Saturday 17 August 2019

Cork, Limerick and Portlaoise: 8 reasons to visit in 2017

Áine O Donnell

Extend the festive cheer this Christmas with the gift of wonderful hotel experiences in 2017.

With so many great events taking place around the country next year, there is plenty to look forward to in 2017. Check out what’s happening and how you can use a Maldron Hotel Gift Card to give the ones you love an unforgettable getaway experience next year.

Pre-empt those dreaded January blues and treat someone you love this Christmas with the surprise of a break away. It’s a small island, but there are so many amazing places to choose from here in Ireland, so here's a preview of three great destinations to help you decide on your next staycation:

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Cork

Down south, it’s different: this is especially true for Cork city. Known as the People’s Republic, it has plenty to offer from the English Market to some of Ireland’s best pubs. You are only 15 minutes from the Blarney Stone and believe me, you’ll need the gift of the gab to keep up with the fast-paced brogue of native Corkonians.  The compact city centre is busting with great restaurants and beautiful Georgian buildings. Something you might not expect is some of the captivating street art that adorns the city walls. Once you have finished checking out the Rebel City, it hosts some of the best festivals and events in the country.

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Maldron Hotel Cork is in the very heart of the city so park your car and explore the city on foot. The hotel is just around the corner from St Anne’s Tower where you can ring the Shandon Bells that can be heard all over Cork city. You are just half an hour from Kinsale if you want to spend an afternoon in the seaside village. The hotel is located close to the main shopping and tourist areas, making it the ideal location for experiencing all that Cork city has to offer. For some down time, relax and enjoy Club Vitae Health & Fitness Club with 20m pool, sauna, steam room and spa pool.

Cork Harbour Festival (3- 10 June 2017)

Cork ahoy! This celebration of all things nautical takes place in Cork Harbour. The big finale for the programme is the Ocean to City race, a long distance 28km rowing race from the ocean into Cork city. While the event started as a strictly traditional event for fixed seat boats, this has developed into an ‘anything goes’ policy in more recent years with everything from kayaks to paddleboards welcome. If you are more of a landlubber, the Cork marathon is part of the festival calendar on June 5. For updated information on the full programme, keep an eye on corkharbourfestival.com.

Live at the Marquee (9 June- 14 July 2017)

Picture This, The Coronas, Cliff Richard, Elbow, Elton John, Nathan Carter, Gavin James and Christy Moore. Is this the world’s most random Spotify playlist? No, it’s the line-up for Live at the Marquee this summer. The Cork festival has had some of the world’s biggest acts grace their tent over the years and 2017 is no exception. Elton John can’t get enough of Cork city with this year being his fourth time playing the Marquee. As they say, if it’s good enough for Elton! To book tickets and for details on all the gigs, log onto aikenpromotions.com.

City Spectacular (15- 16 July 2017)

We have all heard the quote “all the world’s a stage” and it is especially true for the performers at this special festival! The City Spectacular brings the best street performers from all over the world to Cork’s Fitzgerald Park for one weekend only. Prepare to be amazed: last year’s performers ranged from contortionists to card tricksters to circus acts. After all that you will certainly have worked up an appetite and thankfully, Just Eat have a mini food festival where you can sample over 15 cuisines from around the world. The best part? Entry is free. Click here for updated information on all the acts and the festival programme.

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival (27- 30 October 2017)

Jazz up your Halloween Bank Holiday with a trip to Cork city. It has been home to Ireland’s biggest jazz festival since 1978 with over 40,000 jazz fans visiting the city each year. With over 100 world class acts playing in 70 venues across the city, the hard part will be whittling down just who to see. Most of the events are free of charge, leaving you with enough change for a night cap after a jazz packed day. There are options every year for the jazz novice with Bell X1 and Rodrigo Y Gabriela playing the festival last year. Follow corkjazzfestival.com for the latest information on this year’s programme.

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Limerick

Some of Ireland’s greatest exports in recent years like comedy duo The Rubberbandits and critics’ darling Ruth Negga have put their hometown of Limerick on the world stage. The city at the mouth of the River Shannon has a rich medieval history typified by one of Limerick’s most popular attractions: King John’s Castle on the former Viking stronghold of King’s Island. Limerick also holds one of country’s oldest markets, the Milk Market located on Mungret Street with the popular food market taking place every Saturday. Make sure to catch a gig in the city’s famous pub Dolan’s which has live music every night of the week. With amazing festivals and events scheduled throughout the year, there is plenty to do.

Maldron Hotel Limerick is just off the M7 from Dublin on the outskirts of Limerick city. Ideally located just minutes from the bustling and lively city, visit local attractions including King Johns Castle, the Hunt Museum, the Treaty Stone and Thomond Park. The hotel is close to all the main shopping areas and families can enjoy the spacious family rooms, kids club and Club Vitae leisure centre with 20m swimming pool.

Munster vs Connacht (May 5)

You can’t make a visit to Limerick without seeing a match at Thomond Park. The stadium in the middle of Limerick city has an unrivalled atmosphere and holds a special place in the heart of every Munster rugby fan. Watch Munster finish off their Pro 12 season with a home game against neighbours and rivals Connacht on May 5. This is a chance to see Ireland stars and teammates like Conor Murray and Kieran Marmion face off in what is set to be a Thomond thriller. All you need to do now is pull on your Munster colours and get practicing ‘The Fields of Athenry’. To book tickets and to find out more about the game, click here.

Riverfest (28 April- 1 May 2017)

This festival is the River Shannon like you have never seen it before. Riverfest kicks off the Irish summer with a watersport stunt spectacular. World champions in the sports of flyboarding, wakeboarding and jet skiing perform stunts for crowds of over 40,000 throughout the May Bank Holiday weekend. As if that wasn’t enough, you can sample some of the country’s best burgers and pulled pork as part of the festival’s BBQ competition. For the big finale, there is a fireworks spectacular on the banks of the Shannon. To check out the full programme and for more details on this year’s festival, log onto limerick.ie/riverfest.

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Portlaoise

Portlaoise has long been the home of legends: hero of Irish mythology Finn McCool is said to have been from the area. In modern times, it has welcomed some of the world’s biggest rock legends like Bjork, The Cure and Arcade Fire when they played Electric Picnic in neighbouring Stradbally. The town has a long history which goes back to the Bronze Age and it has proved to be an important archaeological site over the years. The remains of Dunamase Castle are just 10 minutes from Portlaoise with unrivalled views of the Laois countryside. The nearby Emo Court House, a neo classical mansion, has an estate with acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands – perfect for an afternoon stroll. That’s not all Portlaoise has on offer: it also plays host to some of Ireland’s most talked about festivals and events.

Maldron Hotel Portlaoise is located just off the M7, just five minutes from the town centre. The hotel is great base to explore Portlaoise and the surrounding midlands area. After a jam-packed day of sightseeing, drop into Club Vitae to unwind in the 20m pool which also has sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi facilities.

Durrow Scarecrow Festival (30 July- 7 August 2017)

If you are looking to do something a bit different, visit Durrow’s annual scarecrow festival. Entrants from all over country submit their scarecrows to compete to be awarded the title of Ireland’s Best Scarecrow 2017. Throughout the week, you can take a stroll along the scarecrow trail to see all the competition entries from the freaky to the funny then join the judges on Sunday as the winner is finally crowned. Why not get involved and submit your very own scarecrow? Click here to enter your own submission or to learn more about this unique festival.

Electric Picnic (1- 3 September)

The festival that needs no introduction. Electric Picnic is Ireland’s biggest music festival, taking place each year in Stradbally, just 10 minutes from Portlaoise by car. The Chemical Brothers, Blur and Arcade Fire are just some of the headline acts that have played the festival over the years. Expect the best home grown talent and international acts to be announced for the Picnic in the next few months. Is there anything better than coming back to the luxury of a hotel room and a hot shower after a full day of revelling? Make sure to book your tickets and accommodation early as the festival has sold out months in advance for the past few years. Follow electricpicnic.ie for more.

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This Christmas, give your loved ones the choice of every kind of getaway with a gift card from Maldron Hotels. Whether it’s a night away to see a show, a shopping trip to their favourite location or just some relaxing time out somewhere new, there is something for everyone.

Gift vouchers are available here and can be used in all 14 Maldron Hotels, in sister brand, Clayton Hotels and partner brand, The Gibson Hotel meaning a choice of over 30 hotels in Ireland and the UK.

Sponsored by: Maldron Hotels

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