Showing posts with label Elizabeth Fort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elizabeth Fort. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cork City by The Lee. Stay. Eat. Shop. See!

Cork City by The Lee. 
Stay. Eat. Shop. See!
Music city



The Firkin Crane in Shandon,
once the butter capital of the world
See: The Queen made it her number one stop in Cork so you’ve just got to see the English Market, an institution in the city since 1788. Nearby, you’ll see the spires of historic St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

St Anne’s Church in Shandon is another landmark. Visit and don’t forget to ring the bells.  Cork was once the butter capital of the world and the Butter Museum is in the shadow of Shandon.

Staying north of the river, why not pay a call to the storied cells of the 
City GaolThe Glucksman is a lovely art gallery in the leafy grounds of the university while the well established Crawford Gallery is easily accessible in the city centre, next door to the Opera House. And don't forget Elizabeth Fort and the newly opened Nano Nagle PlaceAlways something interesting on at The Triskel, an arts venue in a converted church.
video

Shop: While in the English Market why not do a bit of shopping and check out local delicacies such as buttered eggs and spiced beef. The compact city centre boasts a few top notch shopping centres: Merchants Quay, Opera Lane and the new Capitol area. North Main Street has Bradley’s, founded in 1850, and famous for its wall of craft beers.

For a different experience head to 
Mahon Point Farmer’s Market every Thursday where you’ll find fantastic local cheese and meat and much more, including wild mushrooms, all within a few yards of the large shopping centre.
No shortage of farm to fork restaurants in Cork

Eat: No shortage of eating places including Greene's, JacquesLesGourmandises and Isaac's while lively lunchtime venues include the Farmgate and Nash 19Mad on meat? Try Son of a Bun, Holy Smoke, SpitJack, and many more. Exceptional Japanese at Miyazaki (just six stools though!) No meat? Then the amazing Cafe Paradiso is the one, Iyers is another. Idaho is the city centre cafe while coffee stops abound.  For a fuller list of restaurants and cafes, city and county, see my regularly updated list here. Also check the Whazon Cork listings.

A city of bridges
Drink: For something a little different try L’Atitude Wine Café close to the City Hall. The emphasis here is on quality wines and tasty local snacks with a continental touch. Electric, with its downstairs bar and upstairs fish bar, has taken the South Mall by storm since it opened in 2010.  SoHo and the Bodega are other modern bars with restaurants attached.

For something more traditional, including the music, there are quite a few with The Oliver Plunket being very central indeed.
And, if you prefer craft beers then the Franciscan Well on the North Mall is the place to go as they have a micro brewery right behind the counter. Other pubs with micro-breweries include Rising Sons (Cornmarket Street), Elbow Lane (Oliver Plunket Street, excellent food here also) and Cotton Ball (Mayfield).

Stay: With excellent food in the building and efficient and friendly service, the River Lee is a lovely place to stay in Cork. If you need something more central, the Clayton is for you. A short distance from the centre, you'll find the Ambassador and the Montenotte, each with great views over the city
Fitzgerald's Park

If you are caught for time, stay at the Metropole and explore the amazing McCurtain Street, its pubs, theatre, cafes and restaurants.

Something on the traditional side? Why not the Imperial where you’ll be wined and dined and never be short of company as the locals come and go. Like it leafy? Then the Hayfield Manor and the Maryborough near Douglas are recommended as is the Radisson in Little Island.

Making a quick getaway? The Cork International Airport Hotel is excellent. Heading north or west? Check the Commons Inn.

Walk: Cork is very compact and great for walks. Call to the tourist office and pick up the maps and info for some city centre strolls.

Like to try something more energetic? Then start at the 
North Mall and take a brisk riverside stroll through the Mardyke, into Fitzgerald’s Park, past the UCC Grounds and then onto the Lee Fields. Just remember you have to come back!

There is a very popular walk by the harbour starting at 
Blackrock Castle, another great place to visit with an excellent restaurant, the Castle Cafe. For something shorter but still interesting, do the circular walk around the Lough, a suburban lake full of swans and ducks and other wildfowl.

Ballycotton cliff walk, just east of the city
Get Out: No shortage of things to see and do on the eastern side of the city. Take a trip to Fota House and its famous gardens and arboretum. If you have kids, then the Fota Wildlife Park is at hand. Much to do in Cobh also, including a trip by boat to Spike Island, a former prison with history galore. 

Spike Island
To the south then and a highlight in Crosshaven is the coastal artillery fort of 
Camden with a wealth of history and great views. Another fort, this also being restored, is Charlesfort in Kinsale, a historic town rich in excellent eating places and with a must visit Wine Museum in Desmond Castle. Blarney is just north of the city. The castle, and its famous stone, is a busy spot. Eat at The Square Table.

Strike off to the west and take in the impressive ruins of the abbey at 
Timoleague . WestCork boasts magnificent beaches and good food producers whose products you may sample in restaurants such as the Pilgrim's (Rosscarbery),  Richy’s Bistro (Clonakilty), and Bastion (Kinsale).

For more detailed guides to the county, check out my East Cork and North Cork recommendations.

Jazz time
Listen: There is almost always a music festival on in Cork and surrounds and the big one is the Jazz, always on the final weekend of October. There is a Folk Festival at the end of September and film buffs are in town in force in November. Check them all out here.

The Choral festival dominates in the spring and summer sings with the Midsummer Festival, followed by the International Folk Dancing Festival. 
Music in the Marquee  is a big highlight. Night after summer night, the Marquee hosts top names. Bryan Adams, Cliff Richard and Elton John played this summer (2017).


Avoid: The usual big city security precautions apply. Avoid leaving anything visible in your car and so on. Not much else to avoid. Maybe the rainy days. But even those can be fun. Never know who you’ll find singing at the local bar, even on the street. It is a fun city. So enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cork City Tourism. The more we pull together, the further we will go.

Cork City Tourism Briefing.
Music, Dance, Butter and Beer.

Franciscan Well's Noel. Chieftain Pale Ale On Tap.

Last week’s Cork City Tourism Event in the Atrium of the City Hall Offices was well attended, hotels and other stakeholders well represented. Also present were representatives of city attractions such as Blackrock Castle, Lifetime Labs and Elizabeth Fort. Speakers at the event, opened by Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary, outlined what had been done in the recent past and what is now being done and planned.

I was interested in the food and drink aspect, not just the tasty canapés. The Butter Museum had a stand here, butter was made and soon we tasted it on a well made brown bread. Washed that down with a glass or two of Chieftain Pale from the Franciscan Well.


The Coca Cola BikeShare a big success
The attendance was given an overview of city backed tourism related ventures which have been spearheaded by City Hall’s Tourism, Events, Arts and Marketing department (T.E.A.M).

Lord Mayor
Chris O'Leary

Recent success for T.E.A.M. include the Lee Sessions, the Pulses of Tradition Show and the Coca Cola BikeShare Scheme. Indeed, we had members of Pulses playing, singing and dancing in the atrium. Also there were enactors from Elizabeth Fort and Blackrock Castle, including a wandering sea captain looking for his ship. Check out the Castle and Gunnery Tours that run until the end of August.


T.E.A.M. were keen to get the word out about the new city website www.cork.ie - it has a dedicated tourism section. Providers BitBuzz are extending the availability of free wi-fi around the city and their partnership with City Hall seems to be going very well indeed. The partnership with CIT in Blackrock Castle has been a successful one and could now lead to a breakthrough at Cork City Gaol. Cork Airport’s Kevin Cullinane was upbeat, promising more connections and more collaboration.

The Cork Convention Bureau outlined their recent successes in bringing conferences, small and big, to the city and are looking for ambassadors to help expand that success. So if you have contacts abroad, either through your work, hobby or sport, do contact them. Check the site and see what other ambassadors have already done for the city.
Pulses of Tradition
  • A brilliant video about Cork, made for the Tourism section, was given to those attending. I shared it on Facebook and it is already passed the 500,000 reach and heading for 200,000 views. Check it out here and don't forget to share it. The more we pull together, the further we will go.
Butter Museum

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Slinging Arrows on Culture Night

Slinging Arrows on Culture Night
Flash. Bang. Boom!
Here’s a bit of culture for you:
I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where.

I tell a lie. It was at Elizabeth Fort on Culture Night that I let fly. Up and away. Well it would have been away but for the enormous wall of the fort as my first ever shot from a bow flew well above the huge seemingly unmissable target. Got better with the next two though, still no bull’s eye but closer. Well done to the members of the Cork City Archery Club for helping the young and the not so young have a bit of fun.
Bit disappointed though that we didn’t get to fire cannon balls. That would have caused some consternation in the area of the historic fort (early 17th century). Reckon I’d have chalked up a bowl of odds (more Cork culture) up South Main Street!

We did have the red coats on hand though and they were demonstrating their prowess with the muskets. After a couple of technical hitches and malfunctions, the shot went off and, despite being ready for it, we all jumped as the noise echoed around. Great fun and thanks to everyone involved.

Oh, almost forgot. We had a guide to take us around the fort and fill us in on the history. Some great views up there, a great semi-circle of the city visible from the east, to Shandon and other churches of the north side and out to the west. The nearest church of course is the great St Finn Barre’s and you get a fabulous close-up.
The English Market were ready for us now and we were ready for it. After a sample of Tom Durcan’s spiced beef, the first serious stop was Frank Hederman’s: Jazz, Cava (via Bubble Brothers), a chat with the busy Mrs Hederman and a carton of their terrific smoked salmon and smoked mackerel with salad and veg.

The Market was packed. You could hardly move. But it was a terrific atmosphere, good manners and courtesy all around. And simple humorous chats also with complete strangers when you shared a surface to eat. Chats too of course with quite a few that we knew, Cork being both a city and, especially at times like these, a village.
O’Connell’s Fish always contribute on these kind of evenings and they too were buzzing, their menu going down a treat. Here I opted for a tasty crab cake. Just around the corner then to the Olive Stall where a plate of their goodies and a glass of wine cost a reasonable six euro, all put away as the music played, a traditional trio at this stop.

Getting full now and feeling like dessert. Knew Lillie Higgins was operating at the ABC stall and she had a few sweet things at hand: Chocolate Soup with frangelico, softly whipped cream, toasted hazelnuts and a hazelnut sourdough soldier was the first; another was Belgian waffles with salted caramel sauce and Chantilly cream. Both were winners.

And we felt like winners as we headed out of the market, unable though to resist buying some Turkish Delight before getting the bus. The sweets, along with a glass of Chaume (recently acquired at Château Soucherie in the Loire ) provided a sweet end to a sweet night of culture.