Wonderfully tranquil and restful, Hayfield Manor – Cork, Ireland stands in two acres of mature gardens close to the city centre. The ultimate urban retreat, the hotel has a gourmet restaurant, a bistro and a six-treatment room spa.

Set at the end of a tree-lined path, the hotel is as pretty as a picture with the look and feel of a period manor house. Rooms and suites are well proportioned, decorated in tasteful muted colours with beautiful antique furnishings and exquisite fabrics.

Sink into a comfy leather Chesterfield in the library, next to a roaring fire or opt for an indulgent afternoon tea in the bright and airy drawing room.

A ten-minute stroll takes into the vibrant centre of Cork with its smart boutiques and lively arts and music culture. There are two highly reputable golf courses close to Hayfield Manor Hotel or try a spot of river or sea fishing.

Despite a new build just 20 years ago, the Scully family owners haved retained a period-property feel to Hayfield Manor. The commanding double-wing oak staircase replicates the one from the first house design, while the lobby marble fireplace is original. Georgian-style windows, antiques and plasterwork details throughout the hotel add to the estate house atmosphere. Thick carpets and rich furnishings in gold and beige with navy and brown accents set a luxurious tone, supported by attentive, yet unobtrusive staff. A pretty, walled garden, inspired by Muckross House gardens in Killarney, can be accessed via the residents’ library/lounge, Orchids restaurant or pool area. The grounds and trees, some dating more than 150 years, have been carefully retained.

ACCOMMODATION

Each of the hotel’s 88 bedrooms is uniquely decorated and has a distinctive touch. All feature air-conditioning as well as individually controlled heating, tea/coffee facilities, a free-standing ironing board and iron, a 32” flat-screen television, notebook-sized safe and Elemis toiletries. Standard rooms are a generous 300 sqft and decorated in soothing gold tones with white linens. Deluxe rooms have a garden view and Nespresso machines. A Master Suite overlooking Cork city features a working fireplace, whirlpool bath and large lounge area. Many rooms can be interconnected for groups – a popular option with extended families.

DINING

Hayfield Manor has two primary restaurants. Perrotts has a casual atmosphere in a bright conservatory, open for both lunch and dinner. Popular with residents and Corkonians alike, the menu has a wide range of modern Irish-style options based on locally sourced ingredients. Beetroot-cured salmon, chicken confit and black pudding salad mix with more traditional dishes such as fish and chips or homemade beef burgers.

The hotel’s premier restaurant is Orchids, which has garden views. Producers are listed on the menu and Executive Chef Mark Staples focuses on seasonal and sustainable ingredients. The menu is also modern Irish, with an upmarket slant: typical main choices might include seared monkfish marinated in black pearl curry with white onion risotto, beef filet with beef cheek, and chargrilled aubergine with beetroot, puy lentils and Toonsbridge mozzarella. Junior gourmands are offered their own menu.

Afternoon Tea at the Hayfield is extremely popular with guests and locals. A variety of specialty teas and coffees are on offer, as well as prosecco or mulled wine to accompany sandwiches, pastries and tea breads. The Manor Bar also serves food throughout the day such as sandwiches, salads, pastries and desserts. Breakfast for residents is extensive with a broad range of hot and cold options, including a quinoa salad.

CORK, IRELAND

The compact city centre is set on an island in the River Lee, surrounded by waterways and packed with grand Georgian avenues, cramped 17th-century alleys, modern masterpieces such as the opera house, and narrow streets crammed with pubs, shops, cafes and restaurants, fed by arguably the best foodie scene in the country.


IRELAND

Everything you’ve heard is true: Ireland is a stunner. The Irish need little prodding to proclaim theirs the most beautiful land in the world, and will support their claim with examples, from the brooding loneliness of Connemara to the dramatic wildness of Donegal and the world-famous scenery of counties Kerry and Cork. Northern Ireland might be in a different country, but it’s very much the same land and you’ll find beauty throughout the region, from the mountains of Mourne to the lakelands of Roscommon and its own scenic star turn along the Antrim Coast.

Tread Carefully…

History is everywhere, from the breathtaking monuments of prehistoric Ireland at Brú na Bóinne, Slea Head in Kerry and Carrowmore in Sligo, to the fabulous ruins of Ireland’s rich monastic past at Glendalough, Clonmacnoise and Cashel. The island’s newest tourism venture, Ireland’s Ancient East, is all about the country’s rich heritage. More recent history is visible in the Titanic Experience in Cobh and the forbidding Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. And there’s history so young that it’s still considered the present, best experienced on a black-taxi tour of West Belfast or an examination of Derry’s colourful political murals.

A Cultural Well

It’s become almost trite to declare that Ireland operates a cultural surplus. Its main strengths are the literary and musical fields, where Ireland has long punched well above its weight, but Ireland is well represented in most other fields too. Wherever you go you will discover an abundance of cultural expression. You can attend a play by a literary great in Dublin, toe-tap your way through a traditional-music ‘session’ in a west-of-Ireland pub or get your EDM on at a club in Belfast. The Irish summer is awash with festivals celebrating everything from flowers in bloom to high literature.

Tá Fáilte Romhat

On the plane and along your travels you might hear it said: tá Fáilte romhat (taw fall-cha row-at) – you’re very welcome. Or, more famously, céad míle fáilte – a hundred thousand welcomes. Irish friendliness is an over-simplification of a character that is infinitely complex, but the Irish are nonetheless warm and welcoming. But this isn’t just altruism, as the comfort they seek is actually their own, for the Irish cannot be at ease in the company of those who aren’t. A hundred thousand welcomes. It seems excessive, but in Ireland, excess is encouraged, so long as it’s practised in moderation.

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