Costa del Carrigaline: Making use of West Cork's gateway on your next staycation stop
Welcome to staycation city. Population: you.
This year, the vast majority of us won't be heading away for our usual abroad getaways filled with sun, sun and well, sun.
But as we are all aware, Ireland remains an incredibly decent shout when it comes to holidaying - so why not stick this recommendation down on your potential staycation list for what's left of the summer?
15 or so minutes out of Cork city, Carrigaline is a quiet enough town with a good bit to do. Known as the gateway to the stunning scenes of West Cork, the spot has unsurprisingly got its own array of draws.
Carrigaline Court Hotel is very much the same, with a series of family-friendly (and couple-friendly, if you're any way that inclined) activities nearby to sink your teeth into. Perfect for those embarking on their road trip to the rebel county this summer.
The hotel itself recently underwent a considerable refurbishment - and it shows. Enter what appears as a quaint enough 4 star establishment in the heart of the town and you'll be met with a stylish reception area and contemporary rooms, plush enough to make you not want to leave them at all.
Carrigaline Court Hotel was, like the rest of the country, closed to the public for three months this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Its reopening strategy included all the usual suspects: perspex glass, hand sanitiser stations, enhanced cleaning procedures, and social distancing measures - all of which thankfully do little to curb guests' enjoyment.
While there is no longer the classic breakfast buffet to tuck into (sob), residents are still permitted to dine in the delectable restaurant and bar, order room service, and avail of the hotel's leisure centre (with pre-booking, obviously).
Yes, there is a pool. And yes, you can swim in it (the jacuzzi and saunas are currently out of action due to recently implemented Covid-19 restrictions, but sure listen, you can't have it all).
The hotel's staff are probably about as helpful as you could get. Need a wine recommendation? Not a problem. Require some local dining inspiration? No bother.
In desperate need of some more crackers to pair with the kilo of chutney and Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese you're planning to consume in your room after basking in the August sun in the beer garden? They got you.
The above may very well have been a scenario that this author engaged in during her stay at Carrigaline Court, which only made the entirely experience that bit more enjoyable.
The icing on the cake, if you will. Or the cheese on the cracker. Whichever.
For the more adventurous among us, Carrigaline (Cork in general, really) and its surrounding area is home to the aforementioned series of delightful outdoor activities.
We're talking Fota Wildlife Park, we're talking Spike Island, we're even talking Zipit Farran Wood if you're feeling courageous.
For the less audacious among us, there's also Garretstown beach nearby, as well as Crosshaven Greenway cycle path - all a mere 30 minutes minutes drive from the hotel, give or take.
To avail of these activities you will need to make sure you're driving (or having somebody else drive you) on your trip. But if you do end up getting the bus or train into Cork city, make sure you make time to chill on the newly pedestrianised Princes Street for an afternoon of outdoor food and drinks.
Tedo Tapas Bar is a shout, you heard it here first.
A stay at Carrigaline Court Hotel starts at €99 per room, with short break packages including dinner, bed & breakfast starting from €149.
Not a bad shout if you're looking to get out of the city for a bit, see some of the countryside, and not entirely break the bank.
(*Carrigaline Court Hotel provided Her with one nights' stay in exchange for an honest review.)