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A weekend in Cork

Posted Feb 15 2013 4:06am

One of my resolutions for this year was to travel + explore more in Ireland. We’ve lived here for nearly a year now and yet barely travelled outside of Dublin. I decided that any time we had a long weekend free we would take the opportunity to travel.  Last weekend I had 4 days off work so we decided to head to Cork.

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We left early Saturday morning on the aircoach which took around 3 hours, thankfully stopping half way for a toilet break as there wasn’t one on board and I was ridiculously desperate! I packed some quinoa porridge for the bus so snacked on that during the journey. We got to Cork around lunchtime, the drive was beautiful, it was a stunning day and so bright and beautiful. We left our bags at our hotel which was on the top of an enormous hill- rivalling San Francisco hills here!- and we set off to explore.

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Our first port of call was lunch and we headed to Gourmet Burger Bistro as it was pretty much the first place we passed! I had the falafel burger, which was 4 little balls of falafel. I had it minus the bun, and it came with two lovely salads, and some delicious fresh hummus as well as some homebaked fries- though sweet potato would have been better!

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We headed into the city centre, and wandered round the shops and the main city sights like the English market, which was totally amazing! I found this little organic shop and bought the best fresh medjool dates I have ever tasted, they were super pricey but worth every cent! We popped in and out of a few health stores, although I didn’t pick up much other than these ridiculously amazing raw chocolate coated mulberries which lasted all of about 4 days, so so good.

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We headed back to the hotel late afternoon and stopped off at a cute little tea shop where they had the most amazing range of loose leaf teas. I bought 3 although I could have bought the whole store, everything smelled amazing. I have tried the mate and rooibos ones so far and they are fantastic, can’t wait to try the fruity one either!

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We headed back out in the evening to the Quay Co-Op which is an institution in the Cork vegetarian scene. The health shop was closed but we dined upstairs at the quirky little restaurant.

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There was plenty of choice on the menu, it reminded me a lot of Cornucopia in Dublin. I had the sweet and sour tofu with brown rice, sprouted salad and some cabbage in ginger and tamari which was amazing! Nick wasn’t too hungry after a huge burger and massive portion of onion rings at lunch so he went for the spring greens soup, which I tried and was also lovely. I followed this up with a fennel tea and a slice of the vegan chocolate cake, most of the cakes were just veggie but they had that option and a flapjack which was also vegan. I usually never get dessert, so this was a nice treat, I have no idea on the ingredients, but it was pretty good. Nick thought it was an adequate alternative!

On Sunday we had a leisurely morning walk around the town and went for brunch at a place called Cafe 14. I had an enormous bowl of porridge made with water and customised it by adding some almonds and a banana that I had in my bag! I also had a fresh grapefruit juice. Nick had a full Irish! We headed off at lunchtime for an afternoon tour of Blarney Castle and Cobh.

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I kissed the Blarney Stone which is supposed to land me 7 years of eloquence! It was pretty terrfying as you lean backwards over the grate to kiss the stone. We stopped for a tea in a lovely little cafe/deli on the site and I also had a nakd bar and an apple to keep me going. We then headed to Cobh which was a little fishing village type town, which was the last stop the Titanic made, and also the site of mass emigration out of Ireland. We had a beer in a pub there and I bought a bag of popcorn as I was getting hungry as we didn’t have any lunch.

We headed back to the hotel and then went for dinner at a lovely Thai restaurant called Banna-Thai. I had a really nice yellow curry which was veggie (no fish sauce thank you!) and had loads of yummy tofu and a variety of vegetables. It was really really good, the coconut milk sauce was totally amazing! We had a little wander around the town and then headed back to the hotel.

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On Monday we headed to the English market and I got a fresh vegetable juice for breakfast, Nick went with a strawberry + banana smoothie. We had another browse around the market, I bought some more dates, and a mini kabocha squash, first kabocha I have found in Ireland, it was so delicious!

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We then headed to the O’Conaill chocolate shop for breakfast part 2- hot choc. This place did the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted!

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I had the dark chocolate with orange and cinnamon- although I could have picked from so many of the flavours!-and had it with soya milk. It came with chocolate drops on the side, I traded Nick his dark ones, which I then added to the drink and they were so melty and delicious. This was so amazing, I totally could have drank another ha! I bought a bar of their 100% chocolate, which is so outrageously bitter, I love it, I’m going to add a tad to my hot chocolate when I make it at home, although that isn’t very often!

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We headed to Vibes and Scribes which was an amazing 2nd hand bookshop, I could have stayed all afternoon browsing around the store. I bought a Paulo Coelho, Gabriel Garcia Marquez book, and the 80/10/10 book by Dr McDougall- I just love reading nutrition books! We quickly headed to marks and spencer’s and I picked up some carrot sticks/hummus, some fruit and some baked edamame to have for lunch on the coach home- I wanted the superfood salad, but no sign :( . We headed back to Dublin where the view was decidedly bleaker, it rained the entire journey home!

I had a great time in Cork, it was very relaxing and lovely to be somewhere and do something different. Can’t wait to explore more of Ireland!

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