Spa and waffles at a Cork golf retreat

A FRIEND of mine from Cork, who has lived in London, Cambridge and Stockholm, decided to reconnect with her roots for her wedding.

Very considerately, she chose to have it at a proper resort, with golf course, ballroom and, of course, a fully-fledged hotel.

So deciding to take a room there was a no-brainer; if you can avoid that tired, drunk journey back with your stilettos in your hands, then you absolutely should, right?

Fota Island is not necessarily my kind of place – it’s neither boutique nor particularly unusual in its design, spa or restaurants.

But sometimes that’s a good thing. It’s not pretentious, it gets the job done and it has everything you need for a good stay. It’s also nestled in a vast spread of nature – woods as well as fields and the golf course, a space used creatively with a variety of “lodges” away from the main building that families or friends can rent.

My room was spacious and modern, with a massive window door opening out into the sunset. It was cold, but I stuck my nose out long enough to hear birds cheeping, before running a bath in my capacious bathroom.

To help limber up for the wedding, I went down to the spa, which is a big and bustling space. The large, curving swimming pool was my first port of call, and – though full of couples – it was jolly nice to have a paddle.

I slept well in my comfortable, mega-sized bed and rose for one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever encountered. Irish delights abounded: soda bread, wonderful butter, pastries and cakes (banana bread was my favourite) and – the show stopper – honeyed waffles with chocolate syrup.

Fota Island is, first and foremost, a golf retreat. The course is huge and there is a golf school. In true Irish style, this is also a family-oriented place, and I saw many kids frolicking about happily. The adults looked just as pleased to be there. Rooms from €104 per night.