So, I have had a few requests for a good value option to take the kids to a hotel for a fun weekend. Gave it some thought and I'm going to recommend Oriel House Hotel in Ballincollig, Cork. We stayed there for the October Bank Holiday and got a great value deal.
2 nights B&B and one dinner with some extras thrown in too...
As I've said before, any hotel I take the kids to has to have a swimming pool. Oriel House has a really good pool with a children's pool, bubbles and jets and lots of swimming aids (woggles, boards etc..). There is also a jacuzzi and sauna.
As part of our weekend deal we were also given a family ticket to visit Fota Wildlife Park and a packed picnic for the trip (honestly it wasn't great and we ate in the cafe instead ;) ). The 2 night stay including one 3 course dinner in the restaurant and the fota pass and picnic was only €300 for the four of us. For a weekend rate, that's very good.
The hotel is four star and the leisure centre and restaurant are excellent (but if you eat in the bar it's nowhere near the same standard as the restaurant). G&T even came in a "tumbler" :(
It was Cork Jazz weekend while we were staying so there was live music in the bar both nights and kids were very much welcomed. Shotgun was even sung live for them!
Our family room had two large double beds, lots of storage, a table and two chairs and there was a nice sized bathtub for after swimming. It wasn't a gorgeous room or anything but it perfectly did the job and was really spacious.
That was the only pic of the room I took! it's about kids travel so the mess adds authenticity :)
There are shops, cafes and restaurants a few minutes walk away and a lovely park down the road with a large playground, lots of walks and a fairy tree trail. There is a really good crepe van there too!
Wherever you stay in Cork, a trip to Fota is essential for young and old! It really is different to Dublin Zoo. Both have their pros but the proximity to the animals in Fota is really special. Kangaroos roam freely around the park as do the lemurs. There are giraffes, Bison, penguins, Monkeys (who have really large and spacious islands to swing about on) meerkats, flamingos, Zebra, lions, cheetah etc. The park never gets as busy as Dublin Zoo so it's quite relaxing.
There's a really lovely reptile house with lizards, snakes, turtles etc. There was a perfect display for my two who have covered the lifecycle of butterflies in montessori and school where they could watch butterflies emerging from their cocoons. They were absolutely mesmerised by it.