24 hours in Cork: A city full of hidden gems and literal sweet surprises

Often overlooked for weekend breaks and last minutes getaways, Cork City can fall into the background when the time to book a trip arrives despite it being full of places to explore.

Sitting on the River Lee and full of winding narrow streets with hidden gems around every corner, the place is buzzing with food, culture and art just waiting to be discovered by the weekend traveller.

Recently my sister and I hopped onto a train and found ourselves in rebel county and it didn’t disappoint from the get-go. We stayed in the Maldron Hotel in South Mall and it was everything we could have wanted and more.

Clean, open and chic are the only words that can be used to describe this place. The foyer was open and bright and the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming if they tried – and that was all before we even made it up to our room, which was also immaculate.

food, 24 hours in cork: a city full of hidden gems and literal sweet surprises

We received a very warm welcome at the Maldron. Pic: Supplied

We were greeted by the world’s comfiest beds, fresh, white, and bright. Honestly, it took all the motivation in the world to drag me up from it but the tray of welcome pastries left out on the table was a good way to get me going again!

The modern room stuck to a clean-cut grey and white colour scheme with the Maldron’s signature yellow peppered in places, oh and a ridiculously large flat-screen TV was hung on the wall.

When we were finally able to rise from our beds we decided we would try the Grain and Grill Bar and Restaurant at the hotel as we were both tired from our travels and didn’t particularly fancy a walk to find dinner. Luckily, it did not disappoint.

To start my sister had a salad with crispy fried brie which can I just say had the most fantastic crunch, while I tucked into crisp bruschetta with oven-roasted tomatoes that were to die for but the feast wasn’t over yet. After polishing off a delish round of cocktails it was time for the mains.

food, 24 hours in cork: a city full of hidden gems and literal sweet surprises

Maldron Hotel, Cork. Pic: Supplied

I kept it classic choosing a pepperoni pizza with a thin base that was absolutely smothered in cheese while my sister decided to be adventurous and devoured the Korean-style chicken burger that was about the size of her head.

Feeling very full but very satisfied we retired to our room for the night to prepare for a long day of exploring the city. The next day we decided to start things off the right way, with pastries. With a goodnight’s sleep behind us we went trotting around the town and found our way to Cameron bakery.

When I tell you the lemon-raspberry tarts we bought were a slice of heaven I mean it. Silky, sweet and with a pastry shell good enough to make Paul Hollywood cry we were ready for a day of shopping.

food, 24 hours in cork: a city full of hidden gems and literal sweet surprises

A quick breakfast on the go before hitting the shops Pic: Supplied

Our first stop was probably one of the most chaotic yet beautiful bookshops I’ve ever been to, Vibes and Scribes. It was literally floor-to-ceiling books, endless shelves, and tables of paperbacks as far as the eye could see.

Of course, I had to grab a novel for myself but as I was approaching the till I noticed something interesting, a display of novels with a sign that read ‘a date with a book.’

These were books wrapped up in paper with just the first line of the story on the front. Obviously, I had to get one as they were just a fiver. I chose the one with the words ‘in the bathroom Stella was getting ready for bed’ as it caught my attention. No spoilers but it’s pretty good so far.

food, 24 hours in cork: a city full of hidden gems and literal sweet surprises

A book loves Dreams! Inside Vibes and Scribes. Pic: Facebook

The next stop on the list was Casa Craft for a bit of clothes shopping. Located near the iconic English market, this place was like a hippy paradise, the smell of incense filled the shop, along with beaded jewellery, linen clothes, and woven hoodies.

I bought myself a pair of wide-leg trousers and my sister got a hoodie. It’s definitely worth the visit, all the clothes are vibrant, handcrafted, and ethically made so you can shop guilt-free.

Keeping with our sustainable theme we visited Cork Rooftop Farm which is not, in fact, a farm on top of a building but a greengrocers and plant shop. The shop was very green in all senses of the word from the eco-conscious theme to the hundreds of plants lining the aisles. It also had this really cool section where you can fill up jars you bring from home with loose produce like flour and pasta in a bid to cut down on plastic waste.

food, 24 hours in cork: a city full of hidden gems and literal sweet surprises

Welcome to the jungle that is Cork Rooftop Farm. Pic: Facebook

After all this walking around we needed to sit and eat. We settled down for dinner at Bocelli’s, an Italian restaurant and wine bar. Walking in the place had such a cozy vibe with its soft yellow light and cream leather seating.

I had the mushroom risotto and oh my god I’m still thinking of it every day. It was rich and creamy and honestly, I was just short of licking the plate. My sister had the tagliatelle prestige which again was a winner with its thick pasta and mild spice, it’s safe to say we were very happy customers.

food, 24 hours in cork: a city full of hidden gems and literal sweet surprises

Tucking into risotto at Bocelli restaurant Pic: Supplied

By now it was time for us to pack our bags and make our journey home, so after receiving a lovely farewell from the staff at the Maldron we were on our way.

This is just a taste of what Cork has to offer, there is so much more to do and see but just remember when you’re thinking of going on a break away why not consider the rebel county?

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