Thursday, 27 June 2013

National Bike Week

What better way to explore a new city than with the wind in your face, the sights at your fingertips and the freedom to indulge in any treat or attraction that takes your fancy? Thus was the thinking behind the creation of our newest holiday package, “Cycle Cork City & County”.
This bespoke package offers the adventurous guest a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Cork City and County on a tailor made cycle route to Cobh, complete with a short ferry ride, train journey and a delicious Hayfield Manor picnic.
As luck would have it, the launch of this new package happily coincided with National Bike Week which took place from the 15th to 23rd June of this year. In a two-fold mission to honour National Bike Week and to literally “road test” our Cork City & County Package, staff members at Hayfield Manor embraced the adventure and set off to cycle to Cobh and back!
Our partners in this new endeavour, The Bike Shed (located just off Barrack Street), were kind enough to lend us four bikes to trial test the route. As we made our final preparations to head off, we were somewhat disappointed to note the afternoon sun had retreated in favour of a light evening shower! Undeterred, we set sail from the gates of Hayfield Manor with Orla leading the way. An experienced cyclist and armed with our bespoke map, Orla expertly guided us through the city and out along the Lee where we were reminded of the sporting vibrancy of Cork, passing teams of rowers on the river, joggers, walkers and GAA players training. On reaching impressive Blackrock Castle, we stopped to take a few scenic snaps before continuing on the dedicated cycle path, enjoying the water side scenery as we peddled along.
In no time at all, we arrived to Passage West and our awaiting Ferry. While dismounting our bikes to embark, we encountered a large Bicycle Group, "An Oige", who meet every Thursday evening at the Cork Opera House. "An Oige" are a mixture of all different age groups starting from age 18 up to 60+ and they were very open to having us blow ins tag along for the short ferry trip to Cobh. The journey across is almost too short as the surrounding landscape is truly breathtaking and begs to be photographed over and over again. We did try (and try!) but a camera never really captures the true glint of the sun on the water or the feel of the ferry pulling into the small port.
Once off the ferry and back on our trusty “steeds”, we cycled on once more and down into the heart of the historical harbour town of Cobh. We parked up our bikes and explored the impressive St Coleman’s Cathedral. Of course, feeling like we had earned it (and because it is an Irish summer must), we just had to indulge in a “99” ice cream cone! A delicious treat on a summer’s evening staring out across Cobh harbour. Had we more time on our hands, or ventured across earlier in the day, we would gladly have taken a tour of the Titanic Museum but alas, we were a little late to experience this and pledged to return again. The train station and our carriage home was beckoning. We clambered on board, bikes and all, for a short journey back into Kent station. As dusk was gently falling over our fair city by the Lee, we were exhilarated to have the freedom of cycling down “Panna” with almost no traffic about and home to Hayfield Manor, content with our maiden cycling voyage.
The Verdict: It was a wonderful, enjoyable adventure and a great reminder of how vibrant the city & county are to experience from the seat of a comfortable bike!
Would we do it again? Absolutely! Who knows -  "An Oige" may even get four new members!
For more information or if you wish to book our Cycle Cork City & County Package, please click on the link below which will bring you through to our website: