Showing posts with label Crawford Art Gallery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crawford Art Gallery. Show all posts

Monday, January 31, 2022

Have you been "Upstairs" at The Quay Coop? If Not, Now's the Time to Call.

Have you been "Upstairs" at The Quay Coop? 

If Not, Now's the Time to Call.

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

Covid 19 has been the most recent of ill winds but even the omnipresent pandemic proved the truth of the old saying above. Just take a look at Upstairs, the restaurant at the Quay Coop, now one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the city. And, while you are there, in the former pawnbrokers premises, take a look at the revamped menu. And order some of the magnificent vegetarian food on offer.

With Covid restricting much of the restaurant’s normal activity, the Coop got working and gave the Upstairs a beautiful renovation and, while they were at, gave the menu an upgrade as well. Customers, without doing anything much, are the winners.

We dropped in last week and soon found ourselves seated by one of the best windows in the house, overlooking the quay itself, taking in the passing people and traffic, all the while enjoying the nicely judged heat from the stove a few yards away. And, when we got enough of the passing scene outside, we turned our eyes to the feast of art on the walls, the work of local artist Eileen Healy.


But not before those same eyes had studied the new menu. The mains looked like serious dishes so we decided to share a starter and later, with first impressions confirmed, a dessert.

Took a while for me to settle on my mains. Had been looking at the Tarka Dhal but in the end picked the Pizza for the day. The Dhal would have been the more adventurous choice but something about the Pizza attracted me and I had no regrets, after all I can always call again! 

Enjoyed my  delicious base topped with sweetcorn, peppers, red onions, tomatoes and a handful of rocket, served with an excellent salad. Great colour, flavour and texture with those sweetcorn and onions leading the way. The pizza base itself was also delicious and stayed that way, never hardened at all, right to the end. 

CL meanwhile was quite enough, a good sign, as she tucked into her substantial Enchilada which was packed to its generous limits with Mexican spiced three bean vegetables and served with melted cheddar, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. 

Quite a choice of starters here also. We thought the Mezze Board might be the one. It came in two sizes and, even though sharing, we went with the smaller one. A good pick and 9 euro well spent in a terrific selection of Artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, traditional hummus, dolmas, toasted almonds & marinated olives served with seeded pitta . One of the very best of its kind that you’ll find in the Cork area.

Dessert? Well, one will do and our server diplomatically dropped it in neutral territory and quickly withdrew! 😉. Was reminded of a veteran soccer referee when asked for advice about hopping the ball between two players. “Just throw it in quickly,” he advised “and move back.  I once got an expensive watch bursted by staying too close”. Our server was in no such danger but that Frangipane (Mixed berry almond tart with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream)  certainly tested one’s manners!

And we didn’t have any drink! They have an excellent wine list, lots of organic wine, and the full array of craft beers from the Baltimore crew that run the West Cork brewery. Great service in a very comfortable venue. Well, worth a call. And do watch out for their 10 euro lunch menu.

Upstairs at The Co-op is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 noon with last orders at 8pm. Please make an advance reservation. Walk-ins are accommodated whenever possible. 

Upstairs Art

Pic via Quay Facebook
“Working from life keeps my work alive, figures, shoes, clouds, landscapes, flowers..I’m based in Cork City Ireland,” says Eileen Healy (right) whose work is hanging in all three rooms of the Upstairs Restaurant. “Ideal as wedding gifts, birthday gifts,” says the artist.

Upstairs are delighted to be able to show her work this winter: “Eileen recently announced the sale of her life’s work in an effort to secure a longterm home for her future. …. The housing shortage brought on by the banking crisis over 10 years ago still means that many people struggle to secure a home in Ireland and we applaud Eileen for highlighting this issue for the arts community.

You may have noticed I’m on a kind of “one, two” kick these days, usually consisting of a meal plus something else like a walk in a wood or a by the seaside or a visit to an attraction. This time, by coincidence, it was a visit to another art exhibition, this  the ODYSSEYS at the Crawford Art Gallery. 

It marks the centenary of James Joyce’s modernist masterpiece Ulysses. The exhibition offers an exploration of journeys through art, from Ancient Greece to present times, with a special focus on James Joyce’s often overlooked relationship with Cork. Odd isn’t it how the rebel city has never claimed this particular rebel?

Serving the people of Cork since 1800, the Oyster Tavern may have been one of the pubs visited by Simon and Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. ‘Stephen watched the three glasses being raised from the counter as his father and his two cronies drank to the memory of their past.’

Coal Quay Celebrations (2014)

Joyce was not overly impressed with market smallholders, not clear if it was in the English Market or the Coal Quay. He wrote: One humiliation has succeeded another, the false smiles of the market sellers, the curveting and ogling of the barmaids with whom his father flirted.

More on ODYSSEYS here.

"The False Smiles of the Market-sellers." Dublin Visitor sums up Cork Experience.

"The False Smiles of the Market-sellers." 

Dublin Visitor sums up Cork Experience.

Dublin's Fort-foot features in the exhibition poster

Odysseys is the title of a current exhibition at the Crawford Art Gallery (in the Gibson Galleries) and marks the centenary of James Joyce’s modernist masterpiece Ulysses. 

It is about travel and journeys of all kinds, within ourselves and without, in particular those of Joyce, with a particular focus on his Cork connections. Odd isn’t it how we rebels have never claimed this particular fellow rebel?

All those who journey require food and drink and in the exhibition and in Joyce’s writings of course there are many references to food and drink and Cork. Joyce’s grandparents were salt merchants, operating in an area around George’s Quay, Douglas Street, Dunbar Street, White Street and South Terrace.

Joyce pic (and Ulysses cover) in a Dublin shop, via Pixabay

Later, with the family in Dublin, Joyce referred in his writings to a restaurant known as Jammets and it is also mentioned by the artist Kernoff (who is featured in the Crawford). 

Quite a posh place - Charlie Haughey and his chosen few loitered there regularly; it started in 1901 and lasted until 1967, the restaurant that is, not Haughey’s loitering. It was the kind of place you went to after theatre to eat oysters and drink liqueurs (served by waiters who spoke French or German).

And it had a nickname: The Underdones.  Why? Because of the French way of cooking steak rare.

Back in Cork, Joyce experienced many of the city’s hotels and restaurants. The Victoria Hotel (in the news recently) is mentioned in  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce was a guest here as were John Redmond,Michael Collins, Winston Churchill, Liam Cosgrave, and Charles Stewart Parnell (not all at the same time!). 

Sing song with the ladies of the Coal Quay, waving their shawlies,  from 2014

In Odysseys, you will see a facsimile of an advertisement for Newsom's CafĂ© de Paris (in Cork!). Newsom & Sons, which first opened in 1816, was located  on the corner of Marlboro Street and Patrick Street (later Woolworths). 

“They had set out early in the morning from Newcombes [sic] Coffeehouse, where Mr Dedalus' cup had rattled noisily against its saucer, and Stephen had tried to cover that shameful sign of his father's drinking bout of the night before by moving his chair and coughing' (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).

Mahrea Cramer Lehman has a painting hanging in the exhibition titled Market Lane from the Oyster Tavern, Cork. Serving the people of Cork since 1800, the Oyster Tavern may have been one of the pubs visited by Simon and Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Stephen, as you probably know, was Joyce's literary alter ego

‘Stephen watched the three glasses being raised from the counter as his father and his two cronies drank to the memory of their past.”

He was not overly impressed with market smallholders, not clear though whether they were operating in the English Market or the Coal Quay. The exhibition includes a painting by Agnes Frost called Stall Holders, Coal Quay.

Joyce wrote: One humiliation has succeeded another, the false smiles of the market sellers, the curveting and ogling of the barmaids with whom his father flirted. Stephen was not too pleased with the father’s behaviour either, it appears. 

The exhibition also includes a film, narrated by Flicka Small, on the author's connections with Cork.

Joyce summed it up in Ulysses (who had quite the Odyssey himself): Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves. No escaping the latter.

Curated by Flicka Small and Michael Waldron, ODYSSEYS runs until April 3rd 2022.

Combined this visit with lunch Upstairs at the Quay Coop. Details  here.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Autumn Dining in the Crawford Gallery Café's Tents

 Autumn Dining in the Crawford Gallery CafĂ©'s Tents

Pancake supreme!

There are leaves under my feet as I approach the gallery. We are heading for lunch, dining outside in the two 
cone-topped tents. Leaves on the path. Leaves gather in little clumps on the roof of the tents. Leaves on the carpet which a staff-member brushes away. But, as one long side of the structure is open, replacements rapidly rustle in.

The other long side - the two tents are joined together - has colourful panels of summer plants, some fauna too, and a row of heaters. They offer to turn one of those in our direction but, warm enough, we decline and enjoy our meal in comfort.


We are here, in the Crawford Gallery Cafe in Cork city centre, for a slightly late lunch (table reserved) and the autumn sun and light wind, plus the walk downtown, has put a little edge on the appetite. We have the menu immediately and there is a quick decision. Not that the menu is short, far from it, there is quite a choice here.


It is an interesting menu, always is, closely reflects the seasons, from breakfast through lunch there’s never a dud dish here. There’s an excellent little wine list too and many appealing pastries but we would have to leave those, leave the Devilled Kidneys, the Roast Marrow Bone, the Leek (autumn!) and Cheddar Cheese Tart. Leave too the Tagliatelle with all’s it tempting flavours, the Hake and Chips, the Shepherd’s Pie.

Colourful panels

We settled on these two below, after a little spat, a full scale war averted with a decision to share and the fact that our mouths were stuffed with some of excellent brown bread they gave us to fill the gap between order and delivery. Indeed it was hardly a gap at all, certainly not a noticeable one.

The exterior where the points of the tents echo that of the gallery itself.

CL had first go at the Crawford Spinach and Mushroom Pancake (with cucumber pickle, Horizon Farm leaves and hollandaise sauce). This was seasonal and rather special and terrific value at 14 euro, the price of a cocktail in many places. She said it was one of the best pancakes around and I agreed that it was half of one of the best. Joking aside, this is Highly Recommended!

And we’d say much the same about the Crawford Toastie, sixteen euro worth of Gubbeen salami, buffalo mozzarella, cheddar, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, with leaves. Actually the leaves, from Horizon Farm, were especially good as was the dressing. And the toastie itself was the star on the plate of course with that robustly delicious salami from West Cork and well judged quantities of cheese and pesto, really well assembled and presented.

Mrs and Mr Rembrandt (from 1636, when he was 30)

Our servers were very pleasant and efficient and we paid indoors where the café itself was very busy as well, even if lunch hour (last Tuesday) was well over for many by now. Under pressure, as our parking disc was close to expiry, we left our visit to the Rembrandt prints in the gallery to tomorrow and made a beeline for Bradleys in North Main Street where I made a dent in the recently received supply of beers from the Brehon Brewery in County Monaghan. Their Ulster Stout was my personal beer of the year last year.

So on the morrow, there’s a trip back to the gallery - where I’ll  give my contact details to the young person at the door again - to see the prints of the 17th century Dutch artist. Later, a short stroll will take me to the 19th century English Market, particularly to the second stall that my friend Margo Ann has opened up under the Roughty Fruity banner. By the way, here’s a Cork (or Kerry) lesson for you: the correction pronunciation is Ruthy not Ruff-ty; the name comes from a river and valley near Kilgarvan, Co.Kerry!

Tools of the trade. One section of the exhibition shows how 
the various types of prints (engraving, etching, etc) are made.

And we did all that on the following day (day before yesterday) plus a stroll around the ramparts at Elizabeth Fort and a little shopping at Roughty Fruity’s additional stall in the English Market and also at the new Cameron Bakery shop in Parnell Place (an addition to their Washington Street store).

Oh, by the way. I like leaves, both when they are on the trees and on the ground as they are these autumn days. Love to hear the rustle as the wind shifts them about. But, while they can block drains and make places slippy and must be moved from such locations, I find it hard to understand when even tiny congregations are immediately met with brush and blower and rapidly shifted out of sight!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Food At Crawford Gallery Café. Well Sourced. Well Executed. Well Worth A Call.

Food At Crawford Gallery Café
Well Sourced. Well Executed. Well Worth A Call.

We are in high-ceilinged high-windowed room in the heart of the city, surrounded by art works on the walls. Indeed we are in the heart of the Cork’s best known art gallery. But don’t worry, this is an informal room, a very pleasant one, and the food you get here, in the Crawford Gallery Cafe (founded 1986) is not at all formal, not really art on a plate but the tasty culmination of artisan craft from the farm to the kitchen to your plate, neat and tidy and a superb lunch or brunch. 

And then there’s the counter ahead, more or less weighed down with so many good things, pastries and cakes to savour slowly with a well made tea or coffee. Quite a few other drinks available too, including a glass of well chosen wine.

Everything is well-chosen here. Let them tell you about their leaves: “… our salads are so flavourful thanks to the natural farming methods of the growers at Horizon Farm in Kinsale. Colum and Liz O'Regan carefully work their beautiful farm and its soil, which is enriched by the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean, to produce leaves of unique and exceptional flavour. The food we serve you just wouldn't be the same without the talent and dedication of these local producers.”

This day (27th November 2019), we are here for lunch. Nothing Christmassy on the menu as yet, thankfully! The splendid old fireplace though is getting its seasonal makeover and camera phones are clicking as we study the menu.
Pears & Blue Cheese

There are some terrific choices here ranging from Soup of the Day to a Steak and Chips. And the choice is enhanced by the fact that you may have smaller or bigger portions of a few dishes including Devilled Kidneys on Sourdough.

I’m seriously thinking about those kidneys but instead go for the Pear and Cashel Blue Cheese Bruschetta, also available in small or large. I’m a big fan of Cashel Blue but I have to say, the Conference pears that the Crawford served with it were also outstanding, thinly sliced, crisp and juicy with a melting consistency and the typical subtle sweet flavor. An amazing combination with the cheese and the sourdough and those Horizon Farm leaves of course. Not art but quite a masterpiece.

Our other main dish was The Crawford Spinach and Mushroom Pancake, with cucumber pickle, Horizon Farm Leaves and Hollandaise Sauce. Another super plateful, another layer of flavour added by the sauce to the already flavoursome creamy package inside the pancake. Delicious.

“Coffee?”, we asked one another. Why not? “Dessert?” One to share. You could close your eyes and stick a pin and still come up trumps on that counter. But we didn’t leave it to chance and our pick was the Plum and Pistachio Cake, a generous slice with cream. Sweet finalĂ©. And the coffee was good too.

And then we got a bonus, the chance to sample the gorgeous nougat that Sinead is making here. She uses butter and I must say I loved it, both flavour and texture. Sinead:  "I’ll be making more for Christmas and selling it on the counter here at the cafe. I’ll package some and have some smaller bars on the counter to have with coffee." So there's a tasty tip for you!

Festive Welcome!

  • For all of you nice and early with your Christmas shopping, they have the lunch special to get you through the retail mayhem. Les Tartines are their Open Brown Bread sandwiches with Gubbeen Farmhouse Cheese and Pickles, Bresnan’s bacon, relish and cucumber pickle, plus a cup of soup, tea or coffee, anytime between 12 noon and 3.00pm Monday to Saturday.

Crawford Art Gallery
Emmett Place
Tel: +353 (0)21 427 4415

Opening Hours
8.30am – 4pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays
11am – 4pm
Café Christmas Times
Closed 25, 26, 27 December 2019
Closed 1,2 January 2020
Closed 6,7,8,9,10,11,12 January 2020

Monday, September 23, 2019

Have you been to Doneraile Court and Park? A Very Highly Recommended Visit.

Have you been to Doneraile Court and Park? 

A very popular visit now that the house itself, the Court, is open to the public.  You may make the visit as long or as short as you wish. Perhaps just walk the park. Maybe call to the cafĂ© for a snack. Visit the recently reopened house.
You'll find the tearooms here - see the rustic seats. Water for the dogs on the left!

On arrival, why not take a cuppa in the park's tearooms. It has an outdoor area for when the sun shines. But do take a look at the dining room itself as it is set in the original kitchen area of the big house and is complete with a row of bells used to summon the servants.
The restored Parterre with the gardeners' cottages at the end.

After your cuppa, take a walk around the park which has no less than 166 hectares! Much of the park was landscaped in the heyday of Doneraile Court when the St Legers (who built the house in the 1720s) were in their pomp and is not as natural as it may appear. Keep an eye out for the "haha". More easily seen are the groups of deer that are kept in the park.
The Battle of the Birds.

After your walk, return to the house for your guided tour, or vice versa. You will need to book in advance during the season. The tour covers the ground floor, going through the various rooms complete with furnishings and decorations, antique carpets, paintings, and sculpture, many of which come from other big houses and quite a few via Cork's City's Crawford Gallery (including the large scale Battle of the Birds in the Dining room).
Dining room
At this point, you may like to visit the cafĂ© again for lunch. If you prefer a more expansive menu and a bit more comfort, why not visit the CafĂ© Townhouse on the main street. You'll soon spot it as it always looks so well - lots of flowers outside. Sink into those soft seats and sink your teeth into their sumptuous pastries, well into one of them anyhow! While you're on the main street why not take a look at the memorial, outside the church, to Canon Sheehan, another of Doneraile's famous writers.

One of the oldest items on display in the house. It was called a court as the St Leger
at the time had the right to hold a court there twice a year.

The Awbeg river, a branch of the Blackwater, flows smoothly into the park where it is then "guided" to create a small cascade and pool.
Chicken wrap in the sun from the tearooms in the park itself.
Tasty stuff, even if service was a bit on the slow side. Fairly priced, just over 20 euro for 2 wraps, 2 teas.
They have full breakfast and lunch menus.

The name lives on

Excellent cafĂ© on the main street. 

Canon Sheehan, a local writer, is remembered here

Many students were visiting - with a project in hand - on the day we called.

One of the rooms. Do you know the guy with the long legs in the lower middle?
No one can put a name on him. The full length portrait, we were told, came from the
Elizabeth Arden (yes, the cosmetic guru) collection

Not too much beauty here. This is Oliver Cromwell.
Not too sure why he hangs here. But I suppose he did deserve to hang somewhere.

This typewriter, pictured through its glass case, belonged to Elizabeth Bowen, the local Anglo-Irish writer who lived in
nearby Bowen's Court and published ten novels and many short stories. A room here is dedicated to her and there are
quite a few photos of Elizabeth, mostly with a cigarette in hand. One of the later St Legers was also fond of the
smoking habit and usually threw the butt to her pet goat who was allowed graze on the lawn. The cattle couldn't get that far, not because of intrusive fencing (there wasn't any), but because they couldn't negotiate the Haha. Wikipedia defines it as a recessed landscape design element that creates a vertical barrier while preserving an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond. The design includes a turfed incline that slopes downward to a sharply vertical face. It still exists.
This pic is from an earlier visit.
Check the OPW site on Doneraile here
For a very informative article on the family, the house, and its restoration, read this Irish Times piece here

Thursday, January 10, 2019

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest. Wines, Spirits and Beers Events

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers Events

Wine Course at L'Atitude
The Wine Fundamentals Level 1 Course starts Saturday 19th January at 3.30pm and will run over 4 weeks, finishing on February 9th. 

Each class lasts 2 hours and the programme will cover the following: 

- Week 1: Basic Tasting Techniques, Introduction to Winemaking and the Main Wine Regions
- Week 2: Major Grapes of The World
- Week 3: Influence of Winemaking Techniques, Climate and Regionality on Wine Style
- Week 4: Sparkling Wines & Food & Wine Matching

Each class costs €40, or €160 for the full course (€150 with discount if you sign up or all 4 classes). 

You can enrol by ringing L’Atitude 51 on 021 2390219 or coming directly to the bar or send us an email to let us know you'd like to attend -

Prosecco for two features in Greene’s offer
Happy New year from all at Greenes Restaurant.
We have a very special new years offer for all our customers.
You can enjoy a 40% discount on our Weekend 5 Course Lunch Tasting Menu with Prosecco from now until the end of March. Valid Thursday to Sunday
A 40% discount on our midweek 6 course evening tasting menu until the end of March. Valid Sunday to Thursday.
View these offers on our website here.

5-7pm Sunday 20 January

“So bring a friend or date, grab a complimentary drink, take a pop-up tour with our inspiring guides, and enjoy a night at the gallery as we celebrate the Eve of St Agnes!

At length burst in the argent revelry,
With plume, tiara, and all rich array...

Join us after dark on Sunday 20 January for our special celebration of the Eve of St Agnes in partnership with Irish Distillers.

For centuries, this medieval tradition has inspired lovers, poets, and artists alike, including John Keats and Harry Clarke. This year, it is the central theme of our new exhibition Dreaming in Blue: Harry Clarke Watercolours, in which star-cross'd lovers Madeline and Porphyro elope on St Agnes' Eve!”

This event runs as part of Dreaming in Blue: Harry Clarke Watercolours (until 14 February). Free event but book your place here.  

Consumer Tasting for Australian Wine

O'Brien's Monthly Sale
A Louis Jadot Fleurie is one of the wines featured in O'Brien's monthly sale. Jadot's reputation as one of the grand old houses of Burgundy is well established and justifiably so, classic wines from Grand Cru to Cru Beaujolais. Fleurie is one of the 10 Cru's of Beaujolais situated between Villefranche sur Saone and Macon. And Louis Jadot Fleurie is currently at €16.95 instead of €22.95. Another worth checking is the d'Arenberg d'Arrys Shiraz/Grenache also at €16.95 (from 21.95).
Lucky Irish
I’ve often thought that Irish wine drinkers are blessed because of the huge choice available to us, bottles from all over the world. And that opinion was reinforced when I read this paragraph from a newsletter I get from a winelover in the Languedoc.

“And just for fun I opened a trio of Gimblett Gravels from New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, all variations on a bordelais theme, with a very New World taste.    it is virtually impossible to find any New Zealand wines in the HĂ©rault, so our languedocien friends enjoyed being taken out of their comfort zone!”

The Growing Thirst for Exotic Wine
Bored with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc? Discover some new grapes with Wine-Searcher’s Kathleen Willcox who reports that the heirloom tomato effect is at work in the wine world. The biggest driver of the trend is Millennials, who are seeking not only something pleasing to their palate, but wines that will horrify their parents with their unpronounceability and esoteric country of origin. Read more here

Richy’s BYO Offer
Clonakilty restaurant Richy’s are offering a helping hand when dining out. “Feeling the crunch after Christmas? Why not save some dosh by bringing your own wine to Richy’s! T&C's apply. Available 14th Jan - 28th Feb 2019. Corkage €5.”

Cask Ales and Strange Brew Fest
Our favourite festival of the year....The Cask Ales and Extraordinary Brew Festival running from Jan 31st to Feb 2nd. 
Featuring a range of special brews using curious and interesting ingredients, the festival will showcase the growing experimentation of Irish brewers and their ability to challenge the norms of brewing.

Yellow Belly, Rising Suns, Metalman and West Cork Brewing are just some of the brewers at the festival and will compete in the Beoir Cask Competition to see who can come up with the most extraordinary beer under categories: Best lager, best "pale', best stout and best specialty. Judged by The national Beer enthusiasts club, winners will be announced on the Saturday of the festival. 

Live music, performances & Pompeii pizza! Admission is free