Cork Vienna Woods Country House Hotel

I’m always on the lookout for lovely places to stay and during a recent visit to Cork I found one that is also steeped in history. The Cork Vienna Woods Country House Hotel is in an ideal location for exploring the city and environs. Perched on a cliff side overlooking the River Glashaboy, it was part of the Lota Estate going back to the days of merchant princes.

The original house was constructed in 1765 and rebuilt after a great fire in 1903 by Sharman Crawford. Crawford was a member of the family responsible for the Crawford Art Gallery and the Beamish and Crawford Stout synonymous with Cork. As a listed building much of the original design is kept and it was during renovations that Mable Crawford’s Pantry was discovered and is now part of the charming 60 seated restaurant. Eleven other rooms are carefully restored with exposed chimney breast and decorative brocades. One of the listed rooms, The Oak Room, was originally a billiards room. The wooden carvings in the panels along the wall depict serpents and winged beasts. One of the figures carved behind a pillar includes peepholes that were used by servants to avoid interrupting billiard players during shots back in the day, when it was used as a games room.

The hotel has grown organically since Michael Magner, the newly appointed president of The Irish Hotel Federation, purchased it with the Fitzgerald family in 2006. He took over as sole owner in 2019 and now employs 134 people. Occupancy has expanded with 70 guest rooms, new executive suites, and a wing opened in 2023. The new wing is air conditioned and working towards a carbon zero target. Michael and his team have set out a plan to introduce 50 steps to sustainability and are currently on number 36. Bottled water comes from the hotel’s own well in the rooms and with 150 solar panels on the roof much of the hotel’s electricity is self sustaining. We stayed in one of the newly built executive suites decorated with modern styling and an oriental twist. Essential for an enjoyable stay is a big bath and the en-suite certainly offers luxury with a gorgeous free standing bath and ample room in the shower too.

For the couple who want to celebrate their nuptials with a low carbon footprint the Wedding brochure offers a sustainable wedding package. It’s a popular venue for weddings and hosts over one hundred every year.  With two pet friendly bedrooms and Family attractions within a 15 minute radius guests can enjoy wildlife at Fota and if it’s raining the Monkey Maze kid’s activity centre is down the road in the town of Glanmire. The addition in recent years of eight holiday homes that host four guests each makes it a hotel that caters well for families.

Cork has more artisan producers than any other county and trip to the English Market is always a pleasure. It’s also a chance to sample Frank Hederman’s famous smoked salmon that was enjoyed by Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Ireland. Michael is proud to use local producers when crafting menus with the head chef. We were suitably impressed dining at Mable Crawford’s during our stay, when we choose fish options at dinner. There was no shortage of vegetables in season and mouthwatering desserts included.


The outstanding feature of a stay at Cork Vienna Woods is the warm welcome from the staff that will go out of their way to offer a genuine service. After speaking with Michael it is clear that his passion to provide a uniquely Irish stay is something that the family owned and operated hotels are expert. It makes it even more important with such an array of large chains moving around and settling in Ireland that family run hotels are supported so they can thrive. The charm of a stay at Cork’s Vienna Woods Hotel includes everything needed for an enjoyable break in a relaxed atmosphere, and with the President of the IHF at the helm I can see it go from strength to strength.




A two-night stay at Cork Vienna Woods Country House Hotel including Breakfast at leisure each morning and 4 Course Evening Meal on an evening of your choice in Mabel Crawford’s Bistro. Pricing From €180pps see or telephone (0)21 455 6800   for more see