Recently Jean and I went on a trip around the renowned Blarney Woollen Mills, just 8 Km from Cork City and for the most part it was an enjoyable trip. Check it out online at www.blarney.com The complex is made up of a hotel, a restaurant, a bar and a shop. The description ‘shop’ really doesn’t do it justice as it is huge and spread over 3 floors. There is a large car park at the complex with a couple of disabled driver & passenger spaces. The hotel is not the subject of this blog as I have never stayed there.
We started with a look around The Mill Restaurant. The restaurant seems to have a fairly extensive range of food and drink on offer but we arrived too late to sample anything. There is a reasonable amount of circulation space but I imagine moving around would not be easy at peak times. There is a wheelchair accessible toilet in this section which is perfectly roomy and well fitted out.
We then went into the main shop section and went our separate ways. There is an elevator to facilitate access to the upper floors. I feel that the circulation space on floors 2 & 3 is more than adequate even in peak times but the ground floor could become very crowded. I didn’t attempt the ‘bargain’ area of the shop as I felt that the ramp was a little too steep; the trip down could have been a little too fast and the return trip would have required too much exertion.
We then went out into the village. The entrance/exit to the Woollen Mills is sloped but doable and the village is also sloped and doable. Both ‘doables’ will be governed by the upper body strength of the wheelchair user. I would recommend that one should have a friend nearby to provide that extra power if needed. Jean was there for me as she always is.
We finished off our visit with a bite to eat in ‘Christy’s Bar’. The food was lovely, the service excellent and it was reasonably priced. There are 2 entrances to the bar; one from the shop and the other from the plaza. There is no problem accessing it from the shop but a table and chairs are situated very close to the other entrance and I had to ask a customer to move a bit to get in.
A major negative for the complex is that there is only one wheelchair accessible toilet in the entire area. There are toilets adjacent to Christy’s Bar and the shop area. A small bit of planning could make a cubicle in the gent’s toilet wheelchair accessible. I can’t comment on the ladies. This complex is far too big for only one wheelchair accessible toilet and for that reason I will only award 3 ½ stars.