Blas na hÉireann 2019 entries now open – the all-island food awards that  recognise the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people behind them

Blas na hÉireann 2019 entries now open – the all-island food awards that recognise the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people behind them

It’s the 12th year of Blas na hÉireann, the Irish Food Awards, the largest blind-tasted food awards on the island of Ireland, designed to recognise and celebrate the very best Irish food and drink. Entries are now open to producers across all 44 categories with the early bird discounted rate for entries running until 30th April. Entries will finally close on June 15th.

Winners are always the competition’s best ambassadors, something to which over a decade’s worth of small producers, farmers, growers, bakers and artisan food makers who have won a Blas award and proudly put the winner’s sticker on their product can attest. Cork based producer, Rob Horgan of Velo Coffee said, “Since winning at Blas, Velo Tandem is now sought after as award-winning coffee. We were inundated with people looking for it when we were waiting for our new packaging to arrive. Having independent verification of the quality of our product is invaluable to us as a small producer.”

Research has shown that the Blas accreditation has the highest recognition among Irish consumers and having the award logo on products encourages shoppers to buy – it is a recognised guarantee of a top quality Irish product.

A survey of over 100 past winners showed that 81% had seen an increase in sales after displaying the Blas na hÉireann sticker with 28% of those surveyed saying that they saw an increase in sales of over 20%. In the survey, many winners noted the credibility that the awards gave to their products with one saying, “Tourists and overseas visitors recognise the value of a prestigious recognised national award and this has increased sales significantly online and in high profile visitor locations throughout Ireland and abroad.” Another winner surveyed found that a Blas award helped to build relationships with their customers, “I have found that the Blas Award has been great for communicating with my customers in the shop. They really recognise the value of the award and have faith in it and the other products which I stock which have the award logo on their packaging.”

“Blas na hÉireann awards have a quantifiable impact on any winner’s bottom line,” says Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann, “whether it’s raising the profile of a producer’s product, or getting the attention of chefs, retailers or the general food-loving public. The independent endorsement of a Blas award is a recognised quality guarantee that can help get a product onto the shelves of a particular retailer or onto a restaurant menu. It’s also always a huge boost for an individual producer, an appreciation for all their hard work and a moment to savour their achievements in a busy and often pressurised working life. The Blas na hÉireann awards event in Dingle each year has become an unmissable shop window for the general public, media and trade to meet, discover and appreciate some of the country’s best producers but, even more importantly, it has become an opportunity for this authentic Irish food community to come together and celebrate their successes.”

These are exceptionally rigorously-judged awards, as Blas na hÉireann use an innovative blind-tasting judging system developed by Blas with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen that is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide. Products entered are blind-tasted, meaning that all packaging and identifying features are removed from products before being presented for judging, creating a level playing field for products from both large and small producers. Judges come from a range of food backgrounds from chefs to restaurateurs, academics, journalists, authors, food champions, caterers and enthusiastic home cooks.

The founding mission of Blas – establishing quality benchmarks for Irish produce on a level playing field – is strictly adhered to and measurably applied.

“In this our 12th year of the Blas na hÉireann awards, our sector is more innovative and exciting than ever,” says Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann. “Our challenge is to assist authentic small producers to tell their stories by marking them out as special, and worth exploring. Winning a Blas award has been shown to work for our previous winners in bringing them to the attention of food-lovers all over the country and we are looking forward to another exceptional year for Blas na hÉireann 2019.”

Entries for Blas na hÉireann 2019 received online before the 30th of April are at the discounted early bird fee of €60 per entry (ex VAT). The full entry fee, applicable from 1st May to 15th June is €75 per entry (ex VAT).

New investment scheme to benefit up to 62 towns

New investment scheme to benefit up to 62 towns

Fáilte Ireland will invest €15.5million through the local authorities to boost the attractiveness and tourism appeal of up to 62 towns across the country.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D., made the announcement today at an event in Dublin where officials from all local authorities have gathered to be briefed on the new investment scheme.

The Fáilte Ireland scheme is part of the National Tourism Development Authority’s work to drive a better regional spread of overseas and domestic visitors and spend.

Through the scheme, every local authority in the country will be able to bid for funding of between €250,000 and €500,000 to develop up to two towns in their area which have the potential to become a ‘destination town’ for tourists.

With Fáilte Ireland research consistently showing that attractive towns and cities are key motivators for overseas holidaymakers coming to Ireland, the new scheme will provide funding to Councils to enhance public spaces such as squares, streetscapes and markets in a way that will engage tourists and enhance their experience in key towns.

This could include spaces for food and craft markets, areas for town centre events, public art displays as well as orientation and signage to help visitors explore a town’s local heritage.

The ‘destination towns’ will need to demonstrate their capacity and appeal to attract more international visitors to stay overnight – a key driver of spend. To be successful in their funding submissions, Councils will be expected to identify towns that have:

  • At least one visitor attraction of scale that can drive tourism demand.
  • A range of things to see and do for two days – A town that hopes to attract overnight visitors needs to offer a variety of attractions, activities and entertainment options which can keep tourists engaged for more than 11 hours a day, including three hours in the evening.
  • A selection of accommodation – Towns will need accommodation stock of at least 300 beds to become a seasonal destination town (and 1,000 beds to operate as a year-round destination) or be a town that has the potential to grow its bedstock in the future.
  • A range of food offerings to meet the visitor needs including a range of options for light snacks, tea/coffee, lunch and dinner.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D., said:
“I’m delighted to unveil Fáilte Ireland’s new investment scheme, which will provide a significant boost for towns across the country with untapped tourism potential. This scheme is a great opportunity for towns which aren’t fully active in the tourism industry to look at how their local economy can benefit from increased tourism activity as well as the physical development the scheme will bring. I am pleased to see Fáilte Ireland working closely with local communities, councils and businesses to create a better regional spread of visitors and revenue, and today’s funding announcement marks a real step-change in the way we look at towns as drivers of tourism.”

In order to support communities and Local Authorities with their applications, Fáilte Ireland has established Development Guidelines for Tourism Destination Towns to provide a framework for applications and set out the key drivers of what makes a town appealing to the international tourist.
These guidelines are intended as a practical aid to Local Authorities, Chambers of Commerce, LEADER Programme Local Action Groups and other business and community groups who consider their town to either be a tourism destination town or have the potential to develop as one. They can also be used by smaller towns and villages with the potential to further develop as day trip destinations.

Fáilte Ireland’s CEO Paul Kelly said:
“The importance of tourism as an economic driver and source of employment cannot be underestimated. It is a unique industry in terms of its ability to spur local job creation and sustain rural communities. That is why, at Fáilte Ireland, everything we do is underpinned by two strategic pillars – spreading tourism across a wider geography and creating a broader tourism season so businesses can remain open for longer. We look for every opportunity to expand the number of appealing destinations that offer compelling visitor experiences with the potential to drive visitors across the regions.  Our new investment scheme will provide local authorities with a springboard to develop towns with untapped potential from transit zones to destinations where visitors want to stay longer and experience local culture.”

The scheme will officially open in April for applications from Local Authorities and will close in September. Fáilte Ireland’s regional teams will work with each Local Authority to identify towns in every county which have the potential to grow their tourism economy. They will then assess the development need using the Destination Town Framework unveiled today, as well as the town’s potential to drive a greater regional and seasonal spread of tourism.

Welcoming the scheme, Ann Doherty, Chair of the County and City Management Association EECC Committee added:
“The concept behind Destination Towns goes to the heart of what the local authorities are about: making great places to live, work and visit. The initiative provides a really practical focus to help us to plan strategically for the infrastructure, attractions and public realm improvements that will appeal to visitors and unlock or enhance our tourism offering, including in collaboration with local business and communities.”

2019 Saint Patrick’s Day Ring of Cork Parades

2019 Saint Patrick’s Day Ring of Cork Parades

Here are some of the photos from the various Saint Patrick’s Day parades in the Ring of Cork today. Share your Patrick’s Day Parade photos with #ringofcork on Instagram or Facebook


The town of Ballincollig celebrated their 10 year parade today.



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Billy Murphy made an appearance in Carrigtwohill at the Parade today, he wasn’t on the bus however.


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Happy #StPatricksday 2019 from #Carrigtwohill #Cork.

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Easter fun for all the family at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork

Easter fun for all the family at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork

Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork is a warm and inviting family destination on the doorstep of Cork city, with two contemporary wings and modern facilities, this stylish hotel offers the ultimate escape from the daily chores this Easter, giving families the perfect setting to enjoy some precious time together.

On an Easter Family Getaway at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork, the fun starts from the moment you check in. Your little ones are greeted with their very own Global Explorers Entertainment Pack, with colouring books, treats and games to keep them entertained throughout their stay. As part of the Easter Family Getaway, visit the eco-friendly Tír na Sí farm in Watergrasshill, just 15 minutes from the hotel, where the little ones can follow the nature trails and discover the secret fairy woodland, say hello to the farm animals or enjoy a pony and trap ride – adventures that will be remembered for years to come.

Available from the 15th to the 26th of April 2019 from €299 per adult, the Easter Family Getaway includes a 2-night stay in an interconnecting family room, Super Buffet breakfast for all on both mornings and a family pass to Tír na Sí, with an Easter egg hunt on the lawns of Ditchley House on Easter Sunday, Blu Birds Kids Club, Easter-themed arts and crafts, movie nights and much more, make the little ones’ Easter extra special with an Easter Family Getaway at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork.

Easter Radisson Blu Hotel | | Ring of Cork

Easter Radisson Blu Hotel | | Ring of Cork

Easter Radisson Blu Hotel | | Ring of Cork

New Cork air spectacular expected to attract 100,000 spectators

New Cork air spectacular expected to attract 100,000 spectators

Plans for a massive air show over Cork Harbour, featuring jet displays and wing walkers, have been unveiled.

Organisers of next summer’s inaugural Cobh Air Spectacular believe the high-flying entertainment over one of the world’s great harbours could attract up to 100,000 spectators.

Cobh Air Spectacular | | Ring of Cork

Several aircraft, including the Aero Superbatics Wing Walkers and the Strikemasters jet display teams, have already signed up for the display on July 12, 2020.

The Strikemaster Jet pair, two single-engine vintage military tactical jets which are now used widely as military training jets, are a regular and popular feature at airshows across the UK, and have performed aerobatics at Foynes and at Dublin’s SkyFest.

Some of Ireland’s leading aerobatic pilots, including David Bruton, in his SU-26, and the ‘flying dentist’, Eddie Goggins, a European aerobatics champion in his CAP 232, will show off their skills, with plans for historical aircraft flypasts and displays from the Irish Coastguard and RNLI also in the pipeline.

The harbour setting will provide spectacular vantage points and the event has been timed to coincide with Cork 300, which celebrates three centuries of activity at the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Event organiser, Captain Rich MacIlwraith, a former commercial airline captain on 737s and 777s, who is now a senior instructor at the Atlantic Flight Training Academy in Cork, said the Cobh Air Spectacular has been years in planning.

Having been involved with airshows around the world, I have always believed that Cork Harbour provides the best natural backdrop for an event of this kind,” he said.

“We have already attracted an amazing line-up, with more announcements to come.

“This event will be unlike anything we have ever seen on the south coast, and marks a huge opportunity to establish Cobh and the lower harbour as a regular venue for a world class airshow”.

The event is being actively supported and facilitated by management at Cork Airport.

“Cork Harbour offers a great natural amphitheatre for an international air show of this nature and as Ireland’s fastest growing airport, we are delighted to play a leading role in facilitating a spectacular of this nature,” airport spokesman, Kevin Cullinane, said.

Mr MacIlwraith said the organising committee will work closely with the local communities involved, as well as Pure Cork, Cobh Tourism and the Cobh and Harbour Chamber as planning intensifies in the months ahead.

And they are also looking to the corporate world with unique sponsorship packages.

‘We will be working with leading companies to offer the very best experience possible of the event, including the opportunity to fly on some of the aircraft that will be travelling to Cork for the event,” Mr MacIlwraith said.

“This is the first time that companies will have had this opportunity in Cork, and we expect a high demand for both our individual and corporate sponsorship packages.”

Original Story by Eoin English Irish Examiner 

Cobh Air Spectacular | | Ring of Cork Cobh Air Spectacular | | Ring of Cork Cobh Air Spectacular | | Ring of Cork

Haulbowline Island Park set to open in May 2019

Haulbowline Island Park set to open in May 2019

Haulbowline Island Park which is set to open in May as the newest park within the Ring of Cork. The site has had a remarkable transformation within Cork Harbour over the last year with the ongoing project that was signed off 8 years ago to . The 22 acre site was once the home of Irish Steel which operated on the site from 1939 until it closed in 2001. The east tip of the island described by the EU as violating the Waste Directive and issued fines over the site which prompted the government to clean up the dump which contained slag and other toxic material.

The Department of Marine and Agriculture set out to fix this eyesore and the cleanup and transformation effort began transforming this once “toxic moonscape” into one of Cork Harbour’s most picturesque sites.

The government have recently committed to continue the cleanup for the remainder of the former Irish Steel site. You can watch the video of the site’s transformation here:

Ballymaloe Awarded World’s Best Trolley of the Year 2019

Ballymaloe Awarded World’s Best Trolley of the Year 2019

In Paris, on Monday 18th February, Ballymaloe House won global recognition as winners of the inaugural food Oscars ‘Trolley of the Year 2019’ award at the World Restaurant Awards. Ballymaloe House and Café Paradiso (in collaboration with Lucy from Gort-na-Nain vegetable farm in Kinsale), brought the only two trophies from these prestigious international food awards home to Ireland. Darina Allen from Ballymaloe Cookery School and Ballymaloe House’s head pastry chef JR Ryall were in Paris to collect the award on behalf of everyone here. Huge congratulations to our sweets team lead by JR Ryall; Anne Healy, Breda Cahill and Hannah Callen and to the front of house staff who bring their sweet delights to our customers.

This ‘Trolley of the Year’ award celebrates those that believe table service should always be in fashion and the late Myrtle Allen began this long-standing personal service when her and her husband Ivan first opened the doors of their family dining room to the public in 1964. The original wooden cart was made in the early 1960s by carpenter Danny Power to Myrtle Allen’s specifications: a top shelf with ledge and another underneath for plates and serving utensils.

Jr, Anne, Breda and Hannah currently are the team who prepare the dessert trolley daily for lunch and dinner at Ballymaloe House. Fresh flowers arrive from our walled garden to decorate their seasonal desserts. These pastry chefs brief the front of house team pre-service on the sweet choices available and where the ingredients have come from. Serving the Ballymaloe dessert trolley is often where Ballymaloe waiting staff begin their training and it is where many of today’s famous chefs began their journey with food, namely our own Rachel Allen.

Our dessert trolley and how it is presented visually and verbally, was always important to Mrs Allen. What came naturally to her, in today’s world remains an important way to bring diners closer to Ballymaloe’s farm to fork ethos. This award is for you Myrtle and all at Ballymaloe House who keep your trolley rolling so sweetly and majestically!

Fern Allen, our manager, and Myrtle and Ivan’s youngest daughter said on receiving news that Ballymaloe House had won this award “We are thrilled with this global award for my mother’s dessert trolley and delighted for JR, the pastry team and the front of house team who continue to keep the dessert trolley at Ballymaloe House up to date, fresh and up to my mother’s high standards”.

The Allen family and everyone at Ballymaloe House is extremely excited about this international recognition, and would like to extend huge thanks to the World Restaurant Awards judging panel. Roll on 2019!

To find out more about the World Restaurant Awards and the Trolley of the Year award click HERE

Jameson Experience Midleton awarded 2019 Gold Excellence Award in Best Visit Category

Jameson Experience Midleton awarded 2019 Gold Excellence Award in Best Visit Category

The Jameson Experience Midleton is celebrating after being awarded A Gold Excellence Award and winning the ‘Best Visit’ category at the CIE Tours International Annual Awards of Excellence which took place in Dublin’s City Hall on Monday evening, 28th January. Now in its 29th year, the annual awards of excellence recognise the best hotels and attractions across Ireland and are based on feedback from over 32,000 customers throughout the year.

The Jameson Experience received a Gold Award on the night, having achieved a customer satisfaction rating of over 96% from CIE Tours International visitors, who said they received an exceptional quality experience and welcome during their visit.

The honours were presented by Vivienne Jupp, Chairman and Elizabeth Crabill, Chief Executive Officer, CIE Tours International. Just 13 overall category winners were awarded a Gold Award on the night.

Ring of Cork launches “Come Explore” campaign on Social Media

Ring of Cork launches “Come Explore” campaign on Social Media

Ring of Cork are pleased to announce this Monday our “Come Explore” campaign over the next year on our social media platforms. Come Explore will run from December 2018, until the end of 2019 showcasing the natural beauty, heritage and scenery around located within the Ring of Cork aimed at attracting visitor footfall to the Ring of Cork area.

To follow our campaign, you can follow our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter

€500,000 for Youghal Eco-Boardwalk Extension

€500,000 for Youghal Eco-Boardwalk Extension

The allocation of €500,000 for the extension of Youghal Eco-Boardwalk has been welcomed by Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton. Funding is being made available to Cork County Council under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme 2018 operated by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

“Today’s funding announcement of €500,000 for the Eco-Boardwalk project is great news for Youghal. This will go towards phase 2 of the Eco-Boardwalk project which has a total cost of €1.25 million. Phase 2 involves the extension of the coastal walking route from Red Barn to Youghal town centre”, said Minister Stanton.

“The grant of €500,000 is the maximum amount available under Measure 3 of the Outdoor Recreation Scheme which focuses on the repair, upgrade or development of large strategic recreational infrastructure projects which aim to improve facilities for local communities and support local tourism. It is fully accessible to all and this extension will mean that there will be a continuous route from Claycastle to Youghal town.

“I would like to congratulate Cork County Council on all the work they have carried out to date on this project. The Eco-Boardwalk was opened in March 2012 and has been hugely successful. Despite damage during winter storms a few years ago, Cork County Council secured additional government funding of €300,000 for extensive repairs which allowed it to reopen after the temporary closure.

“Youghal Eco-Boardwalk has been a huge success since it opened proving very popular with local people and tourists. Youghal has experienced substantial government investment recently in historical projects such as the repairs to the town walls, St. Mary’s Collegiate Church and Youghal Clock Gate and outdoor recreational projects such as the visitor moorings, the pontoon and the slob bank walk. I am confident that the boardwalk extension, in addition to the planned Midleton to Youghal Greenway, will, once completed further enhance Youghal’s amenities and tourism product”, concluded Minister Stanton.

Danielle Murrihy appointed as Sales and Marketing Manager at Castlemartyr Resort

Danielle Murrihy appointed as Sales and Marketing Manager at Castlemartyr Resort

Castlemartyr Resort is delighted to announce the appointment of Danielle Murrihy as Sales and Marketing Manager.

Danielle has worked with Castlemartyr Resort since October 2015 as a key member of the Sales & Marketing team. Her knowledge and experience garnered through her extensive career within the hospitality industry has been influential to the Castlemartyr Resort’s success in recent years.

Danielle completed her Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management from Galway & Mayo Institute of Technology while working as Accommodation Assistant at Hayfield Manor Hotel, Cork during her studies, the first step into the hospitality industry.

Throughout her career Danielle has gained a host of experience working in the hospitality industry in Ireland and abroad, including the IHG Group in Florida from 2004-2005. Danielle returned to Ireland in 2005, where she took on the role as Conference & Banqueting Manager for Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel overseeing the conference and banqueting operations for the hotel for two successful years.

Danielle joined Lakeside Hotel & Leisure Centre in 2008 where she worked as Operations and Deputy General Manager during her four-year tenure at the Co. Clare hotel. In 2012, Danielle moved to the United Kingdom to take on the role of General Manager for the Hallmark Hotel in Croydon where she excelled in meeting budget and revenue targets, developing relationships with key accounts, and motivating staff to deliver top industry standards.

In October 2015, Danielle returned to Ireland and joined the team at the luxurious 5 star Castlemartyr Resort in East Cork, as Events Executive progressing to the Sales Department and soon taking on her new role as Sales and Marketing Manager in the summer of 2018.

With over 17 years working in the hospitality, Danielle brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new role. Speaking about her new appointment Danielle shared, “I am delighted to take on this new challenge at Castlemartyr Resort. As one of the countries leading luxury destinations I’m incredibly exciting to take on the role as Director of Sales & Marketing, leading a brilliant, hardworking and passionate team here at the resort.”

Commenting on the appointment, Brendan Comerford General Manager at Castlemartyr Resort said “Danielle’s experience, knowledge and passion for the hospitality industry is invaluable to us at the resort, Danielle is incredibly driven and we are delighted to see her take on the new role as Sales & Marketing Manager.”

Castlemartyr Resort brings together a 17th century classic manor house and a luxurious contemporary wing, with an award-winning spa, gorgeous grounds featuring a tranquil swan lake, a challenging golf course all set on the dramatic ruins of an 800 year old castle with beautifully restored parterre gardens.

Castlemartyr Resort


County Cork

T: 021 421 9000 | F: 021 462 3359

Ring of Cork Travel Series Week 1

Ring of Cork Travel Series Week 1

Week 1 of our 2018 Weekly Travel Series this week Ballycotton

Over the next few weeks we are going to bring you with us as we explore the beauty, adventure and fun along the Ring of Cork. The Ring of Cork is the spectacular East Cork route that captures family fun, adventure breaks, historic trails, romantic getaways, sports, beach walks, spa breaks and so much more.

We are going to immerse ourselves in history, culture and adventure and create lots of memories along the way. This is our first ever episode of the Ring of Cork travel series and this week we explored the beautiful Ballycotton.

We started the day walking along the Ballycotton Cliff walk and ending the day out on the water with Ballycotton Sea Adventures.

Spike Island: Unraveling the mysteries of ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’

Spike Island: Unraveling the mysteries of ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’

Original story by Katy Scott, CNN • Updated 20th September 2018

(CNN) — A star-shaped fortress atop a picturesque island off the southwest coast of Ireland once housed one of the world’s biggest prison populations.

While today Spike Island welcomes boatloads of tourists — much like Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay or Robben Island off the coast of South Africa — in Victorian times it was a place that many never left, with more than 1,000 prisoners dying there in less than four years.

In an attempt to learn more about the men who perished on this prison island, bioarchaeologist Barra O’Donnabhain began excavating the convict graveyard in 2013.

Over the past five years, O’Donnabhain and his team have uncovered some of the mysteries buried on Spike Island — including a grizzly procedure long ago carried out on dead prisoners’ corpses.

How an island became a prison

Spike Island — often described as “Ireland’s Alcatraz” — has a multilayered history.

Early records indicate the 104-acre island might have been a 6th-century monastic settlement. It gradually developed into a British military base in the 18th century, before it became a depot for convicts waiting to be shipped to Britain’s penal colonies, such as Australia and Bermuda.

“The prison was opened as a crisis response by the government to the Great Famine and to the perceived rise in criminality, because the court system at the time punished theft very harshly,” explains O’Donnabhain, an archaeology professor at University College Cork in Ireland.

From 1847, men and boys as young as 12 were sent to Spike Island, some for crimes that would today be considered trivial offenses, such as stealing potatoes.

‘Hell on Earth’

But by 1853 the number of prisoners on the island had risen to 2,500, making it possibly the biggest prison in the British Empire at the time, if not the world, in terms of the number of prisoners, according to O’Donnabhain.

Up to 40 prisoners were sardined in each dormitory-style room — measuring 40 feet by 18 feet — and there were no individual cells save for the punishment block, used to detain the most dangerous criminals.

A number of accounts from the time detail how solitary confinement in the prison's punishment block was like "hell on Earth." Over 1,000 prisoners died on the island and were buried in mass unmarked graves.

A number of accounts from the time detail how solitary confinement in the prison’s punishment block was like “hell on Earth.” Over 1,000 prisoners died on the island and were buried in mass unmarked graves.

Various convict accounts from the punishment block detail how prisoners were heavily chained from wrist to ankle and severely broken from enduring what they described as “Hell on Earth.”

The prison’s draconian regime of forced labor coupled with poor living conditions and an inadequate diet meant convicts died almost daily in the early years, explains O’Donnabhain.

Digging up Spike

Records indicate that one of the island’s two graveyards, which O’Donnabhain hasn’t yet excavated, holds upwards of 1,000 prisoners who died before 1860.

O’Donnabhain and his team have excavated 35 burials from the other graveyard, which was used from 1860 onwards. By this point the number of deaths had drastically reduced to approximately one per month.

Arcaheologists excavate one of Spike Island's prison graveyards.

Arcaheologists excavate one of Spike Island’s prison graveyards. Barra O’Donnabhain

He says he was surprised by the element of care employed when prisoners buried their fellow inmates, particularly by how carefully they painted the cheap pine coffins to look like oak coffins.

“I read it as a gift from one prisoner to another,” says O’Donnabhain. “You’re being buried in a convict graveyard on a convict island that’s out of bounds to the rest of society, and yet your peers are just taking care to make a statement that this person was of some worth.”

Skulls for ‘science’?

But one of the most curious discoveries was that a handful of skeletons had the top of their skulls removed.

O’Donnabhain speculates that this might have been part of a wider study in the 1870s spearheaded by Italian scientist Cesare Lombroso to identify the characteristic physical features of the “born criminal.”

“Lombroso did a lot of autopsies of hanged criminals, and he found a particular variation in the architecture of the skull which he said is the sign of the ‘natural born criminal,'” explains O’Donnabhain.

Unsurprisingly, Lombroso’s theories have long been discredited.

But O’Donnabhain says he can’t be certain that that’s exactly what they were doing on Spike Island.

Writing’s on the wall

The prison housed convicts from 1847 to 1883. "There were a lot of prisoners who were there for things we would not regard as crime today, and sentenced to hard labor," says historian Gillian O'Brien of Liverpool John Moores University.

The prison housed convicts from 1847 to 1883. “There were a lot of prisoners who were there for things we would not regard as crime today, and sentenced to hard labor,” says historian Gillian O’Brien of Liverpool John Moores University.

When the 19th century prison closed in 1883, the island resumed its original function as a military barracks, only to re-open as a prison from 1985 to 2004.

When O’Donnabhain arrived nearly a decade later he says the sheets were literally still on the beds.

So, before he began excavating, his team documented the modern graffiti scrawled by 20th century prisoners.

“What really struck me in doing that work was the continuity between the Victorian prison and the modern prison,” says O’Donnabhain.

The graffiti on the walls detailed the prisoners’ nicknames, sentences, and hometowns. O’Donnabhain says these modern prisoners came from the same “blackspots of social disadvantage” as prisoners during the Victorian era.

“You see exactly the same dynamic in the sense that it’s primarily the poor who end up in prison and its people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds,” he says.

Spike Island first opened to the public in 2016 and was named “Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction” at the World Travel Awards last year.

O’Donnabhain says tourists are curious to explore the island because of its dark past.
“People are drawn to places that are out of bounds,” he says. “If you tell people they can’t go there, they want to see what’s behind the walls.”

Old Youghal railway line to be re-purposed as greenway

THE disused railway line between Youghal and Midleton will be repurposed as a greenway.

A cycle and pedestrian route linking the two towns will be developed which will also connect the villages of Mogeely and Killeagh.

The route will be 23km in length and a planning application for the project has just been published. It will be developed in line with Transport Infrastructure Ireland guidelines that require a width of 4 metres for a greenway.

County Mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy said the greenway will be an economic boost for east Cork.

“The Midleton to Youghal greenway will strengthen the attractiveness of east Cork in general as well as Youghal and Midleton in particular,” he added.

County Hall chief executive Tim Lucey said it will be of great benefit to locals.

“This greenway will form a fantastic local recreational amenity and form a key feature in promoting a sense of place and pride for its residents.”

The greenway will also traverse an area known as Ballvergan Marsh where it is proposed to create a boardwalk structure over a distance of approximately 2.58km. This will form a wildlife viewing point.

Spooky Town at Fota Island Resort

Spooky Town at Fota Island Resort

Fota Island Resort are delighted to announce the fa-boo-lous Spooky Town, the brand new Halloween experience taking place from October 12th to November 4th.

Spooky Town is a friendlylicous, kiddylaughy, scary kinda, funny place for smallies and other family monsters. 

With Wendy the Witch, Derekula, and Friendly Frankie ready to welcome you, feel the magic at Spooky Town. 

Tickets go on sale Wednesday 12th September. Visit for more details! 

Halloween at Fota Island Resort – are the rumours true??

Halloween at Fota Island Resort – are the rumours true??

There have been reports of Fota Island Resort’s “Wendy the Witch” being filmed in numerous locations around Cork – but for what reason?? 

There are rumours that they are planning a new family-friendly Halloween event. It is expected that it will be much like their Christmas experience events in a way that it will be family and child friendly. 

Halloween at Fota Island Resort – are the rumours true?? We will keep you informed, so stay tuned for more details! 

Coming soon…

Ring of Cork Travel Series

Ring of Cork are proud to announce the soon arrival of their very own Travel Series. Several Ring of Cork members will be featuring in the videos as the series will showcase the destinations of Cobh, Youghal, Ballincollig, Midleton, Ballycotton, Whitegate and Crosshaven. Stephanie from will be presenting the videos as she travels to new destinations every week to experience what the Ring of Cork has to offer. 

A new 5-minute video will be airing every week through social media and our website while also featuring on’s blog. Keep and eye on the Ring of Cork website and Facebook page for updates! 

FEAST 2018 – East Cork Food & Drink Festival

FEAST 2018 – East Cork Food & Drink Festival

FEAST 2018 – East Cork Food & Drink Festival

Since last year, Feast Cork has stepped up onto the solid foundations created by the Midleton Food Festival over the past fifteen years, and started to build a festival that stretches beyond Midleton to the Victorian seaside town of Youghal and to the stunning seaside jewel of Ballycotton, creating a new focus for a young festival with old values and traditions, designed to celebrate this embarrassment of riches of a region.

Feast Cork 2018 runs from 2nd to 9th September, again based in the market town of Midleton with its rich food heritage but with a strong focus on the wider region, and will once again be a food and drink festival with a sure sense of place. A festival that happens at harvest time – appropriately for a gathering up and bringing together of the best of what the area has to offer – Feast Cork is a fresh blend of conversations, dinners, markets, foraging, mixology, produce, producers, landscape, heritage and storytelling.

Bringing together a host of hardworking, innovative food producers from all over this landscape that is largely defined by food production and food heritage, Feast Cork is a celebration and showcase that mixes the old and new, the traditional and the innovative.

From the individual and small-scale but crucial producers, farmers, fishermen and cooks in the region that add layers of authenticity and history to the community, to the ethos originally created by Myrtle Allen at Ballymaloe House and Cookery School that has become a global force of nature that can be felt in the best kitchens from Sydney to San Francisco, East Cork resounds with a genuine sense of celebration of the local, the seasonal, the real. Feast Cork capitalises on and magnifies that shared ethos and those shared values in the most celebratory way.

Feast Cork has grown from the strong roots put down by the Midleton Food Festival over the past fifteen years, and now this harvest celebration holds out its arms to the wider region, creating new coordinates for this vibrant young festival, coordinates that they hope will shine brighter each year on the food festival map of Ireland – coordinates that are pure Feast Cork.

Programme of Events

There will be plenty of fun, food and entertainment for all the family throughout the week. The FEAST Launch Party takes place on Sunday, 2nd September at the courtyard in the Jameson Distillery featuring none other than Mundy!!

Find the full list of events here:

Glanmire Heritage Society finalise their programme for Heritage Week!

Glanmire Heritage Society finalise their programme for Heritage Week!

Glanmire Heritage Society programme of events

After months of planning, Glanmire Heritage Society are all set for this year’s National Heritage Week (18th – 26th August). There are events for everyone so be sure to attend!

Tuesday 21st August

2.00 – 5.00 p.m. at Riverstown Community Centre

  • Heritage Photographic Exhibition
  • Knitting and Crochet Exhibitions
  • Local ‘Reeling in the Years’ by Ann Holland

7.30 – 9.30 p.m. Musical Evening at St. Mary & All Saints Church (M.C. Frank Houlihan)

  • Dmitri String Quartet
  • Sean-Nós Singer Sinéad Caher
  • Poetry Reading by Gretta Coakley
  • The Sonatina Adult Choir
  • Tim McGrath
  • Mary McCarthy’s step-dancers
  • Julie Dennehy with Dion, Chloe and Juliana
  • Claire on viola & Margaret on guitar
  • Noel Daly
  • Sing-along with Liam, Martin & Noel
  • The Marron family

Wednesday 22nd August

2-5 p.m

Heritage Photographic Exhibition at Riverstown Community Centre

2.30 p.m

Guided Tour of Riverstown House (€5 per head) – meet at Glanmire Library at 2.30 p.m.

Thursday 23rd August

2-5 p.m

Heritage Photographic Exhibition at Riverstown Community Centre

2.30 p.m

Talk by Mark Elmes on his cousin Mary Elmes from Cork who was awarded a medal in 2014
by the State of Israel for saving the lives of Jewish children from Nazi concentration camps

Friday 24th August

2-5 p.m

Heritage Photographic Exhibition at Riverstown Community Centre

8 – 10 p.m. Musical Evening at historic Riverstown House (M.C. Michael Burns)

  • Dmitri String Quartet
  • Tim McGrath
  • Hilda Leader Galvin, Conor and Leah
  • Michael Ronan
  • Brendan O’Donovan on clarinet
  • Michael Burns
  • Donal O’Connell, Overall Winner of 2018 Over-60s Final
  • Muireann O’Connell, Ciara Leddy, Ciara Stacey & Kiera Egan
  • Nuala ní Chanainn
  • Margaret Tobin
Youghal Medieval Festival 2018

Youghal Medieval Festival 2018

Youghal Medieval Festival 2018

On the 19th August this year Youghal will once again celebrate its renowned beauty, heritage, history and welcoming camaraderie with its celebrated and award winning Youghal Medieval Festival.
Celebrating National Heritage Week, Youghal Medieval Festival will bring together over 150 performers, entertainers, musicians, historians, re-enactors and over 40 events. It will all take place on Sunday 19th August 2018 with many other ancillary medieval happenings on the Saturday (18th).

The Full Programme of Events:

Saturday 18th

  • Between 10am and 4pm: Sir Walter Raleigh’s Treasure Trail of St. Mary;s Collegiate Church & Grounds
  • Tours at 10.30am and 2pm: Guided tours of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church (30 minute duration).
  • At 12noon: The fascinating true story of “Carolina – The Princess of Capua”.
  • At 1pm: “Urban Wildlife” – Explore our natural heritage at St. Mary’s Graveyard (30/35 minutes).
  • At 3pm: “St. Mary’s Collegiate Church” – Custom & Liturgy directed its architecture.
  • From 6pm to 8pm: FREE Gala concert with noted vocalists Caroline Fraher & John Daly.

Sunday 19th

  • Between 10am and 4pm: Sir Walter Raleigh’s treasure trail of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church & Grounds.
  • Between 10am and 4pm: “Can you dig it?” Archaeological dig for kids! (suitable for ages 8+. 35 minutes).
  • At 12noon and 3pm: Medieval Battle! 
  • Between 12noon and 5pm: ‘The White Horse Vikings’ Medieval Village Experience.
  • Between 12noon and 6pm:  A whole range of kids fun! (Face painting, coin pressing, balloon magic and so much more!)
  • Between 12noon and 6pm: Show N’Tell Archery Display with Peter O’Connor.
  • Between 12noon and 6pm: Animal Magic – interact with some of the most majestic and awe inspiring creatures, Birds of Prey.
  • Between 12noon and 6pm: Artisan Food and Craft Fair.
  • At 12.30pm and 3.30pm: Kids Medieval Battle! (suitable for kids 7-10 years).
  • At 1.30pm: Performance by Youghal Pipe Band.
  • Tours at 2pm and 4pm: Guided Tours of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church.
  • At 2.30pm and 4.30pm: ‘Janey Mac’ by Cork Favourties the Dowtcha Puppets.
Mackey Coaches add THREE new minibuses to their fleet!

Mackey Coaches add THREE new minibuses to their fleet!

Mackey Coaches add THREE new minibuses to their fleet!

Mackey Coaches are delighted to announce their purchase of three stunning new LDV minibuses. With two 15-seaters finished in pure white and a striking lava grey 17 seater, they bring added comfort and prestige to their ever-growing fleet of vehicles. The buses are top of the range, with the grey bus being full tour spec, including leather seats!

The new buses are now available for hire and are suitable for all occasions from weddings to corporate tours. For more information call Cliona on (086) 834 6756 or email

The Munster Tennis Hub at Fota Island Resort – Now Open!

The Munster Tennis Hub at Fota Island Resort – Now Open!

The Munster Tennis Hub

Munster Tennis are delighted to announce that the brand new Munster Tennis Hub at Fota Island Resort is open.
A superb facility that will be utilised by the elite performance squads of Munster Tennis for training and practice, the two fabulously located courts and associated facilities are available to use on a social basis too by way of an exclusive subscription pack.
Everyone is welcome to subscribe to the Munster Tennis Hub, with all receiving a privilege pack that includes unlimited social use of the refurbished secluded courts, exclusive branded tennis clothing, an ACE! Card (giving discounts and offers from partners and sponsors), plus a welcome gift voucher to spend on the
Additionally, the Munster Tennis Hub will host several children’s fun training camps for the summer holidays, for children aged 5 to 14. All players will receive top level coaching in a safe environment by leading coaches, with goodie bags and prizes on offer at the end of the fun packed week.
Commenting on the exciting partnership between Munster Tennis and Fota Island Resort, Munster Tennis’ Commercial Manager, Kevin Mullen, said “This is a fabulous opportunity for us all associated with Munster Tennis and we thank the management and staff at Fota Island Resort for their support in welcoming us to create a new home that we can all be proud of. We very much look forward to welcoming our subscribers, players and young camp users and proving to be an integral part of the continuing success of Fota Island Resort”.
For further details of all packages on offer, and the children’s camps, please visit the designated website at

Chase the Sunset with Ocean Escapes

Chase the Sunset with Ocean Escapes

Hop Onboard for an Unmissable Cork Harbour Sunset Cruise

A cool ocean breeze on your face, a salty spray on your skin, watching the sparkling water and basking in the beauty of a glorious pink and orange sky as the sun begins to set on the horizon. Doesn’t this sound like an idyllic summers evening? You could be sailing around scenic Cork Harbour, chasing the sunset, during a special 2 hour long Sunset Cruise departing from Crosshaven on July 13th at 8pm.

The cruise is being run by ‘Ocean Escapes’ on their new Cork Harbour tour boat experience, which operates daily between Cork and Cobh, and has quickly become the hottest ‘summer bucket list’ thing to do in Cork in 2018. The tour guides and crew have witnessed some remarkable sunsets as the boat docks each evening in Crosshaven and decided that Cork locals and visitors might also enjoy spending some time on the open water ‘chasing the sunset’. Tickets for the Sunset Cruise from Hugh Coveney Pier in Crosshaven are €15 per person or €20 for two people, and can be bought on board.

If you can’t make this Sunset Cruise, but would still like to get out on the water to enjoy breath-taking views, famous sights, nature & wildlife, fascinating stories, and all the maritime history that Cork Harbour has to offer, you can book a place onboard the 72-seater tour boat from either Port of Cork Marina, Custom House Quay in Cork City or Kennedy Quay in Cobh. See for times and prices. Tours depart daily until September from Cobh or Cork City. Or, if you are more of a thrill seeker, you can book a tour on one of the Ocean Escapes exhilarating high speed ribs.

For more information contact Ocean Escapes 021 2339049 (Mon- Fri 9.30am- 5.30pm) or see

Free Events and Entertainment for Australia Day in Cobh

Free Events and Entertainment for Australia Day in Cobh

‘Australia Day’ in Cobh – 27th July

1500 Australians will arrive in Cobh early on Friday morning, 27 July, aboard the cruise ship Sea Princess to a true Irish ‘ Australia Day ‘ welcome.

The stop is part of a 107 day around the world cruise from Sydney to Sydney. Cobh will be the only Irish port on their voyage that will visit 38 ports, transit both the Suez and Panama canals, and travel an incredible 59,000km.

As has been the case since 2009, Cobh Tourism will roll out the red carpet and has christened the day’s festivities ‘Australia Day’ in Cobh, making it one of the passenger’s favourite destinations because of the welcome they receive.

Cobh’s Festival atmosphere will include nonstop free entertainment from 11am in the town’s waterfront Promenade. This will include traditional music and Irish Dancing, Market Stalls and a farewell musical knees up with Cobh Confraternity Band, and all are welcome to attend.

While many of the passengers will take half day excursions, many more will enjoy the wide variety of attractions that are just a stone’s throw away from the ship. “There are so many world class attractions in Cobh now that the ship should really be making an overnight call to make the most of all that there is to see and do,” commented Fionnghuala Smith, chairperson of Cobh Tourism.

Visitors can trace their ancestors at Cobh Heritage Centre, take the ferry to Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction, Spike Island, solve riddles and puzzles at Escapade Cobh, dress up old time like First Class Passengers from the 1900s in Cobh Pastimes; explore the history of the Titanic at the Titanic Experience, visit the famous St Colman’s Cathedral, play a round of golf or go boating with Cork Harbour Boat Hire. They may also wish to explore Fota House and Fota Wildlife park or they could take a trip to the nearby Jameson Distillery. They could also quite simply enjoy the great ‘craic’ in Cobh’s pubs.

A visit to Spike Island from where many convicts were held captive before being transported to Australia will be a must for many passengers as will the “Blessing of the Bonnets” ceremony in Cobh Heritage Centre at 6pm to honour all convict women and children transported to Australia,

‘Roses from the Heart’ is a unique memorial to the 25,566 convict women transported to Australia from Ireland and Britain from 1788 to 1853. It was conceived by Tasmanian Conceptual artist Christina Henri and a beautiful bonnet has been made to remember almost all of these women and children. “These women and children were forgotten for decades,” said Christina. “Their lives and their circumstances today seem unimaginable. It’s hard to believe the fortitude, resilience and courage that saw so many of these women survive and contribute to the Australian Nation enjoyed by so many today. They deserve to be remembered with gratitude,” she continued.

A bonnet installation in Cobh Heritage Centre remembers the women and children aboard the Neva that sailed from Cork on 8th January 1835, destined for the prisons of Botany Bay. There were 240 people on board, most of them either female convicts or the wives of already deported convicts and their children. On 13 May 1835 the ship hit a reef just north of King’s Island in Australia and sank with the loss of 224 lives – one of the worst shipwrecks in maritime history.

As the Sea Princess sails at 10 pm, Cobh Confraternity Band will perform their renowned sailaway recital on the Bandstand at 6 pm. Of the 1950 passengers on board, 79% are Australians and 17% are New Zealanders. Their average age is 71 and 1300 of the passengers are doing the full Round the World voyage.

Next year’s Round the World voyage, which includes a visit to Cobh on 11th July 2019 is already on sale with prices for the entire trip starting at just €15,000 all inclusive.

For more information on all there is to see and do in Cobh see

“Summer in Youghal” BAGATELLE to headline the YOUGHAL “QUEEN OF THE SEA” FESTIVAL

“Summer in Youghal” BAGATELLE to headline the YOUGHAL “QUEEN OF THE SEA” FESTIVAL

With the fine weather due to continue BAGETELLE are all set to entertain you in the seaside town of Youghal at the free open-air concert on the GIG RIG for the annual Queen of the Sea festival.

The festival weekend which takes place in the town centre from the 13th -15h  July 2018  is set to be packed full of so much fun, entertainment and activities for all the family that it’s an event that simply should not to be missed!

Kicking off the festival on Friday 13th is a Fancy Dress contest followed by the first introduction to this year’s Queens with a Preview on stage with Red FM’s Brenda Dennehy,  Followed by New Bedford playing on the GIG RIG.

Saturday will see Nealons Quay area transforms into a food and craft village for the weekend with everything from mouth-watering gourmet Sausages, BBQ Burgers Paella and Pizzas to warm Crepes and waffles with chocolate sauce and fresh cream and an amazing selection of baked goodies and sweets to keep any “foodie” full for the day.

Saturday evening sees the Crowning of the Queen of the Sea with host Brendan Hennessy  followed by the FREE, open air concert with THE BEE GEE’S tribute, live on the GIG RIG. Followed by the Spectacular FIREWORKS display!

Throughout the weekend, festival goers are encouraged to test their skills in the ultimate fitness challenge. There’s also plenty of fun activities for the kids to enjoy with the free Crab Fishing and Sandcastle Building Competition. Entertainment Face painting, Amusements, and a fun Dog Show.

Treat yourself to some fun, come for the craic, stay on for the music, you won’t be disappointed.


Midleton wall to honour WWI dead

The memory of 200 East Cork men killed in the First World War will be kept alive by a memorial wall in Midleton.

It is the culmination of three years’ work by a small group of locals who sought to identify as many as possible of the area’s war dead.

The names have been cut into the monument on 10 panels made from the same Portland stone used in the grave markers synonymous with the burial places of millions of those killed in British Army uniforms in the 1914-1918 war.

A central panel will carry a simple message telling visitors that the monument is in memory of men from the greater Midleton area who died.

The initiative started out to just find the names of men from the parish around the town itself, but it was extended beyond those 83 names to add those from neighbouring areas such as Ballycotton, Cloyne, Castlemartyr, Mogeely and Carrigtwohill.

Committee member Tom Walsh said three years of research and checking various sources was undertaken by the group, some of whom have relatives named on the wall.

We put an awful lot of work into researching the names and stories of these men, but we’re not saying it’s complete. If there are people whose names we’ve missed, we would hope to put up another panel or two at a later stage,” he said.

The memorial wall is at the Baby’s Walk park area at the distillery end of Midleton’s Main St. It will be officially unveiled at 2pm on Sunday June 10 by Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney. There will be Belgian and French diplomatic representation, as well as Irish Defence Forces and a British military attaché.

The standards of the most prominent Irish regiments which fought in the First World War will be carried by members of Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women).

The monument has been commissioned and erected with financial assistance from a number of sources, including Cork County Council and others.

A war memorial already exists in Whitegate, and a First World War memorial plaque was unveiled in Midleton in 2016 to mark the centenary of the commencement of the Battle of the Somme.

Original story on

Fota Island Resort Majors inspired golf experience

Fota Island Resort Majors inspired golf experience

Fota Island Resort’s raved-about series of themed golf events to coincide with the Majors is back again– this time channeling The Open and the PGA to bring you to the forefront of the action without actually having to go through the hassle of traveling abroad.

Based on the same winning formula that saw Fota Island Resort bringing you a little bit of Georgia during Masters Week, Scotland during The Open Championship and New York during the PGA Championship, Fota Island Resort will once again be the place to be during this year’s U.S Open from the 14th to 17th June, the Open Championship, taking place from the 19th to 22nd of July, and the upcoming PGA, from the 9th to 12th of August.

On these dates, Fota Island Resort is running a singles competition at the unbeatable rate of €50 on the resort’s premier golf courses, with an eight-month membership to the golfing academy at Fota Island Resort as first prize. Take inspiration from the world’s top professional golfers as they play in some of the world’s most iconic and enjoyable golf tournaments and have a round yourself on one of Fota Island Resort’s three championship courses. Host of the Irish Open three times, the Fota Island Resort golf experience is up to the highest of standards. There will also be a sale on in the ProShop during each Major ensuring you look the part as well as play the part.

Complete the experience and truly embrace the Majors with culinary delights in the Clubhouse specifically crafted and inspired by the locales of the tournaments. Dine like the pros would while watching them compete on the Clubhouse’s TVs, which will of course be showing the events.

The menu in June is inspired by the U.S Open taking place at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, New York (14th-17th June). Sticky short ribs and delicious open sliders will be the main course of choice sure to transport your taste buds stateside, priced at €14.50. The Open, taking place at Carnoustie in Angus, Scotland, (19th -22nd July) is the muse behind the July dining feature – delicious Traditional Angus beef pies, priced at €14.50. The meal will get you in the spirit and is sure to satisfy you after a great day of golf.

In August, the Clubhouse will take your palette on another culinary journey to the U.S.A. in honor of the PGA tournament, hosted at Bellerive in St. Louis, Missouri (9th – 12th August). Feast on a hearty open Gerber sandwich on garlic bread with succulent ham, Provel cheese and paprika at €14.50, or The Slinger – a traditional hamburger topped with egg and hash brown for €14.50.

With these carefully designed features, you will truly feel like you are dining in Scotland’s rolling green landscape or Missouri’s lush wooded grounds without even leaving Ireland!

A championship-level golf experience inspired by the Majors with themed culinary delights to match is right on your doorstep at Fota Island Resort in Cork. Channel the likes of some of the world’s top golfers and call +353 21 467 3000 or visit to learn more or make a reservation.

Cruise Ships to visit the Ring of Cork in 2018

Cruise Ships to visit the Ring of Cork in 2018

Here are all of the latest cruise ships to land within the Ring of Cork in 2018. Please note that this is subject to change.

May 2018

Vessel Pax Arrives Berth Departs
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 May 15th at 08:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 15th at 20:00
AIDAVITA 1582 May 16th at 06:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 16th at 18:00
ASTORIA 580 May 17th at 06:00 Bantry Bay-Other May 17th at 20:00
HANSEATIC 188 May 17th at 06:30 North Custom House Quay May 17th at 19:00
MARINA- 1258 May 19th at 10:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 19th at 19:00
PRINSENDAM 766 May 23rd at 06:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 23rd at 18:00
BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS 2500 May 24th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 24th at 17:00
ZUIDERDAM 2388 May 26th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 26th at 17:00
MARCO POLO 922 May 26th at 09:00 Ringaskiddy DWB May 26th at 14:00
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 May 27th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 27th at 19:00
MARCO POLO 922 May 29th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 29th at 19:00
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS 4375 May 31st at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 31st at 19:00

June 2018

Vessel Pax Arrives Berth Departs
SILVER SPIRIT 540 Jun 6th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jun 6th at 18:00
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE 3129 Jun 6th at 10:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Jun 6th at 17:00
MAGELLAN 1794 Jun 8th at 08:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Jun 8th at 18:00
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 Jun 8th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jun 8th at 19:00
BERLIN 420 Jun 15th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jun 15th at 13:00
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE 3129 Jun 16th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jun 16th at 17:00
DEUTSCHLAND 600 Jun 19th at 12:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jun 19th at 18:00
NAUTICA 777 Jun 20th at 08:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Jun 20th at 22:00
ORIANA 1804 Jun 20th at 09:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Jun 20th at 19:00
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 Jun 20th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jun 20th at 18:00
MARCO POLO 922 Jun 24th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jun 24th at 18:00
COLUMBUS 1856 Jun 26th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jun 26th at 18:00

July 2018

Vessel Pax Arrives Berth Departs
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 Jul 2nd at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 2nd at 18:00
SEABOURN QUEST 478 Jul 4th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
AZURA 3597 Jul 12th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 12th at 09:00
AZAMARA JOURNEY 777 Jul 13th at 08:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 13th at 19:30
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 Jul 14th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 14th at 17:00
ORIANA 1804 Jul 15th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 15th at 18:00
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE 3129 Jul 16th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 16th at 18:00
COLUMBUS 1856 Jul 16th at 10:15 Ringaskiddy DWB Jul 16th at 19:00
ASTOR 650 Jul 17th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 17th at 18:00
SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR 530 Jul 19th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 19th at 17:00
AMADEA 604 Jul 20th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 20th at 17:00
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 Jul 26th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 26th at 19:00
SEA PRINCESS 2342 Jul 27th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Jul 27th at 22:00

August 2018

Vessel Pax Arrives Berth Departs
ARTANIA 1323 Aug 2nd at 10:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 2nd at 18:00
BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS 2500 Aug 4th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 4th at 20:00
SILVER WIND 296 Aug 4th at 09:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Aug 4th at 18:00
MARINA- 1258 Aug 7th at 08:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Aug 7th at 17:00
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 Aug 7th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 7th at 19:00
BERLIN 420 Aug 10th at 12:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 10th at 18:30
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE 3129 Aug 15th at 10:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 15th at 18:00
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 Aug 19th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 19th at 19:00
CELEBRITY SILHOUETTE 2886 Aug 20th at 10:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 20th at 19:00
MSC MERAVIGLIA 5700 Aug 27th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 27th at 18:00
SAGA PEARL II 602 Aug 27th at 08:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Aug 27th at 18:00
MEIN SCHIFF 3 2506 Aug 29th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 29th at 18:00
ROYAL PRINCESS 3604 Aug 31st at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Aug 31st at 18:00

September 2018

Vessel Pax Arrives Berth Departs
DISNEY MAGIC 2834 Sep 4th at 07:15 Cobh Cruise Terminal
BRILLIANCE OF THE SEAS 2500 Sep 6th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 6th at 18:00
EUROPA 2 544 Sep 7th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 7th at 18:00
LE LAPEROUSE 180 Sep 7th at 08:00 North Custom House Quay Sep 7th at 18:00
COLUMBUS 1856 Sep 8th at 07:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Sep 8th at 18:00
PACIFIC PRINCESS 688 Sep 8th at 10:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 8th at 22:00
SAGA PEARL II 602 Sep 9th at 08:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Sep 9th at 17:00
OCEAN MAJESTY 613 Sep 9th at 10:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 9th at 19:00
DISNEY MAGIC 2834 Sep 11th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
ASTORIA 580 Sep 12th at 09:15 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 12th at 19:00
SILVER SPIRIT 540 Sep 13th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 13th at 18:00
REGAL PRINCESS 3605 Sep 14th at 09:00 Sep 14th at 22:00
STAR BREEZE 208 Sep 17th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 17th at 16:00
NORWEGIAN JADE 2376 Sep 20th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 20th at 19:00
MAGELLAN 1794 Sep 21st at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 21st at 14:00
SILVER WIND 296 Sep 21st at 08:00 Ringaskiddy DWB Sep 21st at 18:00
THE WORLD 1042 Sep 22nd at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 23rd at 18:00
AMADEA 604 Sep 25th at 13:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Sep 25th at 20:00

October 2018

Vessel Pax Arrives Berth Departs
ARTANIA 1323 Oct 1st at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Oct 1st at 18:00
COLUMBUS 1856 Oct 2nd at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Oct 2nd at 18:00
MARCO POLO 922 Oct 3rd at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Oct 3rd at 15:00
MAGELLAN 1794 Oct 6th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Oct 6th at 13:30
NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY 4028 Oct 7th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Oct 7th at 17:00
MAGELLAN 1794 Oct 21st at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Oct 21st at 13:30

December 2018

Vessel Pax Arrives Berth Departs
MARCO POLO 922 Dec 20th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal Dec 21st at 14:00
Cobh Museum 2018 Exhibitions

Cobh Museum 2018 Exhibitions

Cobh Museum are delighted to announce their 2018 Exhibitions which this year feature Anchors Aweigh, the story of the American Navy in Queenstown (Cobh) total of 92 American ships were stationed in Cork Harbour during the last two years of the World War One.

Also featured is the scuttling of the AUD 1916, in collaboration with Mr. Jim Shealy, B.A. (Hons) will explore this event which took place in Cork Harbour. On display as part of Cobh Museum’s 1916 Commemorative Exhibitions will be a rifle and cartridges from the Aud.  Cobh Museum overlooks the harbour where the gunrunning ship “Aud”, was scuttled on April 22nd 1916.

And finally, the story of the RMS Lusitania – A day in May, which was sank on May 7th 1915. Explore the story of the 1,962 passengers and crew on board, including 128 of 139 American passengers on board, changing the course of World War One

More about Cobh Museum

Cobh Museum, housed in the former Scots Presbyterian Church (built in 1854) has been open since 1973 and plays an important role in telling the story of the town of Cobh. Run by a team of volunteers, it is an unexpected delight to visit. A gem in Ireland’s Ancient East, it stands at the entrance to the town overlooking Cork Harbour. Many of the original church furnishings remain, forming a sympathetic background to the varied and changing exhibitions.

Come through the red door and prepare to be surprised. You will immediately be immersed in the history of Cobh (or Queenstown as it was once known). The town, always associated with ships and shipping, is shown through photographs and displays which also reveal its social and commercial history and its strategic role in the maritime and military history of Cork Harbour. Mementoes of the great liners, including the RMS Lusitania, sit alongside artefacts which will spark memories of childhood and the past. Look out for this year’s special exhibition!

A small souvenir shop, advice on genealogical research, a quiz for children and a warm welcome await you in Cobh Museum.

New Café and Spring Events as Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens opens for 2018 season

New Café and Spring Events as Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens opens for 2018 season

Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens will open again for the season on Saturday March 24th with a weekend of activity for everyone. “Come and spend some time with us at our beautiful Regency house, take in the gardens in the spring sunshine and enjoy our special garden trails for all the family. We also have a variety of house trails for children,” says Victoria Tammadge, Fota House’s General Manager.

“We are thrilled to announce that Bakestone, one of Cork’s best eateries, will be launching their new café at Fota House. Bakestone share our passion for offering visitors locally sourced produce and the best of each season, and they will be serving produce from the Victorian Working Garden here at Fota House”, she continues. Bakestone will be serving up a wide variety of fabulous eats every day and promise some exciting food events to come! Visit to discover more.

Fota House will be hosting an exciting programme of fantastic family events throughout the year, kicking off with the Easter Nature Trail on 30 th and 31 st March and the ever popular Spring Plant Fair on 22 nd April. “Our goal here at Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens – part of Ireland’s Ancient East – is to continue to bring the property to life and share it with all our visitors; keeping the heart of the property beating is what’s it’s all about!”

Fota House operates guided tours from 10:00 – 17:00 daily (including Sundays and bank holidays). The award winning Victorian Working Garden at the rear of the property is also well worth a visit. Manned mainly by Fota volunteers, it is open Monday – Friday, 10:30 to 15:00 and 13:00 to 16:00 on Sundays, perfect for an after lunch stroll. Since 2007, Fota House is owned and managed by the Irish Heritage Trust, an independent charity, and all proceeds are invested back into the upkeep and restoration of the property.

For details on all our events or to book, visit us at

Fota Island Adventure has been awarded “Sports Business of the Year”

Fota Island Adventure has been awarded “Sports Business of the Year”

Fota Island Adventure has been awarded “Sports Business of the Year” at the annual Irish Sports Industry Awards, held on Wednesday 7th March at Smock Alley Theatre.

Presented by Joanne Cantwell from RTE, Fota Island Adventure were one of 12 winners at the awards on evening which recognise and reward excellence in the sporting industry, while simultaneously highlighting the contribution of Sport to Ireland.

Derek Binchy of Fota Island Adventure said “I’m delighted for the whole team here at Fota Island Adventure. This award is a true testament to the brilliant work and dedication that everyone puts in on a daily basis. We’re constantly evolving and aiming to be the best that we can be and thanks to the amazing partnership with Fota Island Resort we have some very exciting developments in the pipeline.”

Director of Marketing at the Fota Collection Seamus Leahy said “At Fota Island Resort we’re all delighted to see Fota Island Adventure take home this well-deserved prize. The partnership with Fota Island Adventure is a natural fit for us and we’re excited to see what new projects they’ll be bringing on board in 2018.”

Hidden in the woods along the shoreline of Fota Island, part of the natural surroundings of Fota Island Resort, Fota Island Adventure is the perfect setting for a day packed full of excitement.

Whether it’s a family trip, a solo visit, a corporate retreat or a school tour, there is something for everyone at Fota Island Adventure. From water sports such as kayaking and orienteering, and forest activities like obstacle courses, bushcraft and finding the sniper – your adrenaline rush awaits.

Our award-winning team development package is delivered by expertly trained instructors, with many being current and ex-members of the Irish army, and this professional team put together a range of daily activities and bespoke packages designed to stimulate, challenge, build confidence and provide hours of fun!

Contact Fota Island Adventure for further information on +353 21 465 2004  or

Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre Youghal named No 4 in Top Hotels for Families in Ireland

Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre Youghal named No 4 in Top Hotels for Families in Ireland

Quality Hotel Youghal has shot forward from number 8 to number 4 on Trip Advisor’s Top 25 Hotels for Families in Ireland. This is fantastic news for the Team at Redbarn.

“ It is very satisfying to see us move up the charts in the category “Family Breaks” as that is our market”. Noted GM, Allen McEnery. “To come in at number four in Ireland is a great result and a vote of confidence in the hotel, its staff and facilities. This result has inspired and motivated us and we hope to continue to deliver top quality family breaks to all our guests.” Alan added, “A huge thanks to our customers who have been so supportive in their reviews on Trip Advisor. I hope that will will continue to reach and hopefully exceed their expectations in 2018”.

The hotel is opening for the February Midterm Break, and then will open for weekends only until St. Patrick’s Day, when it will open full time. Our Self-catering accommodation is available all year

Trabolgan €2 million invested as part of our continual upgrade and investment programme!

All our Chestnut and Alpine accommodation across the park is being updated and refreshed for the 2018 season. And in addition to this, there will be a new spectacular covered plaza at the heart of our main centre. Boasting an expansive skyline roof, the Village Plaza will bring together amazing entertainment and a host of dining experiences, all under one roof!

This high tech engineering project will link together buildings in Trabolgan’s main centre, providing an all-weather facility at the Village Plaza. The expansive and spectacular 18,000 sq. foot roofing structure, made from transparent polycarbonate materials, will shied visitors from the unpredictable Irish weather, without blocking the light shining in. It will bring together outdoor adventures, live entertainment and casual dining in a spacious and comfortable environment where weather is never an issue! Connecting all venues in the main centre from our Shops to our Pool Paradise, the Village Plaza is the perfect place to unwind and watch the world go by.

So don’t delay, book your 2018 family break TODAY and

get up to 33% off selected breaks

when you book and pay in full by the 31st January 2018.

Call our team TODAY on 021 4661551 or

book online at

Ring of Cork “Getting On Board” Tourism Seminar

Ring of Cork “Getting On Board” Tourism Seminar Ring Of Cork

Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications at Cork Airport, pictured addressing the audience at the “Getting On Board” Tourism Seminar with the Ring of Cork at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island.

Kevin Cullinane – Head of Communications with Cork Airport was the Guest Speaker at the “Getting on Board” Tourism Seminar at the Radisson Blu, Little Island on the 13th of December 2017. The Seminar was organised by Ring of Cork and it coincided with their AGM. Over sixty tourism businesses from the region were in attendance.

In his presentation, “Maximising Incoming Tourism”. Kevin told us about the work that the Airport do to attract new airlines to Cork, whilst working in partnership with Tourism Ireland. Although Cork Airport is the best airport in Europe in their class and has won numerous awards, what really matters to the airline, is the destination. Kevin is a great promoter of Cork and being from Cobh himself, knows how to sell the Ring of Cork tourism businesses to potential airlines. As he said, “it isn’t all about great runways and terminals”. He also spoke about how all tourism businesses could maximise opportunities from markets in Switzerland, Spain and the USA.

Cork Airport is the international gateway to the South of Ireland and is uniquely positioned at the start of Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way. It is the country’s second busiest and best connected international airport after Dublin with connectivity to over fifty destinations. More than 2.3 million passengers will travel through Cork Airport this year, 57% Irish residents and 43% overseas visitors flying from destinations across the UK, Continental Europe and the USA on year- round services from Boston Providence with Norwegian. In June, Cork Airport was named Airport Council International (ACI) Best Airport in Europe in its class (serving under 5 million passengers). Ring Of Cork

Veronica Murphy of The Discovery Partnership pictured addressing the audience at the ÒGetting On BoardÓ Tourism Seminar with the Ring of Cork at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island.

Veronica Murphy of The Discovery Partnership followed Kevin’s presentation. In her presentation, “Maximize your Markets- Connect & Network”, she spoke about Visit Kent and how they have increased their visitor numbers via maximising markets through connecting and networking and getting on board with the Ring of Cork.

Elga Ryan of SECAD, who manages Ring of Cork presented the 2017 programme of activities to the audience. Ms. Ryan spoke about the ROC supports that Ring of Cork provide to tourism businesses through the delivery of leading edge training programmes and the provision of marketing tools as well as connecting tourism businesses together at networking events. This was very evident at the lunch break, where lots of connections were made and relationships formed from the wide range of tourism businesses who were in attendance from East Cork, Cork Harbour and the greater Cork region.

Ring of Cork connects and supports tourism businesses through marketing, training and networking. It supports the development of sustainable tourism businesses and helps to maximise business potential. Ring of Cork supports local jobs and the local economy. Ring of Cork

Elga Ryan, SECAD, pictured with guest speakers Kevin Cullinane, Head of Communications at Cork Airport, and Veronica Murphy of The Discovery Partnership, at the ÒGetting On BoardÓ Tourism Seminar with the Ring of Cork at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island.

2017 Ring of Cork AGM / Tourism Seminar

2017 Ring of Cork AGM / Tourism Seminar

The 2017 Ring of Cork AGM and Tourism Seminar take place place on December 13th at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island at 12PM.

This year our keynote speaker at our “Getting On Board” Tourism Seminar is Kevin Cullihane Head of Communications at Cork Airport.

Ring Of Cork

Kevin will be discussing “Maximising Incoming Tourism” within the Ring Of Cork region.

Kevin will partner Veronica Murphy, Director of Discovery Partnership, and will be discussing “Maximize your Markets – Connect & Network“ presenting at this years event

All tourism businesses are welcome and encouraged to attend the free event. There are however limited tickets, so booking is essential, which you can do so on the Ring Of Cork website:

Networking with existing Ring Of Cork members and Festive Bites with Tea / Coffee on arrival for all guests.

Following the “Getting on Board” Tourism Seminar, Ring Of Cork will hold their AGM at 1PM. SECAD Development Officer Elga Ryan will be presenting with information about how the region and website / marketing improvements are doing from the 2017 year and the plans for 2018 and beyond.

Visitors are welcome to attend the AGM, and should book on the Ring Of Cork website:

New Music Festival Set to Take Place in Ring of Cork, April 2018

New Music Festival Set to Take Place in Ring of Cork, April 2018

The Good Room presents, a brand new music festival:


It Takes A Village


Featuring: Young Fathers – Andrew Weatherall – Talos – Fujiya & Miyagi –

Brian Deady – The Altered Hours – Le Boom – Oh Pep! – Donal Dineen – John Daly – Bitch Falcon – Nialler9 – Anna Mieke – Seamus Fogarty – Cian Finn – Sunday Times – Strength NIA – Lilla Vargen – My Name Is John – Ryan Vail – Kevin Barry –

Sim Simma – Bocs Social & many, many more to be announced


Friday 13th – Sunday 15th April 2018

Trabolgan – East Cork

Strictly over 21’s

Tickets go on sale at 4pm, Thursday 7th December, from

Ever fancied being at a festival, hidden away from the world, in a secluded setting on the edge of the Atlantic… with a roof over your head? This coming April, there’s something happening in Cork that will change the way people think about festivals in Ireland. From Friday 13th to Sunday 15th of April, It Takes A Village drops itself on to the landscape in the idyllic and pastoral surroundings of Trabolgan, East Cork.

It Takes A Village is unique in that they offer 150 self-catering houses and apartments, plus 35 fully-serviced campervan sites, contained in Trabolgan Holiday Village. There is no camping in muddy fields here, your booking includes accommodation and unlimited access to the huge variety of entertainment. It’s a residents only affair for the festival weekend, with a limited amount of day tickets on Sunday. This event is strictly over 21’s.

The first announcement from festival organisers features an abundance of eclectic electric artists: Young Fathers – Andrew Weatherall – Talos – Fujiya & Miyagi – Brian Deady – The Altered Hours – Le Boom – Oh Pep! – Donal Dineen – John Daly – Bitch Falcon – Nialler9 – Anna Mieke – Seamus Fogarty – Cian Finn – Sunday Times – Strength NIA – Lilla Vargen – My Name Is John – Ryan Vail – Kevin Barry – Sim Simma – Bocs Social… with many more artists and activities still to be announced.

The village will feature three main venues, as well as a multitude of pop-up stages all over the 120 acre site. The swimming pool, with its wavemaker, slide, hot tub, and balmy conditions will host some steamy tropical party tunes from supreme DJs on Saturday and Sunday mornings, with some amazing aquatic audio and synchronized sounds. All leisure activities at Trabolgan like go-karting, archery, 5-a-side soccer, zip line, climbing walls, crazy golf ,and par 3 golf, will operate from during the daytime over the weekend. If that isn’t enough, the festival will also host some talks and walks around the Roches Point and Trabolgan area for those interested in a bit of history and a stroll.

Expect big sound, killer lighting and top live performances. Wordsmiths, MC’s, raconteurs and poets will be dropping rhymes and reason; art installations will be popping up, down, and around, the wooded valley on site; great food will be brought to you by some savage stalls and food trucks from only the finest local producers in the rebel county. It Takes A Village will be a home away from home with a musical soundtrack covering a broad palette of tastes, styles and rhythms. It’s a place to meet and make new friends whilst having modern conveniences, comfort and never being more than two minutes walk from your new home!

Ticket prices range from €205 – €255 (including booking fee) per person for Tier 1 booking options, and you must, with your friends, buddies, lovers, colleagues or family, book a house, apartment, or camper van ticket, for the weekend. It’s a collective ticket, with 2-9 sleeper options available. Tickets go on sale Thursday 7th December at 4pm from www.ittakesavillage.fmAvoid the rush and get early access on Wednesday 6th December by registering on the It Take A Village Facebook page.

It Takes A Village is brought to you by Cork entertainment mavericks The Good Room, Joe Kelly and Ed O’Leary. They are the guys behind Live At St Luke’s, Crosstown Drift and Fleischmann In The Glen at Cork Midsummer Festival, as well as many top class events and parties over the years. They never fail to create memorable experiences in unique spaces around the city and county of Cork, this will be no exception.

Instagram @itav2018

Cork comes out on top in YourDaysOut Awards

Well done too, to Quality Hotel and Fota Wildlife on their recent Golds, awarded by YourDaysOut. Well done also to Perks Entertainment Centre and Cork Harbour Boat Hire too on their well deserved Silver.

We always knew that Cork is one of Ireland’s top destinations for family breaks and fun days out.

Now we have the proof!

Thousands of people recently voted in the YourDaysOut Awards and they recently announced the winners of the top things to do in Ireland.

The winners were selected following thousands of votes spread across 161 entries in 9 different categories.

Cork collected two GOLD awards with the Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre in Youghal picking up top prize for Best Family Break and Fota Wildlife Park winning the Best Zoo/Aquarium category.

Cork also picked up four Silver awards with Leisureplex, Clonakilty Park Adventure Centre, Perks Entertainment Centre and Cork Harbour Boat Tours proving the county really is the perfect choice for a family get-away.

Ciaran Dunne, co-founder of YourDaysOut said, “Ireland has some amazing things to do all over the island and YourDaysOut gives people an easier way to find information and businesses a simple, cost-effective way to reach them.”

“The competition was exciting to run. Being only a new company, but one that is growing very fast, it provided us with a great opportunity to ask our audience about their favourite days out.”

Research shows that one out of every five domestic holiday trips is families travelling with children (850,000 per annum) while one in ten overseas visitors are travelling with their family.

Tourists don’t make decisions in isolation and research nearby attractions when considering hotels, while the latest tourism barometer from Failte Ireland shows that marketing campaigns have helped business performance in 2017. *

YourDaysOut – recently nominated for an Eir Spider for Digital Start-Up – is a great place to start researching your next trip, birthday party or family break.

Winners Quotes

General Manager of the Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre in Cork, Allen McEnery said:

‘We are delighted and grateful to be a Gold Winner in the Your Days Out Awards. This honour acknowledges the hard work of all at the hotel in delivering first-rate family breaks. We thank all who voted for us. The team at Your Days Out have created a brilliant resource for people looking for fun things to do in Ireland and we wish them every success in their nomination for Best Digital Start-Up 2017 in the eir Spiders awards next week.’


Each category has an overall Gold Winner and three Silver Runner-Ups.

Adventure Venues

  • Gold:  The Zone Extreme Activity Centre
  • Silver: Carlingford Adventure Centre
  • Silver: ODD, Cavan
  • Silver: Clonakilty Park Adventure Centre

Family Breaks

  • Gold:  Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre, Youghal
  • Silver: Hidden Valley Holiday Park, Wicklow
  • Silver: Delphi Lodge, Connemara
  • Silver: Shamrock Lodge Hotel

Indoor Venues

  • Gold:  Jump Zone, Sandyford & Santry
  • Silver: National Museums of Ireland
  • Silver: Jumplanes Adventure Centre, Galway
  • Silver: W5 Belfast

Party Venues

Pet Farms

  • Gold:  Kia Ora Mini Farm, Wexford
  • Silver: Clonfert Pet Farm, Kildare
  • Silver: Barrontop Farm, Strabane
  • Silver: Ardmore Open Farm, Waterford

Play Centres

  • Gold:  The Playcentre, Cavan
  • Silver: Base Entertainment Centre, Kildare
  • Silver: Puddenhill Activity Centre, Meath
  • Silver: Funky Monkeys Clare Hall & Dundrum

School Tours

  • Gold:  Castlecomer Discovery Park
  • Silver: SkyPark, Carlingford
  • Silver: Delphi Lodge, Connemara
  • Silver: Tayto Park

Water Activities

  • Gold:  Funtasia, Drogheda
  • Silver: Aquazone, Dublin
  • Silver: Cork Harbour Boat Tours
  • Silver: AquaDome, Kerry

Zoos & Aquariums

  • Gold:  Fota Wildlife Park, Cork
  • Silver: Dublin Zoo
  • Silver: Secret Valley Wildlife Park, Wexford
  • Silver: National Reptile Zoo

*Failte Ireland Tourism Barometer September 2017

For more information visit, like our Facebook page follow us on Twitter @yourdaysout_ire

Robin Hill House – Best of Both Pamper Package

Robin Hill House – Best of Both Pamper Package

“Best of Both Pamper Package”

  • Warming foot spa
  • Full body aromatherapy massage
  • Extended foot massage
  • Rejuvenating organic facial
  • Head massage
  • Light refreshments and sorbet €89

Overnight stay with continental breakfast  25% discount vouchers for 3 different restaurants in the town and local amenities.              €25pps

€15pp weekend supplement (Friday and Saturday)
€30 single supplement
€30 superior room upgrade

Contact Details
+353 (0) 21 4812222

Hundreds of wanna-be elf helpers queue for Beyond’s Dancing with the Elves!

Hundreds of wanna-be elf helpers queue for Beyond’s Dancing with the Elves!

Nearly 600 twinkle-toed helpers queued for the opportunity to be part of Beyond at Fota Island Resort this week, at auditions for elf helpers held in The Kingsley.

Answering a call from a certain gentleman in red, hundreds of applicants patiently waited to dress up and impress as elf helpers at Beyond’s Dancing with the Elves, the auditions held for Beyond at Fota Island Resort, this year’s magical winter event for all the family.

Photographed at The Kingsley Hotel Cork during the casting call for “BEYOND” the Christmas experience at Fota Island , Cork were: Ryan O`Sullivan, Tralee, Kayne O`Callaghan, Midleton and Ciara O`Niell, Cathedral Rd.

Each winter the gorgeous woodlands at Fota Island Resort are transformed by Santa and his magical elf helpers into a dramatic and exciting Christmas experience for the whole family with tickets going on sale for this year on September 29th. The weekend’s busy auditions could see over 100 lucky elf helpers taken on to help deliver this highly individual and utterly unique event.

Dancing with the Stars contestant, Dayl Cronin was there on the day to MC, with Santa Claus assisted in the judging seat by 2FM’s Jennifer Zamparelli and Red FM’s Izzy Showbizzy and Colm O’Sullivan. The judges were impressed by the level of talent this year, meeting 17 toy makers, 12 gingerbread men bakers, 2 elf nutritionists and even a reindeer whisperer amongst the potential assistants!

Beyond at Fota Island Resort runs from the 23rd of November to the 23rd of December. Individual tickets for Beyond at Fota Island Resort cost from €10 to €16 per adult and €15 to €26 per child, depending on dates and times, with children under one free, and tickets will be available from 29th September on

For further details on great value family packages which include early bird tickets to Beyond at Fota Island Resort see

2017 World Travel Awards – Spike Island Nominated

2017 World Travel Awards – Spike Island Nominated



Spike Island is nominated for Europe’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards 2017.  The awards are the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry and the highest accolade for any tourist site.  Up against the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower and the Mary Rose museum to name just a few, the winner will be decided on 30th September at a Gala ball in St Petersburg, Russia.

The island is also nominated for a Chambers Ireland award 2017, a Cork Business awards nomination and a Cork Digital Media award.

In the last 1300 years Spike Island has been home to rioters and redcoats, captains and convicts, monks and monasteries and sinners and saints.   Its beautiful 104 acres have housed an Island Monastery, Fortress, Prison and Homes and today the island can be reached by a short and scenic ferry from the heritage town of Cobh.  Once on the island visitors join Irelands best storytellers for a mesmerising insight into the personal stories of this unique corner of the Ancient East.

Enter the 200 year old Fort Mitchel, the 24 acre star shaped Fortress built to defend an empire that became the largest prison in the world in the 1850’s during the famine years.  2300 inmates were crammed into every corner of the star shaped Fortress.  Thousands of Irish men and women were transported to America and Australia from Spike Islands prison, and the island would be used by both the British and Irish army and navy before becoming a prison again in the 1980’s.

Todays visitors can explore the vast Fortress, enter the infamous Punishment block and modern prison cells, see Ireland’s largest military gun park, journey through deep tunnels to the harbour defence guns, enter the former childrens prison and explore the 104 acres of villages, beaches and grasslands.  Will you escape from Fortress Spike?

Fota Island Adventure at Fota Island Resort

Fota Island Adventure at Fota Island Resort www,

Another string to the bow at Fota Island Resort – Fota Island Adventure adds an extra layer of excitement to any visit

Hidden in the woods along the shoreline of Fota Island, part of the natural surroundings of Fota Island Resort, Fota Island Adventure is the perfect setting for a day packed full of excitement.

Whether it’s a family trip, a solo visit, a corporate retreat or a school tour, there is something for everyone at Fota Island Adventure. From water sports such as kayaking and SUPing, and forest activities like obstacle courses, bushcraft and finding the sniper – your adrenaline rush awaits.

At Fota Island Adventure all the instructors are expertly trained to the highest order, with many being ex-members of the Irish army, and this professional team put together a range of daily activities and bespoke packages designed to stimulate, challenge, build confidence and provide hours of fun!

There are dining options available at Fota Island Resort that can be organised at booking, or, if you are staying at the 5-star hotel or in the lodges at the Resort, you can also chill out in the award-winning spa after your busy adrenalin-fuelled day.

Individuals and Resort guests can book activities from just €20 per person, based on the timetable for that particular day, and corporate groups and teams at Fota Island Adventure can enjoy bespoke packages starting from €80, which include an evening meal.

Fota Island Adventure activities can be paired with any number of luxury add-ons, from overnight stays to the use of Fota Island Resort’s state of the art corporate meeting rooms, from an impressive BBQ area designed for team bonding and winding down to restorative spa treatments.

Large groups can be catered for by the Fota Island Adventure team and can design their own perfect day of activities, depending on numbers.

Apart from made to measure packages, Fota Island Adventure offers a combination of different scheduled activities every day. There is a watersports activity, the timing of which is entirely tide-dependant, which in turn, determines the schedule of the other activities, primarily a combination of field sports, survival training and games involving the obstacle courses.

Choose your activity from the long list of exciting water and woods-based options such as kayaking, SUPing (stand up paddling), canoeing, archery, combat archery (inflatable tag archery), target practice, find the sniper, bushcraft, orienteering, obstacle courses, inflatables and field games.

You’ll need swimwear, a towel, runners that you don’t mind getting wet, and, depending on the weather, either a fleece or thermals and a warm hat or sunscreen and sunglasses (with a string attached).

And then you’re ready to immerse yourself in the excitement of Fota Island Adventure!

Fota Island Adventure activities are suitable for all over the ages (children 8 and under must be accompanied with an adult or parent), with prices starting at €20 for one activity, a half day from €35, a full day’s activities from €60 and a week-long program from €150.

Timetables can be viewed online by searching

Contact Fota Island Adventure for further information on +353 21 488 3700 or

Facebook – Fota Island Resort

Twitter – @fotaisland

Instagram – fotaislandresort

#fotaislandadventure #FIA

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