Six unique things to do on your staycation in Cork

As the government continues to warn against non-essential travel this summer, people have been re-discovering this beautiful country of ours by booking a variety of staycations.
Six unique things to do on your staycation in Cork
A seal taking in some of the rare sunshine on the rocks near Garnish Island, Glengarriff.Pic: Brian Lougheed

As the government continues to warn against non-essential travel this summer, people have been re-discovering this beautiful country of ours by booking a variety of staycations or as the cool kids are now calling it, a localiday.

They range from booking a unique stay in their home country, travelling to a county they have never been to or splurging on that hotel they see the ‘whos who’ continuously check-in at.

And we’ve got a range of activities to do during your visit that will reignite your grá for Ireland.

Beginning with...

Cork

Cork While a foodie stroll around the English Market and a visit to the giraffe’s in Fota Wildlife Park is a must while in Cork, ‘the people’s capital’ have a lot more activities that will make you see the county in a different light.

Visit the seals near Garnish Island 

The Garnish Island Ferry shuttle service is run from the Main Pier in Glengarriff Co. Cork.

Take the short scenic cruise to the island aboard one of the Harbour Queen Ferries.

The trip will include a visit to the magical seal island where you will see a wonderful colony of up to 250 seals.

You should also look out for rare birds, such as white-tailed sea eagles, and you might even spot some dolphins.








Covid-19 update: If you wish to book seats on the ferry please call (027) 63116 the day before you wish to travel as numbers will be limited.

The Martello Tower will be closed as will Bryce House.

Time on Garinish Island will be limited to 90 minutes per visit due to Social Distancing Restrictions.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for further updates: https://www.facebook.com/garnishislandferry/

Gougane Barra 

Gougane Barra is a settlement, tucked away in a forest park west of Macroom in County Cork.

Covering over 339 acres it’s an ideal place to hike, get in touch with nature, picnic and inhale the fresh air.

Gougane Barra. Picture: Conor Lucey
Gougane Barra. Picture: Conor Lucey

Think Canadian Rockies with its sharp crags, high pine forests and panoramic views sweeping down the lake. It is in these hills where the River Lee rises, flowing to Cork Harbour approximately 89km away.

Steeped in history, there is a tiny island at the edge of the lake at the entrance to the Forest Park where St. Finbarr, patron saint of Cork, founded his early Christian monastery in the 6th century.

Paddleboard down the Lee

Take a stand-up paddleboard tour through Cork City centre.

Cork City SUP’s experienced guides will firstly teach you how to paddle and stand, then continue around the city via the Lee river, going under some of Cork's most famous bridges and past well known landmarks.

On the tour, they’ll point out some of Cork city’s historical buildings and key features of the City. The experience takes about 2 hours of which 90 minutes is on the water.

Don’t worry, according to their website, it’s “suitable for even the most unbalanced person” 

Adopt a donkey at the Donkey Sanctuary

The Donkey Sanctuary is located in Liscarroll, Mallow and home to 134 donkeys who at one point in their lives were in need of rescuing.

The sanctuary's mission is to transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules and people worldwide through greater understanding, collaboration and support, and by promoting lasting, mutually life-enhancing relationships.

A foal born at The Donkey Sanctuary during the Covid-19 lockdown has been aptly named Lockie.
A foal born at The Donkey Sanctuary during the Covid-19 lockdown has been aptly named Lockie.

You can even adopt one of the adorable animals and help them in their work of improving the lives of countless donkeys throughout Ireland.

Your adoption of €25 will last one year. For this you will receive:

  • An official certificate 
  • A pencil drawing 
  • A bio sheet 
  • A twice yearly report 

Covid-19 update: 

The Donkey Sanctuary Open Farm is temporarily closed to the public but hopes to re-open very soon. Keep an eye and their Facebook page for more details.

Night Kayaking at Lough Hyne

Cork, specifically West Cork is known for its award-winning seafood selection and surf spots but there’s one water-based activity that tends to pass under the radar.

Kayaking - Night Kayaking to be exact.

Atlantic Sea Kayaking are known for their Starlight Moonlight tours which promise to be as magical as they sound.

Toy Soldier Factory 

Ireland’s only Toy Soldier Factory is located in Kilnamartyra (which is halfway between Killarney town and Cork City on the main N22 road - only a short distance from Macroom town).

A look around the factory itself is free to the public but for €12 you can take part in their 60min Make and Paint workshops, where you can cast and paint your very own toy solider to bring home with you.

How it works:

Choose your mould from 49 different moulds ranging from toy soldiers to football players, ballerinas and fairies. Your figure is then cast right before your eyes. Next visit the creative corner, choose your colours and you are then free to paint the figure however you like.

Once you have finished painting, you take your piece home.

Covid-19 update: Due to Social distancing guidelines, they are selling tables not individual workshops and pre-booking is essential.

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