The Spa at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork launches an impressive spa refurbishment with a new Sweet Retreat stay

Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork is a warm and inviting destination on the doorstep of Cork city and a beautiful blend of the eighteenth century Ditchley House – a fine listed manor house, impeccably restored – and two contemporary wings. Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork is also home to an impressive Spa, now recently refurbished to elegant and welcoming effect.

The recent €100,000 refurbishment designed by the team at Adrian McCarthy Interiors has created a chic series of interiors in The Spa at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork, with glowing pools of light from the new mood lighting, a cooling new air conditioning system, stylish herringbone parquet floors underfoot and striking wall treatments, all contributing to an atmosphere of luxurious relaxation. With nine treatment rooms, sauna, steam room and relaxation suites, The Spa uses gorgeous Elemis treatment products, Lycon waxing, Gelish and OPI nail care for manicures and pedicures and, most recently, offers the exquisite handmade bath & body products from Australia’s Peppermint Grove.

To celebrate the new look and the exceptional new experience of a treatment at The Spa at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork, there is a special Sweet Retreat available which includes a choice of two treatments from a selection including a Mini Facial, Swedish Back Massage, Indian Head Massage, Full Body Scrub or a Full Body Wrap.

Followed by a leisurely Afternoon Tea experience served in the hotel’s Maestro Restaurant, Sweet Retreat includes an overnight stay in one of the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork’s contemporary, inviting rooms, overlooking the surrounding landscape of Little Island. Sweet Retreat at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork includes two spa treatments, afternoon tea and an overnight stay with breakfast and is available from €130 per person sharing.
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Unnerving & Abiding Maritime Mystery – The Youghal Connection

As we approach our Spooky Wookey season when it’s all “Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggie beasties”, I feel it timely to remind you of the Youghal link to a particularly Spooky Wookey occurrence at sea, back in the late 1800s. I write, of course, of the great unresolved maritime mystery – the “Mary Celeste”.
The story begins on Nov 7th 1872 when the sailing vessel “Mary Celeste” set out from New York, bound for Genoa, in Italy. On board were the Captain, Benjamin Briggs, his wife, his 2-year old daughter, together with his experienced 7-man crew and a cargo of 1700 barrels of industrial alcohol. All fair sailing and ship ahoy etc. etc.…..nothing unusual about that! However, just 28 days later “Mary Celeste” was spotted, adrift and abandoned, sails slightly damaged, but its cargo intact, by a Sea Captain Moorhouse, on board his ship “Dei Gratia”. This was strange, very strange….ship not manned, her food and water reserves in order, though her lifeboat was missing. There was even a meal prepared and there were glowing embers in the stove. Curiouser and curiouser!
Where was the Briggs family? Where was the crew? …What happened? NOBODY KNOWS!
There has been and still is huge speculation and many theories as to what happened, including piracy, angry sea gods, mutiny, severe waterspout, even alien abduction, as to what occurred on the Mary Celeste – all discounted.
Captain Moorhouse and his crew took “Mary Celeste” to Gibraltar and were eventually, though subject to suspicion by the Gibraltar Attorney General, awarded salvage and commended for their resourcefulness and courage.
So what happened to the “Mary Celeste” after that? Well now, she did not have a happy ending – She was sold by Captain Moorhouse & Co at a considerable loss. She subsequently lost lots of money sailing the West Indian shipping routes and tragically, 3 of her captains died in service. She was not instilling much confidence within her industry. She succumbed to the deep when she was deliberately steered into a reef off the coast of Haiti and wrecked, by Gilman C. Parker, a less than honest captain. He was attempting an insurance scam (yes, insurance fraud even back in 1884). He was charged with fraud, found guilty, imprisoned and died shortly afterwards.
Now we come to the “Dei Gratia” and the Youghal connection. Eventually, I hear you say!
Well, here it is. The “Dei Gratia”, she that discovered “The Ghost Ship”, was sold in 1881 to the successful Youghal shipping merchant, Martin Fleming. She continued to operate in and out of the busy Youghal harbour until 1907. “Dei Gratia” too had her own share of troubles though– she sank twice, was re-floated twice, thus gaining an “unlucky” tag in her industry. She ended her days as a coal hulk at Cobh. Today, the story is that she lies buried under one of the piers at Haulbowline Island, Co. Cork.
The Youghal shipping merchant, Martin Fleming, continued in his successful shipping business and went on to purchase the beautiful “The Kathleen and May” in 1908 to replace the Dei Gratia and to join her sister ship the first “Nellie Fleming” – Ships that are much loved by the Youghal and East Cork population.
On the 23rd morning she came on a craft
That was drifting like fog from the west
The crew were amazed that the ship was afloat
With no man on the Mary Celeste”
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Our Top Halloween Experiences

Mid Term break is just around the corner and the Ring of Cork is full of exciting things to do this Spooktacular Halloween break. Whether you’re looking for some scary activities to try with friends or searching for some fun Halloween fun with the kids, there is plenty on offer along the Ring of Cork. In this blog post, we are going to share with you some of our favourite spooky activities to try this Halloween break. You are guaranteed to gather some spooky tips and tricks.

At Ballymaloe’s BOO, you can follow the theatrical trail full of spooky characters and magic spells. This spooky activity is an interactive experience which will allow you to meet some exciting characters throughout the trail full of spells. It is suitable for both younger and older kids. BOO takes place in Ballymaloe from the 25th to the 31st of October between 10am to 5pm. The earlier shows between 10am to 1pm are aimed at the young kids and after 2pm, the lights go down and the scare levels rise for the full experience. The full Halloween experience will tell a story as you move through the interactive experience, meet characters, solve puzzles and much more. Book your tickets here.

If you are looking for a unique activity to get the fear and adrenaline pumping this spooky holiday, be sure to try the Escapade Cobh. These escape rooms are a great activity for a group of friends to work together to solve a puzzle and escape the room before the time is up. There are lots of different rooms you can try, from “Escape from Spike Island”, “Late Night Bank Heist” or you can even help “Sherlock Holmes” to solve his final case. It is the perfect activity to try this Halloween with friends. For more details check out their website here. 

If you are looking for a fun family day out, the Spooky Town at Fota Island Resort is exactly what you are looking for this midterm break. Located in the spooky woodlands at Fota Island Resort, you wander through the spooky town to find all creatures along the way. Get into the scary Halloween spirit as you make your way through the forest full of graveyards, witches, pumpkins, ghosts and much more. Spooky Town is open from Friday the 25th of October to Friday the 1st of November and is ready to give you a spooktacular experience.  Book your tickets here. (Link the ‘here’ with

If you are looking to take the kids out for some Halloween fun this midterm break, why not check out Leahy’s Open Farm as it hosts BOO. Experience the haunted hay rides, explore the witches forest, hear the scary stories and have lots of fun with Halloween games. Be careful the witch doesn’t put a magic spell on you! If you want to add even more excitement to the day, you can book for chocolate lollipop making or pumpkin carving fun. This event is taking place on Saturday the 19th of October, Sunday the 20th of October and from the 26th of October until the 1st of November between the time of 11am – 4pm.  Book your tickets here.  

Nothing beats getting out in the fresh air during the midterm break and we have the perfect place to do this. Be sure to go and check out the self-guided Halloween Ramble around Fota Arboretum and Victorian Working Garden. Why not pop on your Halloween costume and explore this daytime adventure. Follow the trail to the end and pick up a little treat back at the house. This spooky trail runs from Saturday the 26th to Monday the 28th of October and also on Halloween, Thursday the 31st of October. For all the information, you can check it out here. 

If you are really looking for a scare, this experience is for you. Spike Island After Dark wont fail to get your heart racing and put chills down your spine. Walk the abandoned prison at dark, sit in a solitary cell and experience this prison island and all its secrets at night. Learn about the frightening history which isn’t for the weak hearted. Are you brave enough to experience the haunted island after dark this Halloween? Be sure to book your tickets if you dare here. 

Fota Wildlife Park is always fun but it is even more fun when there are lots of Halloween events taking place. Go and explore the park with all it’s wonderful animals and enjoy the extra Halloween treats around the park. From the 28th of October to the 3rd of November, the park will be full of extra events from spooky arts & crafts, fearsome face painting and animals of Halloween exhibitions. You can check out all the details of the events here. 

If Spike Island After Dark is a little too scary for you, a day time tour might be more a little easier on the heart! In the last 1300 years Spike Island, has been host to a 6th century Monastery, a 24 acre Fortress, the largest convict depot in the world in Victorian times and centuries of island homes. The island’s rich history has included monks and monasteries, rioters and redcoats, captains and convicts and sinners and saints. Today the island is dominated by the 200 year old Fort Mitchel which became a prison holding over 2300 prisoners. Take a tour and learn about the history of Spike Island. For more information check out their website here. 

Another great family day out this Halloween is at Rumley’s Open Farm. A Halloween theme will take over the farm from the 26th of October to the 4th of November. Explore the farm and discover the witches, pumpkins, tractor rides, face painting and enjoy lots of spooky treats. On Monday the 29th of October, you can enjoy a disco between 2:30pm – 5:30pm with a live DJ. The disco will include games, sweets, spot prizes, fancy dress competition, face painting and much more. For more information check out their website here.

Trabolgan is always full of fun and excitement and this Halloween they have added lots of additional Halloween activities to their schedule. In addition to their normal activities such as swimming, crazy golf, go karting, zip lining and much more, you can enjoy lots of additional fun over the Halloween break. Some of the Halloween schedule includes spooky Halloween trails, spooky mansions Halloween show, catch the witch games, fancy dress, Biddidy Bobbidy Boo at the plaza, pop goes the pumpkin, poison apple making, superhero spooktacular, family pumpkin parties and much more. Book in for a few nights at Trabolgan or even visit with a day pass. For all the information, check out their website here.
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Spectacular Autumn Walks Along The Ring of Cork

Exploring the Ring of Cork’s beauty throughout the Autumn season is one of the most magical experiences. The best way to explore is to get out in nature, breathe in the fresh air and listen to the crunch of the leaves under your feet. You are guaranteed to get mesmerised in the spectacular Autumnal colours and breathtaking scenery.
In this blog post, we are going to list some of our favourite walks along The Ring of Cork this Autumn season. We will also share some fun experiences and tasty gems you can try after your refreshing walk. Nothing beats the fresh Autumn air as you enjoy the spectacular scenery on offer along the Ring of Cork.

The Ballycotton Cliff walk is one of the most beautiful walks in Ireland. It consists of 5 miles of cliff to the beach in Ballytrasna. Walk along the worn footpath and take in the unbelievable views. This coastal cliff walk is known for its spectacular scenery, wildlife and natural beauty. If you are looking for a fun activity  afterwards, be sure to head out on the water with Ballycotton Sea Adventures for a guided tour around Ballycotton Island, Ballycotton lighthouse and the picturesque coastline. And if you have built up an appetite with the sea air, there is something to tickle everybody’s taste buds at Pier 26. Their menu offers a wide choice from their famous Seafood Chowder and Confit free range duck leg to slow roast pork belly and Ballycotton hake.

The Ballincollig regional park is a popular gem along the Ring of Cork, located on the South bank of the River Lee. One of the key features of this park is you feel like you are in the countryside without having to travel far outside the city. People are drawn to its natural landscape and peaceful walks. Many trails take you through the forest where you have fresh flowers along the pathway and you can enjoy the peace and tranquility. There are lots of paths to choose from, all twisting and turning back and forth from the water, so you can make your walk as long or as short as you like. Each walk allows you to enjoy the beautiful scenery in the park. After your walk, you can grab a coffee and a homemade treat at Café Chico which is based in the historic Regional Park and relax overlooking the water.

Crosshaven is one of the most picturesque spots along the Ring of Cork for an Autumn walk. A very popular walk is from Kilnagleary, near Carrigaline, which brings you right into Crosshaven. This walk runs along the old Cork to Crosshaven railway line which was in use from 1904 to 1932. As you walk along the path, you have the Owenabue River by your side all the way to Crosshaven. You can take in the beautiful surroundings, observe the wildlife and breathe in the fresh sea air. When you get to Crosshaven, you can grab a bite to eat in Cronin’s Pub. This gem is known for its fresh seafood, divine mussels and delicious dishes.

The boardwalk in Youghal offers a beautiful walk into the town. The Eco-Boardwalk is a 400 metre hardwood panelled beach walkway, stretching from Front Strand Beach to Claycastle Beach. It is an ideal for buggies, wheelchair users and small bikes. You can build up an appetite on your walk and enjoy a bite to eat in Youghal town in Ahernes Townhouse and Seafood restaurant. Taste the finest fish, freshly caught seafood, locally reared beef and lamb and much more.

The Ring of Cork is known for its breathtaking coastline so it has an abundance of beach walks to enjoy the fresh sea air. Some of the most spectacular spots for walks are Redbarn and Claycastle in Youghal, Rocky Bay near Crosshaven and the secluded White Bay beach near Whitegate. Other local favourites include Youghal Front Strand, Myrtleville Beach near Crosshaven and the very popular Fountainstown which has a direct bus service from the city.
And that’s not all, you also have Inch Beach near Aghada, Garryvoe Beach, Ardnahinch beach, Ballynamona in Shanagarry, Ballycroneen Beach near Cloyne and the quieter Ballywilling Beach near Garryvoe. You are spoilt for choice with beautiful, picturesque beaches to walk along this Autumn.

If you are looking for an escape from the city, Farran Wood is exactly what you are looking for. It is located just off Inniscarra Lake and is surrounded by views of the lake, forest and countryside. You can enjoy a walk throughout the forest and pick from lots of different paths, some which offer a relaxed walk while others offer a more challenging walk. One of our favourite walks is the lake walk as the views are breathtaking. If you are looking for a bit of an adrenaline pumping experience while in Farran Wood, you can check out ZIPIT Forest Adventure and explore the forest on the treetops or by zipping through the trees.

A walk which is very popular with the locals is the Grassy and Cliff Walk in Crosshaven. It is a walk that will take your breath away as it offers spectacular views of the harbour from start to finish. The walk takes you along the Point Road until you reach The Grassy Walk at the end of the road. You can climb up the path to the most sensational viewing area. You have breathtaking views of Spike Island, Haulbowline and Cobh. You can continue the walk or return to the village along Camden road. If you continue the walk you will be brought along the cliff on a well-worn path which will bring you down to Graball Bay. After your walk, you can go experience Camden Fort Meagher which is a coastal defence fortification located in Crosshaven. 65% of the fort is located underground in a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers. The fort was built to defend the mouth of Cork Harbour in the 16th century.

If you are looking for a woodland walk in East Cork, Glenbower Wood won’t disappoint. It is located in the friendly town of Killeagh as you take the turn off by the Old Thatch pub in the village. You can walk through the forest trail and enjoy the surroundings in this picturesque gem. As you enter the park, you can take one of the beautiful trails on offer. Go for a walk in this peaceful destination, enjoy the fresh autumn air and admire the vibrant leaves changing colour. The perfect walk this Autumn.

Heritage walks are always a great way to explore and learn something new about an area. Glanmire Heritage society have put together three walks to promote heritage and culture in Glanmire. You can enjoy the Sallybrook Walk, the Glashaboy Walk and the Rathconney Walk and download the walk guides here. A great way to learn about the history, culture and people. After your walk, you could grab a bite to eat in the Elm in Glounthaune. Enjoy their Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese Salad at lunch time, their slow cooked lamb shank or madras chicken curry on the a la carte menu or pop in on a Sunday for their famous carvery Sunday lunch. The perfect way to end the day after your Autumn walk.

Fota House is surrounded by the most spectacular gardens which are perfect for a fresh Autumn walk. If you are looking for a tranquil walk, we would highly recommend Fota’s internationally recognised arboretum and gardens. The gardens are open all year and offer a walk full of tranquility and serenity. The palm walk, orangery and atmospheric Victorian fernery are not to be missed during your visit. You can tickle your taste buds after the walk in Fota Island Resort with their popular Thai style cuisine at Spike bar.

Nothing beats a walk in the woods in the Autumn. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy nature and listen to the sound of the crunchy Autumn leaves under your feet. The Ring of Cork has lots to choose from when it comes to picking a wood to enjoy nature. Some of our favourites include Ballyannan Woods in Midleton, Castlemartyr Woods, Currabinny Woods near Carrigaline, Glenbower Woods in Killeagh, Marlogue Woods in Cobh and Rostellan Woods, Aghada and of course Farran Woods near Ovens.

It is always a good idea to do a walking tour to learn more about an area. You may think you know an area very well but you will always discover new things on a walking tour. Learn things about the place you mightn’t have ever known before. You can discover the history of Youghal on this Happy Feet Walking tour. Join their walking tour and go on a journey through time to hear stories of witchcraft, piracy, famine and espionage. After all that walking you might be looking for a bite to eat and we would recommend the ‘Red Store Restaurant’. The original Grain Store dates back to the 1900’s and is now known as a great spot for food in the busy seaside town.

The Knockadoon looped walk is a beautiful walk which gives you a mixture of cliff, track and road throughout. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery, breathe in the fresh sea air and observe the wildlife surrounding you. The walk begins on the cliff edge which spectacular scenery along the path. It then turns inland to return to Knockadoon Pier by road. After your walk, you could take a trip to the Kilkenny Café in the Shanagarry Design Centre to enjoy some afternoon delight with their home baking and barista coffee.

If you are looking for a few walks to try this Autumn, you can download the new Ring of Cork Heritage Trail. It allows you to explore the heritage and learn about the stories along the Ring of Cork. It has over 35 places to visit so you will be spoilt for choice. You can pick up a A3 map from your local tourist office our download it here.
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