After leaving the beautiful manor grounds of Castlemartyr, we checked into Fota Island Resort (which just recently had a nice offer on Groupon. Another cheaper option is to stay at the self-catering facilities). Fota Island Resort is new, so it doesn’t quite have the same aristocratic feel but it is quite lovely in different way. It’s more modern-lodge in feeling.
The lobby was still festive with holiday decorations and in the mornings, there was an amazing buffet breakfast, where you could also request pancakes, smoothies, and egg dishes made to order. The other slight advantage Fota Island Resort had over Castlemartyr was a playground on the premises. The spa was beautiful, and also had a water therapy room like Castlemartyr. For whatever reason, however, the boys didn’t want to go in the pool. It is filled with screaming, squealing kids and the water is a bit cool. We were disappointed because pools make for tired boys.
On our first morning, the boys were not very well-behaved at the buffet, and despite it being a family-friendly resort, I felt like we were those people everyone stared at. When we got back to the room, G promptly vomited up most of his smoothie, but he seemed fine after that. I put a towel over it and called housekeeping to come clean it while we were gone. Whatever stomach bug is present is a lingerer—it’s not a 24 hour thing. I’ve not had a right stomach for a week.
If you have children, one of the main attractions in the Cork area is Fota Wildlife Park, and admission to the park was included with our stay. Unfortunately, the boys were more interested in the sand at the playground near the entrance and the train ride we took around the park than in most of the animals.
The main problem with our suite was that there was no door, just a grand archway between the bedroom and main bath and the living/dining area. (This suite was also bigger than any NYC apartment I lived in). There were two pack ‘n plays, but we wondered how to put them to bed at night: Around our bed, meaning we have to sequester ourselves near the door and out of their sight line? Sascha thinks maybe the bathroom, which is big enough and does have a door, but I nix the idea. It seems like it could get cold. The other option is to push them closer to the dining area and entrance, and try not to make any noise and stay in the bedroom. We end up going with the first option, since we order room service one night after putting the boys to bed and need to be in the main area. Staying in hotels must be affecting the boys, since C insists on reading one of the coffee table books for his bedtime story, something about the Cork City Markets.
We made a quick stop to Cork City. Nearby Cobh (formerly Queenstown) was the last port of call for the Titanic, which I didn’t know but was quickly made aware of since the centennial is coming up with all sorts of events. Cork is supposed to be a great place for food, but let’s face it, we weren’t going to some artisan/slow food joint with the boys in tow. We wind up at a mediocre pizza joint.
As we were headed out of the city and back to the hotel, we are trying to negotiate one-ways and look for signs back to the traffic circle and lights and a siren flash behind us. Immediately I feel tense, like “hide the drugs!” What does that say about me? Don’t answer that.
An extremely pretty Garda with a gorgeous red mane comes to the driver’s window.
“Did I do something wrong?” Sascha asked.
As soon as she heard his American accent, she smiled.
“Your driving, it leaves a little something to be desired,” she laughed.
“How bad was it?”
“Ehm, pretty bad. There was some weaving,” she said, making a wavy gesture with her hand.
We apologize, blather on about how it’s our first real road trip, pull the twin card, we’re still getting used to driving, and it’s night and we’re trying to look at the signs blah blah.
She didn’t ask for any paperwork, and in fact, apologizes for the narrowness of the roads. I figure she is just glad we are bad drivers because we are American, and used to driving on the other side, and not inebriated locals.
Her parting words: “Just try to stay between the lines.”
The boys slept most of the way home. When they are awake, it is light enough for them to see out the window and take it all in.