This week I'd like to share some blog posts about my home town, Cork. I was born in London, England but raised in Cork, Ireland from the age of two, so I consider myself to be 99.9% Corkonian. Cork is my favourite place, but I suppose I would say that as I am a little biased. Cork is also where my books are based, so I thought it might be interesting to share some photos and information on "the rebel county" or the real capital of Ireland.
Cork City has a beautiful water-front setting on the banks of the River Lee and has some of the best food you'll find anywhere in Ireland, deserving its well-earned reputation as being the gourmet heart of the country. The city has many great restaurants and a solid "foodie" scene. The English Market is Cork's food gem. Scores of vendors sell some of the very best local produce; meats, cheeses and takeaway food. Every taste is catered for at the market; from a wide-range of homemade soups and Med-flavoured salads to a mouthwatering display of delicious sandwiches and heavenly sausages. Local foods are honoured from breakfast to lunch and on to tea. Warm, buttery scones draw in the early crowds while fresh daily specials and incredible burgers keep them coming throughout the day. Smoked haddock perched on creamy potatoes has to be tasted to be believed!
When the weather permits you can dine alfesco in nearby Bishop Lucey Park or you can choose to eat at one of Cork's best eateries, The Farmgate Cafe which is situated on a mezzanine overlooking part of the market.The cafe has mastered the art of producing delicious meals without fuss or faddism. The food, from rock oysters to the lamb for an Irish stew, is sourced from the English Market. The best seats are at the balcony counter where you can people-watch while spoiling yourself with their seafood chowder and raspberry crumble. Cork City's pedestrianised centre is surrounded by meandering waterways and the city is also just a short drive to the tourist mecca of the Irish west coast. There are many interesting tourist sights,two of my favourites being The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery and St. Finbarr's Cathedral.
The art gallery is open to the public all year around and houses a small, but excellent permanent collection which features works by renowned Irish artists, such as Jack Yeats and Sean Keating. Spiky spires, gurning gargoyles and rich sculpture make up the exterior of St. Finbarre's Cathedral, which is an attention-grabbing mixture of French Gothic and medieval whimsy. Local legend says that the golden angel on the eastern side will blow its horn just before the Apocalype!
The cathedral is located south of the city centre, on the spot where Cork's patron saint, Finbarr, founded his monastery in the seventh century. Join me later in the week when I'll be exploring West Cork and all that it has to offer.