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Roz Purcell's epic home holiday in West Cork
With its spectacular scenery and unique dining experiences, West Cork is a special place for cookery author and outdoor enthusiast, Roz Purcell.

This charming corner of Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way is one of her favourite places to return to again and again.

Wonderful West Cork

From spontaneous sea swims to stunning cliff walks, speciality coffee to memorable meals, you can’t help but fall in love with the scenic spots of Kinsale, Skibbereen and Courtmacsherry. There are treasures around every turn of the road in West Cork and as Roz says, the outstanding natural beauty and homely hospitality make her proud to be Irish.

But West Cork is just one of an endless number of places in Ireland perfect for a home holiday. Recent events have taught Roz to see Ireland in a new light and appreciate just how beautiful the country is and how lucky we are to have such unique experiences on our doorstep.

“What I would say to people is that we don’t always appreciate what we have in Ireland. Think of all the people who travel here and we as Irish people probably haven’t seen half it.”

Amazing adventures

Roz Purcell kayaking through a cave on Lough Hyne
Kayaking on Lough Hyne.

Roz picked the pretty town of Kinsale as the perfect base for her break. She began her staycation on Lough Hyne with an evening tour with Atlantic Sea Kayaking, led by Jim Kennedy whom she describes as ‘King of the Water’. Roz has been on the tour a number of times now and describes it as her top thing to do in Ireland where you learn something new each time.

“Book in for the night kayaking, it’s something you’ll always remember. It’s honestly amazing. If you get a clear night, you can stargaze as well. The guys know so much about the history, the biodiversity and everything, it’s so interesting”, she says.

Day two started with the Old Head of Kinsale Walk where the views are on another level as you walk along 6km of breathtaking coastline. Park at Garrylucas Beach to start your walk and Roz recommends a dip in the glittering blue sea after.

West Cork has no shortage of treks and trails, and the Scilly Walk was scheduled for the next morning of Roz’s trip. Thanks to a one-way system, social distancing is easy here, and on arrival at Charles Fort, you’re treated to scenic views of the Cork countryside.

Delicious dining

Colourful buildings with outdoor seating in Kinsale, West Cork
The colourful streets of Kinsale.

As fellow foodies know, West Cork is loved for its artisan produce, farmers markets and renowned restaurants. From foraging with Kinsale Food Tours to brunch in OHK Café and dinner in Saint Francis Provisions, Roz raves about the food she experienced during her short break.

“The food was spectacular; I was blown away. Food is such a big thing for Irish people, it brings people together, and we love local. The restaurants that we got to try in West Cork were out of this world with some of the best meals I’ve had in Ireland.

“For me, food is a huge part of a holiday, and that’s another big thing with staycations. Irish people do food really well”.

Childhood memories

Roz’s trip wasn’t complete without a dose of nostalgia, and a visit to Oysterhaven brought back special memories. The scene of her childhood summer camps, she welcomed the chance to revisit The Oysterhaven Centre, this time for a spot of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Getting out on the water is the perfect chance to relax, especially as you’re encouraged to leave your phone behind.

To cap it all off, Courtmacsharry is widely known as one of the best spots in Ireland for whale watching. During her holiday, Roz was lucky enough to see these magnificent animals glide through the waters on a boat trip with Atlantic Whale & Wildlife Tours.

For those that say the weather is a stumbling block when it comes to carefully laid plans, Roz believes that’s all part of the beauty of our incredible island.

“You’ll get all four seasons in one day, and that’s amazing as you’ll see Ireland in so many different ways. With Irish people, nothing is going to stop us; if it’s a rainy day, we’ll still get out and do something”.

Gorgeous scenery

A view of Kinsale Harbour, colourful houses and a blue sky
West Cork's beautiful surrounds.

With spectacular views around every corner, Roz is falling in love with Ireland all over again and plans to see even more of it, when it is safe to do so.

“We are so lucky to live here, and there’s so much to do. Over the past seven weeks, I have found so many new things, even so many new things in my own area. Don’t see 2020 as the year you’d rather forget, but rather the year you rediscover your own back garden”.

Check out our Cork destination page and get planning your getaway to glorious West Cork.

Images 1, 2 and 4 via Roz Purcell

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