On this four day tour we guide you through some of the highlights of East Cork and aim to not only give you a taste of the very best eateries, but to immerse you in some of east Cork’s active historic tours, guide you through some of our natural beauty spots and lead you through four days of informative fun and delicious meals. This four-day itinerary aims to give you a taste of the very best of food and adventure available on the Eastern stretch of Cork’s rich maritime coastline.
Arrive in Cork City. Drive around 20 minutes or so to Carrigtwohill to start your day with breakfast at Bramley Lodge in Carrigtwohill, a real foodie paradise using quality local produce.
After breakfast proceed on to Fota House a short distance down the road towards Cobh. Take a tour of the elegant regency mansion, stroll through the renowned Arboretum and gardens, and be sure to visit the Fernery and the Rose garden.
Stop for coffee in the café and don’t forget to look up and admire the ceiling! Head on to Fota Island Resort to check in for the night and enjoy lunch in the beautiful Amber Lounge where you will dine with views of the magnificent Fota Island Resort
Travel on from Fota to the famous town of Cobh, pronounced ‘Cove’ - the last port of call of the Titanic.
Start your afternoon with a trip to the Cobh Heritage Centre – the Queenstown Story.
The Heritage Centre is situated in the Atlantis Terminus, the town’s large 19th century old railway station. Beyond this is the splendid waterfront, relax by the bandstand with an ice-cream and if you are lucky you might even get to hear some music.
Travel up the hill to Cobh Cathedral and its 49 bell Carillon, the largest in Ireland and Great Britain and one of the best examples of its genre.
Finish off your day in Cobh with dinner in Gilbert's Bistro in the historical Pearse Square and take a stroll down to the famous Rob Roy a well-known traditional Irish pub with regular traditional music sessions.
Return to Fota Island Resort and unwind in their luxurious surroundings.
Enjoy breakfast at Fota Island Resort or in Cobh followed by a short scenic boat ride to the historic Spike Island located in Cork Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. Take a guided tour and discover the fascinating story of the island. In the last 1,300 years Spike Island has been host to a 6th century Monastery, a 24 acre Fortress, the largest convict depot in the world in Victorian times and centuries of island homes. Today the island is dominated by the 200 year old Fort Mitchel, the star shaped Fortress which became a prison holding over 2,300 prisoners. The island offers great views of the inner harbour as well as outstanding views of Cobh Cathedral and the town’s colourful shop fronts.
Alternatively spend the morning pottering around Cobh town, taking in the highly entertaining Titanic Walking which lasts approx. 1 hour and provides a fascinating insight into the history of Cobh town which is intrinsically linked to the Titanic, as this was the last port the ship called into before setting sail on its ill-fated journey to America.
Return to Cobh and drive just 20 minutes to the Jameson Distillery Midleton to enjoy a delicious lunch in their Malt House Restaurant which is renowned for its use of fresh local produce.
In the afternoon, take one of the memorable tours around the Jameson Distillery, Midleton (pre-booking recommended) and come face-to-face with the largest Pot Still in the world, visit the new Micro-Distillery, experience a live maturation warehouse and much more.
Open 7 days a week with tours regularly throughout the day, you’ll walk through the history of the whiskey making process from grain to glass and get the chance to experience a memorable comparative whiskey tasting. For a more in-depth experience, consider doing the Behind the Scenes tour, a fascinating tour which also includes a visit to the Cooperage and the Distillers Cottage. Alternatively choose the Distiller’s Apprentice Tour, an in-depth tour which includes a visit to the working distillery where all Jameson is produced today (this tour is available on certain dates only).
To round off your visit, enjoy a stroll through the Jameson gift shop and choose from over 48 different whiskeys or the many other gifts on offer as a present for someone back home.
At the gates of the distillery, pop into Midleton Tourist Office for some excellent expert advice on the bustling market town of Midleton and stroll down the main street to visit the local artisan shops, restaurants, bars, lively cafés and eateries.
Leaving Midleton, continue on for just 20 minutes to Ballymaloe House and check in for a relaxing evening at the birthplace of Modern Irish Food and the very finest of Irish Country House hospitality.
Ballymaloe House is a family run business and the Allen family first opened the doors to their home in 1964 and here the Allen family and staff continue to invite guests to feel very much at home. Enjoy a leisurely and globally celebrated 5 course #FarmtoFork seasonal menu deep within the most beautiful East Cork countryside
After the famous Ballymaloe House breakfast, drive towards the beautiful East Cork coast to Shanagarry and visit the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Collect your garden ticket from their Organic farm & kitchen shop. Beyond the main Cookery School building (an old apple store) lie several captivating gardens. Some carefully designed and ornate and others wild but whatever the season, a visit to the gardens, organic farm and 100 acres of glasshouse is always an inspirational and memorable occasion.
During the summer months you can eat at the Cookery School at their Airstream Café but in winter, we recommend that you return to Ballymaloe House for a light lunch option at the Ballymaloe Shop Café.
Alternatively, drive to the nearby picturesque fishing village of Ballycotton and visit their historic lifeboat The Mary Stanford, take a tour of the Ballycotton Lighthouse and take in the freshest of sea air on the world famous Ballycotton Cliff Walk.
Return to the village for a delicious fresh fish lunch looking over Ballycotton harbour at Pier 26 restaurant.
After lunch join Ballycotton Sea Adventures for one of their afternoon 90 minute historic adventure to the Lighthouse Island or a Ballycotton Island Fun Ride with one of their knowledgeable and entertaining local guides.
Meet your guide at the pontoon in Ballycotton harbour and after a 10 minute boat trip land on the ‘big’ island and walk up and into Ballycotton Lighthouse. A unique East Cork adventure suitable for all the family.
Head to Youghal stop for refreshments at Carewswood Garden Centre and enjoy freshly baked treats and good coffee surrounded by natural beauty. If it’s a pint your passengers want then visit The Hunted Hog a traditional Irish pub in nearby Castlemartyr on route to Youghal.
Check in and relax and dine at Aherne's Townhouse & Seafood Bar back in Youghal town for a timeless choice of light fresh fish dishes or treat yourself to their renowned mouth-watering 8 course tasting menu.
Afterwards take a stroll through Youghal town and enjoy some of the lively local traditional Irish pubs nearby.
Enjoy breakfast at Aherne's or walk a little way along the high street to The Coffee Pot and explore historic Youghal. Head to the beach and stretch your legs and work up an appetite for lunch with a stroll along the Youghal Eco-Boardwalk, a 400 meter hardwood panelled beach walk-way, stretching from Front Strand Beach to Claycastle Beach. A wonderful wheel chair and pram friendly amenity, whatever the season, and a superb way to enjoy the towns impressive beach and take in the fresh East Cork sea air.
After lunch visit the Youghal Clock Gate Tower (also conveniently close to The Quays), and travel through time floor by floor of this important historic building.
During the 1 hour tour, the local storytellers will travel through 700 years of time with you and floor by floor fully immerse you in life as it was lived in the tower throughout this time.
Head back to Cork city confident that you have explored some of East Cork’s finest eateries and tourist attractions and hopefully with an appetite to return sometime soon to see and do more.