A few weeks ago I was in dire need of a break away, so, Paulie being the ever attentive boyfriend booked us a trip to Cork.
We drove down early on the Saturday morning and headed to The The Blarney Stone first. Blarney Castle and Gardens are beautiful, just make sure you get there early, luckily we did and didn't have to wait too long to Kiss the stone! We wandered around the poison garden and grounds for a while and as we headed back towards the castle we counted our lucky stars because bus loads, and I mean BUS LOADS of tourists had just pulled up. We overheard some American lady in the massive line that there was now a two hour wait to get into the castle! Bullet-Dodged.
By then we were able to check into the hotel so we headed there. We were staying at The Ambassador Hotelon Military Hill not far from Cork City Centre. My goodness, the hills! Our poor car hates us after this trip! Be warned, Cork is a little awkward to navigate. Our hotel was really nice, just a shame we were in the extended part of the building and our view was of a wall. Bit of a let down if I'm honest, as the website describes stunning views of Cork and I'm all about the views.
After we freshened up we were both ravenous, so we made our way into the city. Now, I think Cork may be a little behind on the times because on our stroll in a group of lads started singing "hey now you're a rockstar" as we walked by. Who even calls people 'rockers' anymore? Sure, Paulie had a Misfits tshirt on and I had black ripped skinnies on with a Mc Queen scarf but this is just style! 😆
We found The English Market easily enough but give me Fallon & Byrne any day! I can appreciate that it's a bit of a Cork Institution but I was somewhat underwhelmed. In saying that, there was an amazing smelling sausage bar that I'm kicking myself I didn't try!!
After the English Market we headed to a Mexican place that I looked up online. Cafe Mexicana was delicious, but my phone died before I could take any pics so I had to have dinner like they used to before the age of smart phones! 😂 afterwards we had a drink at Suas above Captain Americas, I think this is more of a night time place but it was nice to sit on the terrace in the afternoon sun.
After a rest for a few hours we decided to stay in the hotel for drinks as the long day and the working week had taken it out of us. It was an early night for us as we had surfing to look forward to in the morning!
Surfing was pretty Awesome! I had gotten into contact with Swell Surf School at Inch Beach in East Cork and arranged for us to have a two hour lesson on Sunday morning. Don't even think of finding this place without a Sat Nav! Even my freakish abilities wouldn't have gotten us here! When we pulled up to the beach a class for kids was taking place out in the water and it looked like so much fun. I was still bricking it though!! We met our surf instructor Aisling just before 11am and she set us up with wetsuits and wetshoes. We then went through some safety info and grabbed our foam boards and headed onto the beach. Aisling taught us about currents and surf etiquette and how to protect your head when you get knocked off your board. We learned about paddling and how to position ourselves on the board. We then put on our leashes and took those first steps into the freezing cold sea, which wasn't really that bad but a pair of gloves wouldn't go amiss! After a while if getting used to the ocean we headed back to the shore to learn the all important 'Popping Up'. I then realised, God I'm so unfit!
It was time to give surfing for real a try. Aisling was so patient and encouraging! I really relied on her to give me a little shove to get me moving so I could even attempt to pop up. My upper body strength is disgraceful!! I managed to get up on my knees a few times before I even got close to (kind of) standing! My body felt like it was made of bricks but I enjoyed every minute of it! It was really strenuous and I had to sit out a few waves.
Anyone who is unsure if they would be into surfing, I really recommend giving it a go! I had SUCH fun and would love to take it up as a hobby if I lived near the water! Swell Surf School was so reasonably priced too at €35 each for two hours. Aisling even recommended Rosies nearby for us to have some lunch and that didn't dissapoint either, it was delicious 😁
To Be Continued…