|into the bowels of the city|
I decided to grace the people of Cork with a visit a few weekends ago. With my husband and two mothers in tow we headed for the pretty village of Blarney where my poor brother lives surrounded on all sides by crazy cork people.Mind you he does seem to really love them and finds them extremely witty and amusing. My favourite Cork person is Frances from Kanturk who rears my organic Christmas Turkeys. She is universally cheerful and addresses everyone as "dotee" in her sweet Cork accent. Even her turkeys adore her, following her around the field and pecking at her coat to get her attention! She loves them back -O how she ever manages to take them for slaughtering I will never know. Luckily by the time I get them they are plucked and ready for the oven, I don't think I could look a turkey in the eye before cooking it-even if it is dead!
|a delectable assortment of fresh breads|
|feast your eyes jams and jellies galore|
So on a cold but fine sunny Saturday we took the two Marys down Cork city and into the depths of the English Market. Most hilariously my mother in law (veteran "Hello!" reader) wanted to meet the fishmonger that had amused the queen with a joke about some ugly fish called the "mother in law fish". Most likely the Queen was laughing out of politeness being quite unable to deschiper a word the Corkonian was saying. I had a similar experience in Wales where three attempts to get information from a welsh man at a train station resulted in me being no wiser in the end than at the beginning, just considerably embarrassed(and I think the welsh train man was too). Maybe he couldn't understand a word I said either! Anyway the fishmonger man himself was no-where to be seen but the fishmongers stall he owns was doing a roaring trade and the walls behind the counter had huge pictures of .....yes you guessed it, the fishmonger and the queen sharing a joke (or laughing politely but not having a clue what the other was saying). They are not called cute Cork hoors for nothing- what a brilliant marketing strategy! That satisfied the two Marys, and on we went.
|wonderful displays of delicious veg|
|Charming stall holders pry cash from Mary & Mary|
|Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas...|
|all you have to do is look and you feel yourself getting fatter!|
Cork city is a funny place and it's history is a complex mix of old English settlement after the Norman invasion layed down over a Christian founded town and a viking port. Over the centuries it has attracted an eclectic bunch making for a nice blend of people and a geography that is not unlike San Francisco with all is ridiculous hills. Even Lance Armstrong ( a man who knew how to get turbo charged) refused to go up one of the cities famous steep hills during an Irish leg of a Tour de France!
|the farmgate cafe looks down on the quirky fountain|
|out on the street Christmas is in full swing (the goats belong to Bothar)|
It's a very pleasant afternoon if you have the time and can afford to wander around aimlessly for a while. The market building dates from 1862 ( the original market charter from 1610) and was called the English Market to differentiate it from an Irish Market called St Peters Market. Since St Peter is long gone and is now replaced by the beautiful Bodega (pub, cafe, restaurant and nightclub all in one!) on Cornmarket Street that seemed a fitting place to finish the day.
|The sun sets over the city after a wonderful day out|
check out the English Market here www.englishmarket.ie