One thing that we all rediscovered this year was the magic of an Irish staycation. We, as a nation, travelled the length and breadth of our small isle, from walking the magnificent coasts and seeing the incredible scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way to sampling all the best food, drink and culture that Ireland’s Ancient East has to offer. We shook off our lockdown shackles with glee and roamed far and wide this summer, making the most of our newly appreciated freedom.
And now we’re back into routine.
Don’t get us wrong – it feels great to be back doing all the things we’ve missed.But all too soon, we find ourselves back in the rut of routine. What’s happened to the excitement of saying ‘well why not, after the year we’ve all had?’ or of just deciding to skite off and enjoy all the amazing tourism spots our country has to offer at the drop of a hat?
I miss the spontaneity of this summer, of treating ourselves and indulging ourselves in experiences after a year of sitting at hoe and growing stale from lack of fun and variety. So when my partner and I decided to shake up our drab September routine and escape for the weekend somewhere indulgent, romantic and fun, the Cosmo package with The Imperial Hotel seemed like the perfect option for those looking to inject a little luxury in their adventuring around our fair isle.
The Cosmo package was definitely the best option for us as a couple, as we love exploring new cities and finding cute and quirky local spots for amazing food and unique experiences. It includes a trip to Blackrock Castle and Observatory just outside the city, cocktails back in the hotel bar along with dinner for two in Thyme, two night’s accommodation and breakfast, so you’re really getting an experience all wrapped up in the one package.
We arrived in the ever-charming and vibrant Cork city and dropped our bags off with the super accommodating staff before being whisked off to experience ‘Cosmos at the Castle’, a seriously cool adventure where we were able to tour through space, enjoy theories on alien life, admire the night sky together in the planetarium and indulge our inner child and play on all the interactive activities they had. It was a really fun way to start off the trip and a very unique experience that we haven’t come across anywhere else.
We then indulged in a cocktail or two at the stunning and quirky ‘Sketch’ cocktail bar where we relaxed before dinner and felt totally glam with my ‘Corkonian Rum Pornstar Mojito’ (to die for) and his ‘Thyme Whiskey Sour’ – a perfect balance of sweet and sour. The wait staff were so lovely and helpful and had us try their ‘Champagne Flight’, which is a sample of three of their champagnes, so we really felt we were celebrating us and our time away together.
We then had dinner scheduled in Thyme at Seventy Six on the Mall and the menu was hugely varied and exquisitely selected, with everything a seafood lover, meat eater and vegetarian could ask for. Their BBQ Glazed Pork Ribs starter gets a special shout out, as does the O’Farrell’s of Middleton Lamb Rack which I had for my main course. Succulent, perfectly cooked and just an overall indulgent dining experience, Thyme is a must for every foodie visiting Cork. The restaurant itself has a real 1920s feel to it and a gorgeous intimate atmosphere that’s perfect for a romantic getaway.
Our room was exactly what you’d hope for and more for a glam getaway, with a well-stocked bathroom, huge bed and everything was spotless. We set about exploring the city the next day, stopping off at all of Cork’s best spots – Crawford Gallery, the English Market, ringing the Shandon Bells, going for lunch in Frannciscan Well Brewery and Pizzeria which was a particular highlight, and spent the night out in Cork’s vibrant and varied nightlife where you’ll never be short of things to do and places to go. Some of our favourite spots include Mutton Lane Pub, The Old Town Whiskey Bodega, Market Lane Restaurant and Bocelli’s Wine Bar.
Breakfast was also included in the package, so we were treated to the hotel’s luxurious ‘birdcage breakfast’ each morning, which included a gorgeous ‘afternoon tea-esque’ breakfast, full of delicious mini pastries, fresh fruit and yoghurt, which was a super charming way to start off the day.
The hotel is elegant but relaxed, meaning you get all the glamour of an upscale hotel without the fussiness that makes you feel on edge. Be sure to try the spa when you’re there but call well ahead to be sure to get a booking! All the staff were so friendly and accommodating, which we really appreciated and we couldn’t recommend it enough as a couple’s romantic getaway spot.