Just minutes from the center of Cork, a foodie mecca and hipster hangout, is a warm welcome at Hayfield Manor, surrounded by beautiful gardens and serving spectacular food.

Originally published in Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine, in the July / August 2017 issue. Subscribe now to our sister publication printed six times annually

Dubliners have a complicated relationship with Cork. On the one hand, it’s a fun city full of history and culture. On the other, Cork natives will insist on describing it as “the real capital”.

Afternoon tea at the Hayfield Manor, Cork City.

Afternoon tea at the Hayfield Manor, Cork City.

It is (ahem!) a lot smaller than Dublin, the actual capital, but that’s part of the charm. There’s a cohesiveness to Cork; the city center is really an island on the River Lee which makes it easy to navigate. And while it still has many of the trappings of a traditional Irish big town, it’s also reinvented itself for the modern age as a foodie mecca and hipster hangout.

Hayfield Manor is the former home of the Musgrave family, one of the city’s most famous merchants. Its history dates back to the early 1800s but by the mid-1990s it had fallen into disrepair. Enter the Scally family who renovated extensively and returned Hayfield to its former Georgian splendor. And so Cork city got its first luxury five-star hotel.

A warm welcome at the Hayfield Manor, Cork City.

A warm welcome at the Hayfield Manor, Cork City.

Hayfield is accessed through an unassuming avenue in Cork’s university area, which overlooks the River Lee. (The area is long associated with learning and is believed to be the site where St Finbarr established a monastery and school.) 

Sweeping up to the entrance, it is immediately apparent that this is far from the usual city center accommodation. The grounds and trees are more than 150 years old and the beautiful weeping willow directly in front of the entrance even has a preservation order on it. In fact, it’s difficult to believe there’s a busy city center just a short walk away.

The building has been carefully restored; the main staircase by the reception area is a replica of the original. The fireplace in the lobby is original and so are some of the floor tiles. But Hayfield is far from a museum. The décor is chicly traditional, with an ambiance of discrete luxury.

Relax and unwinds at the Hayfield Manor, Cork City.

Relax and unwinds at the Hayfield Manor, Cork City.

Despite its size, the staff at Hayfield are adept at making everyone feel at home. Guests are invited to sit down on arrival and even offered a drop of whiskey or freshwater during the check-in process. 

Many of the rooms overlook the beautiful gardens which include an aviary and a rabbit run. Food is available in either the formal fine dining Orchids restaurant or at the more casual Perrotts Garden Bistro. 

Originally published in Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine, in the July / August 2017 issue. Subscribe now to our sister publication printed six times annually

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