City Breaks At Home: How To Spend An Amazing 48 Hours In Cork City

You don't need to fly to have a lovely break away.

Flickr/William Murphy

Booking a little city break is the ultimate treat – who doesn’t love traipsing the streets of a foreign city, taking in the sights and stuffing your face with local fare?

But flying is expensive, not to mention stressful and bad for the environment, and we have more than a few world class cities right here on our doorstep. Simply hop in the car (or better yet, the bus or the train) and be a tourist in your own country.

First up in our series on local city breaks: 48 hours in Cork City, bai.

Where to stay

The iconic Metropole Hotel has recently been given a makeover, with a sparkling new restaurant and updated bedrooms. Team STELLAR was recently invited down to stay in one of the beautifully refurbished suites – and if you’re looking to make your trip to Cork especially romantic and special, we’d recommend you do the same. Our room was had charming period details, fluffy carpets, and a massive king-sized bed, and we couldn’t help but feel like royalty ourselves.

The Met is a few minutes’ walk from the city centre, just far enough from the hustle and bustle to ensure a peaceful nights’ sleep, but not so far that you can’t easily join in if so desired. There’s a swimming pool and leisure centre that we gratefully availed of on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and the staff could not have been more welcoming and helpful to us. For rates and to book, check out their website.

What to do

It is absolutely essential that you pay a visit to the city’s famous English Market, where you’ll find all sorts of local produce. Even if you’re not shopping, the Victorian building is a sight to behold – make sure you wander down the side lanes too to scope out cute vintage and gift shops.

If the weather is good, head out to Blackrock Castle Observatory, which sits about 5km away from the city centre and affords you beautiful views River Lee. Entry includes both a tour of the castle itself and access to its astronomy exhibition, so you’ll learn loads.

If the weather is most definitely not good, the Mardyke Entertainment Complex is basically a one stop shop for craic. There’s a bowling alley, pool hall, ping pong tables, and karaoke bar for you to get competitive over for a few hours. Ideal!

Where to eat

Cork City is a foodie’s dream. For brunch, stop in to Ali’s Kitchen – everything is made on site using local ingredients, so the menu is small, but extremely delicious. You’ll get your brunch classics like French toast and Eggs Benedict, along with their inventive daily specials. Try something new, it’s worth it.

Meat lovers will want to get themselves to Elbow Lane Smokehouse, where they serve up fantastic steaks and ribs. One thing to note, though – they don’t take reservations, so you’ll want to get there early or be prepared to wait. Elbow Lane is also a brewery, so you can get a nice beer as you do so.

Back at The Metropole, The Met restaurant is lovely for a special dinner. There’s something for everyone on the menu, from veggie curries and risotto to the most delicious roast lamb.

Instagram/Franciscan Well Brewery

Where to drink

Cork is the home of Franciscan Well Brewery, and there’s no better place to sample their wares than in their own pub, situated just a little ways down the River Lee away from the city centre. If you don’t fancy moving on for food, their in-house pizza restaurant is great, too.

For something a little more quirky, head to Arthur Mayne’s, a 120-year-old pharmacy that’s been turned into a wine bar. The shop has been preserved as it was from its time as a chemist, and you can enjoy a glass of wine amongst antique medicine bottles, cosmetics, and ‘apothecary accoutrements’. Very Insta-friendly, if we do say so ourselves.

Have we convinced you to head south for a city break?