County Cork

Photo of County Cork

About County Cork

Many visitors to Cork don't realise how big this county is, and how beautiful its dairy-green hinterland is. They're more interested in the dramatic, wind buffeted coastline, with its fork of peninsulas reaching out into the Atlantic, and their colourful little fishing villages with their pubs, warm with music, as well as hearty food and drink. There are calmer stretches of coastline too, long sandy miles, and pretty secluded covers, and many of these are backed by seaside holiday towns, or wonderful old forts or castles. These are obviously some of the best places to stay in County Cork if you’re here for the coastline.

And then of course there’s Cork city, a rival to Dublin for Ireland’s capital — in terms of culture, of cuisine and of lifestyle, a city full of traditional Irish charm, but of youthful energy too, with great music and markets. This is one of the best places to stay in County Cork if you’re looking for an Irish city break. And then there’s the rocky hills and smooth, green dales of the hinterland: perfect if you’re looking for an Irish escape.

Where to Stay? Which Part of County Cork?

  • Cork city’s rivalry with Dublin is legend, with locals calling it the 'real capital of Ireland', or, from those with a more mischievous air, 'The People's Republic of Cork'. So we’re picking Cork as the best place to stay in County Cork if you’re coming for the music or the culture, or to experience Ireland with the Irish! St Fin Barre's Cathedral is one of County Cork's most iconic spots, but Cork city also has an incredible Old Town, which holds a lot of appeal for visitors. Cobh in Cork Harbour is also worth a visit.
  • Just outside Cork city, on the coast, is Kinsale, which is a wonderful spot if you want to spend quite a bit of time in Cork city but you also want to see more of the county. Kinsale’s harbour is picturesque and it's got some great old forts that will help tell you the story of this region’s dramatic history. The narrow cobbled streets of the town have some great bars and restaurants, along with nice boutiques. Kinsale is also one of the best places to stay in Country Cork if you want to play some golf, or do some surfing.
  • Blarney, with its castle and famous kissable stone, is also just outside Cork city. Most visitors to County Cork will spend at least an afternoon visiting the historic castle and kissing the stone — legend has it that this will endow the kisser with the gift of the gab! The castle’s extensive gardens are also a super spot in which to enjoy a picnic afterwards, but you can also stay in the pretty, largely 19th century built village, and there are some charming B&Bs and guesthouses here.
  • If you’re travelling to Ireland for its beaches and dramatic coastline, then the west coast is the best place to stay in County Cork. Kinsale is probably the starting point, but Baltimore, which is at the other end of the coast, is probably more popular if it's a seaside resort type town you’re looking for. Clonakilty, Schull and Skibbereen are also pretty seaside ports, or for a quieter stretch of beach try the wilder islands of Clear or Sherkin, which you can reach by ferry from Baltimore.
  • The Beara Peninsula is another of Country Cork’s spectacular coastlines, and a famous driving route known for its mountains with exposed and contorted strata. You can drive it in a day if you set out early. But the most spectacular bit is the section around Adrigole. Adrigole, the fishing port of Castletownbere, and 19th century resort village Glengarriff are our recommendations for the best places to stay in County Cork if you want to see the peninsula.
  • Eastern County Cork is also known for its dairy farms, but there’s more than just cheese and butter here. If one part of Cork could be said to be the county’s farm then this is it. Fresh local produce from East Cork has inspired Cork city's culinary success, and there are some excellent cookery schools in this part of the county, so it’s one of the best places to stay in County Cork for foodies. Fota Island and the 70 acres of Fota Wildlife Park is also in East Cork.
  • If you’re here to do some angling or fishing in beautiful, green surrounds, North Cork is the best place to stay in County Cork, around Mallow, which is about 35kms north of Cork city.

Don't forget that the best places to stay in County Cork are very busy during the peak summer months, so you'll need to book well ahead if you're planning to visit in July or August.

The Best Places to Stay in County Cork

In Cork City

  • The Montenotte is a chic hotel close to the harbour, with fantastic views from its many panoramic windows. The largest windows are in the rather glamorous Panorama Bistro and Terrace, which is also known for its seafood, but many of the 126 rooms and suites have wonderful views too. The decor is traditional, but not: think patterned carpets and confidently patterned fabrics, in elegant colour schemes.
  • Converted from a tobacco factory built during the Edwardian period, the Hotel Isaacs is now an elegant hotel, with a multi-award winning restaurant that serves Modern Irish cuisine. Inside there are a choice of rooms, suites and apartments, which are decorated in a fairly simple, contemporary fashion, and you’re in a fabulous spot for sightseeing in Cork.
  • The River Lee Hotel is a large, contemporary hotel, right on the river, as the name suggests, with a welcoming feel and 182 spacious and similarly decorated rooms and suites, all with large windows overlooking the water. The facilities are notable, and include a large indoor pool, and a spa and fitness centre, and it has the feel of an especially tasteful business hotel. It's pretty good value too.
  • Hayfield Manor is almost as central, yet feels a world away: a country house hotel in its own secluded grounds, but right by University College Cork. There's gourmet meals available in a choice of two different restaurants, plus a spa and gym, and family suites — making this a great place to treat yourself, or your whole family.

For a complete escape

  • Longueville House is a family-run estate offering old fashioned country luxury and a friendly welcome. Expect spacious rooms with log fires, large windows and beautiful decor. There are 20 guest rooms and suites, and the excellent farm-to-fork restaurant has a number of elegant seating areas. Fly fish in the grounds and walk miles through the picturesque surrounding countryside.
  • Ballyvolane House has been a country house hotel for a long time, and you can really tell: the service is superlative and warm and there’s a fantastic range of pursuits on offer to tempt you outdoors. The house has only six guest rooms, but quite a number of public spaces, so it feels quite large. It’s also extremely beautiful, if you love a traditional country house. The dining is laid back and delicious and there’s a cooking school onsite.
  • Ballymaloe House is another country house hotel known for its cooking school and an excellent restaurant. There are 29 rooms and suites, decorated in a traditional manner, but all differently, plus a heated outdoor pool, tennis courts and a golf course. This is the place to learn to make Irish soda bread, if that’s on your bucket list.
  • The Garryvoe, in a spectacular spot in Ballycotton, just a short walk from the coast and surrounded by green fields and expansive views, is a family-run hotel with 85 rooms and suites. The reception and public rooms are elegant spaces with beautiful antiques and roaring fires, while the rooms and suites are contemporary and comfortable — the best ones have views over the five miles of golden sand of Garryvoe Beach.
  • Casey’s of Baltimore is a traditional seafood restaurant and pub with 14 rooms and suites, in a fantastic spot with views of the coast. Great for fishermen and sailors too, our Gurus are also calling this one of the best places to stay in County Cork for foodies.

For a beach hotel

  • Dunmore House is a white building in a spectacular spot, right on the edge of a low cliff overlooking the ocean. Almost every room in the hotel has a sea view, and every one of the 30 bedrooms and suites does — just not all the bathrooms. The decor is contemporary and muted, with simple, pale wood furniture and soft hues, and the best rooms have private terraces. Dunmore House has its own golf course, as well as being close to a number of sandy beaches and coves, and the hotel has horses too, and a stable in case you want to bring your own!
  • The Bayview Hotel is an elegant, cliffside hotel that could easily slot into several of our categories, including the best value hotels in County Cork, the most romantic, and the best hotel escapes, but because of its location, on an incredibly picturesque peninsula, we’re including it in the coastal category. There are just 35 rooms and suites, arranged within an elegant, white low-rise building that has the look of a grand house about it. The important thing is that there are lots of windows! Inside are smart rooms decorated in a traditional style, and a formal restaurant that specialises in local produce.

The Most Romantic Hotels in County Cork

  • The Castle, near Skibbereen, is an impressive, family-owned castle in a spectacular spot overlooking Castletownshend Harbour. This is an elegant, traditionally decorated hotel, with oak panelling, heavy antique furnishings, four-posters in the best of the 11 rooms and suites, and heavy fabrics. It’s luxurious and a good size, with an elegant breakfast room.
  • Glenlohane is a traditional, pretty, three room B&B close to Mallow, set on a bucolic country estate. With only three rooms there’s a feeling of peace and seclusion, with log fires to curl up beside and welcoming hosts to help you get the most out of your visit.
  • The Imperial Hotel in Cork is elegant and central, with 125 contemporary rooms and suites upstairs and a collection of glamorous dining and socialising rooms downstairs. There’s a fine dining restaurant, tea rooms, and a tapas bar, plus a spa that really spoils. This is the sort of hotel that gives you the feeling of really being treated and looked after.

For Families

  • If it’s a family escape to the country you’re looking for try Castlemartyr Resort, a luxurious estate east of Cork, with 220 acres of sprawling grounds that include an 18 hole golf course. Inside are 103 spacious rooms and suites, with some great family options, plus a spa with ten treatment rooms, and a choice bars and restaurants onsite.
  • Liss Ard House and Lodge is one of the best places to stay in County Cork if you want a rural hideaway that's both luxurious and family friendly. Here you'll find contemporary rooms, superb, slow-food cuisine and countless activities, including a kids club in the summer, to keep everyone happy. The accommodation is split between three different locations, the Country House, the Gardens Mews or the Lake Lodge, so no-one has to worry about intruding on the peace and tranquilly of others.

County Cork’s Best B&Bs

  • Perryville House in Kinsale is a charming townhouse B&B, with a wonderful facade, complete with wrought iron balconies and pillars. Inside are 26 rooms, some with mahogany four-poster beds, and all with beautiful antiques, beautiful bathrooms and large windows. But it’s not too fussy for families, and the charming tearooms and gardens are perfect for kids, as is the location, close to the marina, the port and the pretty town centre.
  • Knockeven House is in Cobh, which is on the coast just outside Cork city. It’s a heritage property, with just five spacious rooms, all with nice details like Victorian cornice ceilings and fireplaces. The public areas are very elegant, with more fireplaces, antiques and a grand staircase.
  • For a quirky country escape try the Botanical B&B in Glangarriff, a four bedroom B&B in a secluded spot surrounded by idyllic countryside. The decor gives a feeling of rural chic, with warm, cosy communal areas with beamed ceilings and roaring fires. They serve a superb breakfast of local produce.

Prefer an Apartment or Holiday Cottage?

  • If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or self-catering option we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Visitors can fly into Cork International Airport, 3 miles south of Cork city centre. From the airport, you can reach the city centre by bus, arriving at Parnell Place Bus Station. The service runs every half an hour between 5am until midnight.
  • If you’re thinking about hiring a car we recommend checking what our online partners, Rentalcars have to offer.
  • It's best to visit Cork in the summer months, with July (the hottest month) experiencing an average temperature of 16°C and also being the month of the least rainfall. However, this is peak season and so expect there to be more tourists than if you were visiting at another time of the year. Be sure to book ahead as the best places to stay in Cork will get filled up pretty quickly!

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in County Cork

  • Hotel Isaacs Cork 47 rooms from £77

    Foodies  -  The multi-award winning Greene's restaurant is the real draw serving up modern Irish cuisine
    Local exploring  -  A boutique base in the heart of Cork's theatre district
    Local markets  -  Make a stop at the English Market, Ireland's most famous covered food market
    Sights nearby  -  Visit one (or both) of the Gothic cathedrals in the city

    Originally an Edwardian tobacco factory, now a boutique hotel, set in the heart of Cork. A collection of rooms and apartments mix contemporary and traditional styles resulting in a clean and simple aesthetic. The multi-award-winning restaurant Greene's is the real draw and worthy of a visit alone. See More

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  • The Garryvoe Ballycotton, County Cork 85 rooms from £81

    Country Escape  -  With a beach within walking distance and plenty of beautiful countryside to explore this is the perfect rural escape
    On the beach  -  Located directly in front of Garryvoe Beach, a five mile stretch of golden sand!
    Local markets  -  Sample local produce at the Midlteon Farmers’ Market
    Great walks  -  Head out on long blustery walks along the coast

    A family-run hotel boasting a spectacular location on the coast in County Cork. Reception rooms are grand and traditional complete with antiques and roaring fires. The innovative restaurant turns-out impeccable dishes; while rooms are contemporary and indulgent. Superb. See More

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  • Bayview Hotel Cork, County Cork 35 rooms from £84

    Country Escape  -  With excellent walking opportunities, lovely sea views, and hearty cuisine this is ideal for a rural break
    Local markets  -  Head to the Courtyard Craft & Exhibition Centre to shop for local artworks and crafts
    Cooking classes  -  Take a cookery course at the renowned Ballymaloe Cooking School
    Great walks  -  Enjoy long blustery walks along the coastline

    An elegant cliffside hotel set on a picturesque peninsula. Smart rooms are traditionally dressed with antiques, soft hues and large windows to enjoy the superb views. The formal restaurant uses local produce in innovative gourmet dishes and there's a traditional bar too. A luxury coastal stay. See More

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  • The Montenotte Cork 126 rooms from £100

    City Style  -  An uber chic hotel complete with trendy bar and harbour views.
    Sights nearby  -  Make a trip to the medieval Blarney Castle located just outside Cork.
    Local markets  -  Visit the vibrant covered English Market.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor pool

    A contemporary harbour side property offering both style and luxury. Individually designed rooms feature floor to ceiling windows, pops of colour coming from the soft furnishings and sink-into beds. The glamorous Panorama Bistro and Terrace offers superlative cuisine specialising in seafood. See More

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  • Liss Ard House & Lodge Skibbereen, County Cork 25 rooms from £95

    Child friendly  -  Liss Ard has extensive family facilities, including qualified child minders
    Fishing  -  The estate includes Lough Abisdealy and boats can be provided
    Country Escape
    Great walks  -  Woodland and riverside walks on the doorstep
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith

    With luxury accommodation split amongst three different locations you can choose Country House, Garden Mews or Lake Lodge. Rooms are contemporary and sleek, and Liss Ard is very family friendly with numerous activities on site. Cuisine is governed by "slow food" rules. Perfect for a country escape. See More

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  • The River Lee Hotel Cork, County Cork 182 rooms from £95

    Sights nearby  -  Situated right in the centre of Cork, just 10 mins walk from the Opera House
    Views  -  All rooms have great views either over Cork or the River Lee
    Swimming Pool  -  20 metre indoor heated pool and hot tub
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    Large contemporary yet welcoming hotel in the centre of Cork that works for both leisure and business travellers. Spacious rooms are tastefully decorated and many boast stunning views over the River Lee from large picture windows. Contemporary bistro, plus inhouse spa with fitness centre & 20m pool. See More

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  • Knockeven House Cobh, County Cork 5 rooms from £95

    Romantic Break  -  With sumptumous fabrics, a quiet location and attentive hosts, this hotel is perfect for a couples' weekend away
    Hideaway  -  Set just outside of the pretty coastal town of Cobh, this B&B is a great choice for an opulent hideaway holiday
    Local exploring  -  Located close to the coast and the charming town of Cobh, there is plenty to explore local to this hotel
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby historic coastal town of Cobh, the last port of call of the Titanic
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    This period B&B is tucked away just outside of the Irish coastal town of Cobh. Inside, there are pretty heritage details, from the open hearth to the Victorian cornice ceilings. A grand staircase leads to spacious guestrooms with hand-selected antiques, perfect for a romantic getaway. See More

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  • The Castle NR SKIBBEREEN, County Cork 11 rooms from £114

    Total relaxation  -  A luxury property set in a tranquil spot overlooking the peaceful waterfront of Castletownshend harbour.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the fascinating Knockdrum Stone Fort.
    Great walks  -  Take long walks along the coastal paths.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.

    An impressive family owned castle boasting a spectacular location overlooking Castletownshend harbour. Elegant rooms are traditional in style with heavy antique furniture - the best have four posters - rich hues and oak panelling. A relaxing spot to completely unwind. See More

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  • The Imperial Hotel Cork 125 rooms from £124

    City Style  -  A glamorous city centre property complete with atmospheric bar and restaurant and spoiling spa.
    Local markets  -  Sample local produce at the indoor English Market.
    Traditional
    Opulent

    An elegant hotel located in the heart of Cork. Spacious rooms are contemporary in style standing in contrast with the opulent rooms downstairs. A handful of superlative dining options offer everything from fine-dining to tapas. The spa is utterly spoiling and worthy of a visit alone. See More

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  • Perryville House Kinsale 26 rooms from £113

    Families  -  With a charming tearoom and garden, insightful history walks, colourful marina and cycling routes
    Fishing  -  Equipment rental from Mylie Murphy's
    Great walks  -  Dermot Ryan's Heritage Town Walks
    Sights nearby  -  Desmond Castle

    Charming townhouse B&B. Bedrooms feature mahogany four-poster beds and furniture, elegant bathrooms and French windows. Tearoom serving breakfast and afternoon snacks. Walking distance from the port and cobbled town. See More

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  • The Botanical B&B Glengarriff, County Cork 4 rooms from £120

    Groups  -  With just four bedrooms this is the perfect property to rent out in its entirety with friends
    Country Escape  -  A secluded spot in a beautiful rural setting. An ideal choice for a countryside getaway
    Great walks  -  Take long scenic walks starting straight from the property's front door
    Restrictions on children  -  Adult only

    A charming cottage hidden away in idyllic countryside. Offering just four rooms which have been immaculately styled to create a rural chic feel. Communal areas are warm and cosy with roaring fires and beamed ceilings. Superb breakfasts are served using local produce. A quirky country escape. See More

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  • Dunmore House Co. Cork, County Cork 30 rooms from £121

    Riding  -  Ride along the beach on one of the hotel's horses. There's also stable space for those who want to bring their own horse
    Active Holiday  -  Situated on the coast and boasting its own golf course this is a perfect escape for those who like to keep active
    Golf  -  Play a round on the hotel's own 9-hole course
    On the beach  -  Situated on the shores of Clonakilty Bay with numerous coves and beaches close by.
    Recommended by  -  Great Small Hotels

    A luxurious hotel offering a spectacular location on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Bright contemporary rooms are decorated with soft hues and simple light wood furniture; the best have private terraces. Boasting its own golf course and a wide range of outdoor pursuits. A superb country escape. See More

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  • Casey's of Baltimore Co. Cork, County Cork 14 rooms from £126

    Foodies  -  The restaurant serves superb seafood with locally caught produce while the traditional pub offers up its own brewed beer
    Local exploring  -  A charming base from which to explore West Cork
    Fishing  -  Sea fishing is available nearby
    Sailing  -  Hire a yacht and set out to sea

    An enticing combination of fresh contemporary accommodation and a traditional seafood restaurant and pub. Have a locally brewed beer beside a crackling fire before retreating to your spacious rooms complete with spectacular coastal views. The perfect spot to explore West Cork from. See More

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  • Castlemartyr Resort County Cork 103 rooms from £136

    Country Escape  -  A sprawling estate offering luxury accommodation and outdoor pursuits abound. An indulgent rural escape
    Golf  -  Play a round on the property's own Ron Kirby designed 18-hole links style course
    Great walks  -  Take a walk along one of the three marked trails (the hotel's resident dogs will happily accompany guests)
    Spa  -  There are 10 treatment rooms and a couples's suite, plus vitality lounge, pool, sauna....

    A luxury family-friendly offering set within 220 acres of spectacular countryside in County Cork. Spacious rooms are traditionally styled and feature indulgent marble bathrooms complete with White Company products. A spoiling spa, golf course and choice of restaurants complete the picture. See More

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  • Hayfield Manor Cork, County Cork 88 rooms from £138

    Restaurant  -  Fine dining in Orchids Restaurant plus Perrotts Garden Bsitro for more casual meals
    Sights nearby  -  Close to all of Cork's attractions including the University and Shandon Chruch.
    Spa  -  Wide selection of Elemis treatments available at the Beautique Spa
    Local markets  -  Cork's famous English Market is only 1.5km away
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels, Michelin Travel, CN Traveller

    Hayfield Manor has all of the elegance of a country house hotel in its own secluded grounds yet it is only minutes from Cork city centre. Stylish & luxurious bedrooms and suites, plus gourmet dining, spa and gym. Family friendly too. An indulgent spot from which to explore County Cork. See More

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  • Longueville House County Cork 20 rooms from £195

    Country Escape  -  A glorious rural property complete with log fires, hearty cuisine and picturesque countryside for long walks.
    Great walks  -  Find miles of scenic trails waiting to be explored.
    Fishing  -  Fly fish on the hotel's private beats.
    Full of character

    A family-run country estate perfectly offering both old fashioned luxury and a laid-back friendly atmosphere. Traditional rooms feature large sash windows, chintz fabrics and antique furniture. An exemplary restaurant follows the farm-to-fork ethos. The perfect rural escape. See More

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  • Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa West Cork, County Cork 67 rooms from £196

    Spa breaks  -  A spoiling spa set in an outstanding location amidst the natural beauty of West Cork.
    On the beach  -  Overlooking the Atlantic and a gorgeous blue flag sandy beach on Clonakilty Bay
    Surfing  -  Nearby Inchydoney Beach has perfect conditions for surfing.
    Great walks  -  Embark on long walks along the rugged coastline.

    A luxury hotel and spa boasting a spectacular location set on the rugged and beautiful coastline of West Cork. Plush rooms are contemporary in style and boast enormous floor to ceiling windows to take in the fabulous views. The third floor restaurant is exceptional and spa utterly spoiling. See More

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  • Ballyvolane House Co. Cork, County Cork 6 rooms from £213

    Country Escape  -  A traditional country house set in beautiful grounds.
    Great walks  -  Embark on scenic walks through the rugged countryside starting straight from the front door.
    Cooking classes  -  Take a class at the famed Ballymaloe Cookery School.
    Fishing  -  Spend a day Salmon fishing on the River Blackwater.

    Long run as a country house hotel the experience is clear. Superlative and warm service, old-world style and delicious laid-back dining. Find a host of country pursuits to keep all entertained in the surrounding area. The ideal rural escape. See More

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  • Ballymaloe House Midleton, County Cork 29 rooms from £187

    Country Escape  -  A country house that has it all - excellent food, cosy lounges, pretty surrounds and numerous activities.
    Cooking classes  -  Learn to make Irish soda bread with the property's baker.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    A beautiful country house widely known for its professional cookery school. Offering an unsurprisingly good restaurant and numerous on sight activities including golf, tennis and a heated outdoor pool. The interiors are traditional without being fussy. The perfect country escape. See More

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  • Glenlohane County Cork 3 rooms from £204

    Country Escape  -  Set on a bucolic country estate in Ireland's scenic southwest, book this hotel the next time you need to escape the city
    Romantic Break  -  With well-appointed rooms and a peaceful, secluded location, this hotel is perfect for a romantic weekend away
    Local exploring  -  There are endless excellent day trips to do close to this B&B; ask your hosts for recommendations
    Great walks  -  Explore the country estate where the B&B is located on a long walk; head to the stables and see the farm animals
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    Traditional, pretty, private, country house B&B, set in scenic parkland and in the heart of County Cork is a real home from home; curl up by the log fire after a day out, plan your next adventure with the owners in the kitchen by the aga, relax, it's your home. See More

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