Archives for posts with tag: Cork City

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I had the morning free, so my daughter and I took a walk around the city to see what was going on. The election count was in full flow in the City Hall but we didn’t stay there too long. The city was waking up, getting ready for the day.

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We headed down to the footbridge by the Grand Parade. In the distance were the limestone towers of Finbarr’s Cathedral, looking out over the city.

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And in the other direction, Father Matthew Church, flanked by the river Lee, modern architecture competing with the buildings of earlier years.

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The English Market was already in full swing. It’s one of Cork’s main attractions – the variety of food stalls and coffee houses is wonderful.

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Close by, a small arcade selling coffee and Middle Eastern food. Cork is full of little alleys and side streets.

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Pembroke Street, joining Oliver Plunkett Street to the South Mall, and home to some great bars and restaurants.

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St. Paul’s Avenue, with a view of Shandon in the distance.

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Finally, we made our way back to the City Hall and out of the city. The muddy river Lee continuing its march towards the sea.

Just as London has Big Ben, and Paris the Eiffel Tower, Cork has Shandon Church. This modest chapel, by no means the largest or most ornate church in Cork, is by far the most emblematic.

I found myself in Cork very early one morning last September. Having a few hours to waste before work, I headed towards St Anne’s Church in an attempt to understand its enigmatic hold over the city.

St Anne’s dates from 1722, its famous bells installed in 1750, it’s clock mechanism a hundred years later. The church is built of red sandstone and white limestone, which have come to represent the colours of Cork City and county. The clock faces, notoriously inaccurate, have given the church its nickname ‘The Four Faced Liar’*. ┬áThe large gold-plated salmon, ‘de goldie fish’, on the top is a nod to Cork’s booming salmon industry of the time. Situated a short distance north of the River Lee and a stone’s throw from Cork’s North Cathedral, the narrow streets and alleys around it are a throwback to earlier times. The Butter Museum and the Firkin Crane theatre, Cork’s home of dance, rests in its shadow.

Because of its centrality, its central position and its idiosyncratic design, Shandon is the true heart of Cork City. While the city itself has gone through a transformation in the last few years, with glass and polished marble growing up where dowdy brick and concrete buildings once stood, this symbol of Cork’s heritage remains unchallenged.

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* This is the name of a famous Irish pub in New York City, which in turn became the name of a 2010 award winning independent movie.

Here’s a photo I took this morning.

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(Click to enlarge)

There’s something about Cork City on a damp Saturday morning. It’s as if the city itself is recovering from the night before. There is a fragility and a softness to the place. It’s a town in dire need of a cup of strong coffee.

A few hours later and it will have its act together. By then, the moment will be lost.

Here’s a nice exhibition to visit, if you are around Cork City and looking for some place to go.

The Cork Vision Centre is half way up North Main Street, close by the Gate Cinema. It’s located in what used to be St. Peter’s Church – now completely renovated. It features an impressive scale model of Cork, stretching from Blackrock Castle to the Lee Fields.

The exhibition also has paintings and sculptures by a number of local and international artists. It’s delightful stuff.

The centre is free to visit, and open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 pm to 5 pm each day.

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