so I had a bit more room than what I do at home!
We met the lovely Michael at the airport and when he took us to the hotel, I decided I wanted to hold onto him for the few days, so he took us everywhere we needed to go. He had a car large enough to take the double buggy, which was a bonus.We went straight into town for a stroll and were greeted by some brilliant live music in the middle of Pana (that’s Patrick’s Street for anyone not from Cork) This is typical Cork- there is music and buskers on every street which I think gives the city an electric atmosphere!
The recession, which wasn’t that long ago, hit Cork hard. It warms my heart to see it recover bit by bit each time I go back. All these artisan, small businesses like this bakery popping up. A lot are owned by Eastern Europeans, who moved to Cork to build a better life, when their own countries were even worse off. The swarm of people who came to Cork have enriched the city and made it wonderfully cosmopolitan.
We walked over to one of my favourite places in Cork, The English Market. Full of food stalls with local produce and the fish market here is world famous in the food industry! Saoirse loved seeing all the fish (as I did when I used to go there with my Dad when I was small!) and the cake stalls here are so good too. There are little clothing stores and barbers scattered throughout- trust me, it’s an experience!
I actually ended up forgetting my wallet and had only realised it on the way into town, so didn’t have any money with me. I was dying for a coffee (surprise!) so walked up to Three Fools and the lads let me off without paying until the next day. Perfect example of the way Cork people are. So welcoming, helpful, hospitable. That’s one thing I really miss about it.
Their coffee is the BEST, they have great sandwiches and it’s really family friendly in there too. The owner has 3 under 5! It’s in a sort of pod in the middle of the main street, so central to everything.
After that we walked up to Cork Opera House. I wanted to get a picture because this venue has so much going on there all year round. For families and for adults. Take a look at their website here !
It was the nicest evening, so when Michael took us back, I decided we should have dinner al fresco 🙂 We played in the garden of the hotel while we waited for our food- here is the kids menu! I found this to be really impressive as some places just have a couple of options and the portions are small. These were huge! Even if you’re in Cork reading this, I would definitely recommend heading down for dinner with the kids and having it outside on a summers evening. The playground is right next to this outdoor area of the restaurant too.
The playground is so nice! Ha! God I am such a Mom. But seriously, some you go to are crap and are not taken care of. How nice is this little playhouse?! Yup Saoirse asked me to take her there like every two seconds!
We got the desserts to the room. The staff would climb a mountain for you in the Radisson Blu . I LOVE that in a hotel. Especially when you have kids. Just so so accommodating.
Cartoons and a 50 course brekkie the next morning!!
Little princess Saoirse heading up to the Kids Club. The staff were lovely and it was Easter break, so lots of other kids were in the hotel too, which was great!
Because we didn’t have enough food delivered to the room, (Ha!) we popped down to the breakfast buffet where I discovered this! They have a whole section for kids to do their own pancakes and drinks! How adorable!! I’ve never seen this before. Yup- Saoirse was in her element!
Michael took us down to Fota Wildlife Park that morning where we met this fella (I was behind glass here btw- so many people DM’d me on my Instagram to say something along the lines of “OH MY GOD YOU WERE NEXT TO THE LION???” No. It’s very safe there and all glassed off!
The peacocks and giraffes are my favourite. I’ve been coming here since I was small. It’s so good because it’s so spread out. It’s not a Zoo. I don’t like Zoo’s, at all. I love Fota too because of the work they do there. Check out their website here – you can’t go to Cork and not go here!
I feel like I’m saying this a lot, but this is another place I used to come with my Mum when I was small! They have so much going on here, from cinema nights to art workshops and creative events. It’s in the middle of the city and well worth a trip! They have kids events going on there too, but I’d call them in advance to see if there is anything happening if you are planning on going with kids.
Popped over to Oh My Donut on Washington Street afterwards for one of these!! Loads of people told me about it, so I had to check it out! They were insane!! You can get them to go or there are tables to sit and eat yourself silly!
When we got back to the hotel we went to the pool (which has a dedicated kiddies pool too btw) and then went to the Kids Club after dinner. I got the Prawn Thai Curry which was so good!
The next morning we went to Storytime at the Cork City Library and there were loads of kids there loving the lady who runs it. She’s so lovely. LOTS of energy!! Again, it’s something I used to go to when I was small with my sisters 🙂 We only stayed for about 20 mins, but Saoirse got well involved. Loved it!
The Market Lane- you HAVE to eat here if you’re going to Cork. The food is and has always been sublime and they are brilliant with kids too.
Wine Bar across the way Meades Bar not kid friendly, (it opens at 5pm) but I really wanted to include it in here anyhow!!
Walked over for a look into Brown Thomas -if you want to shop luxury, this is your spot.
Lunch that day was at Perry Street Market Cafe! Where do I start!!! Not sure if you can see it properly in this photo, but the food is AMAZING. Yes that word again!!! I don’t know what else to say! Their presentation of hot chocolate is seriously Instagram worthy too!
This is another cute cafe for tea and cake with your little one! I’d keep this for a special occasion. It’s more elegant here and just so special. It’s at the back of The Crawford Art Gallery, which you can see has a really interesting structure at the side of the building it’s in.
More music on the streets of Cork!
Ali’s kitchen is fab for brekkie/lunch and very pram friendly too!
A really talented Irish chef Rachel Allen has just opened a restaurant in Washington Street called Rachels. They serve simple, naturally produced and delicious tasting food from the local Cork area. I really wanted to go for something to eat here but it was booked up. Maybe next time!
The sun was shining, so we went up to Fitzgerald’s Park! I wanted to show the girls The Shakey Bridge!!
That evening I was staying with my parents at home, so we just chilled out, put away the phones and got pizza!
We were going at 1pm the next day, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to head down to The Castle Cafe at Blackrock Castle for brunch and to check out their observatory (which you can be blown away by here ). Firstly, Ian and the staff there run the best restaurant. So much on the menu (It’s owned by The Market Lane people!) Harper was sick and the staff literally helped me with everything and made it all better. The food is always so so good there. I cannot stress how much I love this place enough! So next to it is a well preserved16th century castle where they have a huge telescope and it’s all nestled in the River Lee Harbour.
There is a Space Camp happening here this summer. Check out their separate website for information on everything that happens here! I am obsessed! It’s such a credit to the city!
Bye Bye Nana 🙁
We went home to pack and hopped on the plane back to London. It was so nice to be home and get so much done in the few days! Really hope you enjoyed our little adventure and the social coverage of my trip too.
We are off to Jersey next week for our next collaboration, where I’ll be focusing more on a couples getaway…but I’m still bringing the girls!! My Uncle and cousins live there, so can’t wait to catch up with them and see what Jersey has to offer!