East Cork. Well Worth A Visit!

In Praise Of East Cork. Well Worth A Visit!

Ballycotton cliff walk
 Many writers routinely extol the attractions of West Cork and its friendly people. That friendly bit annoys. As if, somewhere between Kinsale and Glounthaune, you draw a line between the friendly natives and the unfriendly.

But we know down here that East Cork is a gem of a place to visit and, yes, the people are just as friendly. From the fantastic 13th century St Mary’s Collegiate Church  in Youghal to high class Fota House Gardens and Arboretum, with Barryscourt Castle in between, all free to enter, there is a treasure chest of places to visit in the area.
Chowder at Charlie Mac's
Let me take you on a day trip to see some of it. We’ll also enjoy some food  as East Cork is a foodie’s paradise with top notch restaurants including Barnabrow  (ideal for a Sunday lunch), Midleton’s pioneering Farmers Market and the food mecca of Ballymaloe. 

Youghal market
 Coming from the city on the main Cork-Waterford road, 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.
All tied up in Cobh
 If you have kids, go the Wildlife Park; if not, 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
Ballymaloe free range cockerel
 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 also the tales of the ill fated liners, The Titanic and the Lusitania. Cruise liners now call here regularly.
Woodland walk in Killeagh (Glenbower Wood)
 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!

Midleton food market. Natives are friendly!
 You may have lunch at the distillery cafe here. I have two favourites just outside: Raymond’s and Sage. There are many more, not forgetting Pat Shortt’s Bar  in nearby Castlemartyr. Prefer a pizza? Then try San Marco's in Midleton.
Fota arboretum
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.

In the seaside village of Ballycotton, take a stroll down to the pier  and see the fishermen come and go. If you feel you need to stretch the legs, then there is a spectacular walk along the cliff tops.
Hake at Bramley Lodge lunch.
Time now for dinner.  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 in the bar afterwards. An alternative is the Mabel Crawford bistro in the nearby Vienna Woods Hotel.

If heading east, then you’ll find a fine seafood dinner at Aherne’s in Youghal. If going north, why not drop into Charlie Mac’s  in Fermoy where French chef Fred will feed you well.

* Revised from original article 18 April 2011


Unknown said…
ah...feeling a little homesick !
Cork Billy said…
Thanks Rachel. I'm a little biased as I grew up in East Cork.