Mary O’Brien is the Food and Beverage Executive in The River Lee Hotel, and she’s lived in the city for eight years. Here, she walks us through her perfect day in the rebel city.
Stretch the legs
The best way to start a day in Cork is with a morning walk around The Lough in Ballyphehane. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the hotel, and it’s a lovely spot to spend an hour or so. Considering it’s so close to the city, it’s lovely and calm, and the perfect place to relax while feeding the swans and observing the other wildlife in the area. You can walk all the way around The Lough in a matter of minutes.
Once the walk is over, it’s brunch time! Liberty Grill on Washington St is a great spot to be - there may be a small queue, but it’s well worth a few minutes wait as they do great East Coast Breakfast. And mmm, delicious pancakes with maple fried bananas!
A spot of culture
You have to get cultured when you’re in Cork. A visit to Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral is a must. It’s a church famous for the murals on the ceilings, its stained glass windows, the 46-foot high Bishop’s throne and the 1870 church organ consisting of an astonishing 3012 pipes. Sometimes they also have Art Exhibitions to the back of the church.
I love snooping & poking around Cork’s English Market, a city favourite since 1788. It’s one of the oldest markets in Europe. You definitely need to check out O’Flynn Sausages, where you can buy a gourmet sausage in a floury roll with some caramelized onions. Or go upstairs to Farm Gate Café and have a cup of tea with a sweet treat, like a bit of lemon tart.
Hit the shops
A little bit of window-shopping never hurt anyone, so you have to pop in to Miss Daisy Blue Vintage shop in Market Parade, right next to the English Market. It’s a fab little spot, selling original vintage dresses from the 1930’s-1980’s. If you want all of the high street shops, head up to Opera Lane where you’ll find all the top brands, like Topshop and H&M, which never let you down in a fashion crisis!
When on Patrick St (or Pana as the locals call it) talk to the Echo Boys, who are the newspaper vendors of Cork City. Cork’s Echo Boys can be heard shouting the name of the daily evening newspaper around the streets of Cork City. Some of these vendors have been selling Cork’s newspaper for most of their lives, some for many decades. If they can spare you a few minutes, you might learn a thing or two about the city that you never would’ve otherwise.
Read more about The River Lee Hotel here.