Cork City. Home to the world-famous English Market, University College Cork, and St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral along with numerous shops, pubs, and lovely waterways along the River Lee; it’s a place not to miss when visiting Ireland. My husband, Gerald, attended University College Cork so I really enjoyed visiting the city and seeing it through his eyes.
After strolling some of the city’s charming streets and waterways, we headed to the English Market. Queen Elizabeth II visited the market in 2011 which makes it an institution in some people’s eyes. It’s a massive, covered, 18th- century market which contains a huge variety of shops. Needless to say, we did some shopping: homemade strawberry and raspberry jam were purchased along with sushi rice, seaweed, and sriracha (when you come across food specialty items in Ireland, you buy them, as they can often be hard to come by). Though tempted by the fresh monkfish on display in almost every fishmongers shop, we didn’t purchase any. Have you ever seen a monkfish?! Totally disgusting in person, but, really tasty on a plate. On a different note, the baked goods in the market were mouth-wateringly good.
Ger and I hadn’t had sushi in a while and got a tip on a great sushi and ramen place in town – Wabisabi – so we decided to try it for lunch. We were not disappointed. It’s hidden away off of Oliver Plunkett Street, but, worth searching for. Ice-cold Asahi, edamame, spicy tuna rolls, spicy salmon rolls, and fresh veggie rolls were enjoyed and highly recommended. The ramen looked amazing as well, but, we were too full to try it.
Post-lunch we made our way to St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral. It’s beautiful. I enjoyed a mind-calming walk on the meditative maze in the back of the cathedral and then we “ooo-ed and aww-ed” our way around the grounds. The gargoyles and detailed sculptures were very striking. Fun fact: The cathedral sits on the spot where Cork’s 7th-century patron saint, Fin Barre, founded a monastery. Zen.
University College Cork (UCC), Ger’s Alma Mater, was our next stop. What a lovely campus. The Victorian Gothic buildings scattered throughout do not disappoint. The university was established in 1845 and houses a collection of 28 Ogam stones – the largest collection of Ogam inscriptions on open display in Ireland. Ogam is an ancient Irish alphabet consisting of twenty characters formed by parallel strokes on either side of or across a continuous line. You can see a photo of the Ogam stones below as well as some snapshots of the campus.
After exploring UCC, we headed into town to meet Ger’s mom and sister for some outdoor drinks at Le Chateau Bar on St. Patrick’s Street before heading back to Tipperary for the weekend. Along the way, Ger showed me a pub where he used to play guitar in his university days – The Castle Inn. Memories :).
Oh, on a random note, we also found our Irish dream home inspiration while walking around Cork City (see below). She’s a beauty; greenhouse and everything. Just perfect. Until next time, slán go fóill!