To Market, To Market – A Change of Plan in Cork

The seventh entry in a series of installments from the travel diary of my journey through the Emerald Isle.

Cork City (clockwise from top left): River Lee; City street shot; View from our hotel room; St. Patrick’s Bridge; St. Anne’s Four Faced Liar; Father Mathew statue

I must admit, I have avoided writing this next entry. Now, it’s not because we had a terrible time in Cork, or because we had a such a great time the details of our visit elude me but, due to some unforeseen circumstances (okay, so having a very late night of drinking in Ireland isn’t exactly unforeseen) we never got a chance to kiss the Blarney Stone, or to visit the Cork City Gaol, we never got to ring the Shandon Bells (which could have been possible had we only realized they were a mere two minute walk from our hotel) and we did not get a chance to take a trip down to Cobh to walk the Titanic trail or to see the Lusitania monument. So, our time in Cork, though restful, was not as eventful as we had planned.

Speaking of planning, when Joanna and I were planning our tour of Ireland, we were a bit over-enthusiastic to say the least. The itinerary I had neatly typed up, and placed amongst our: electronic flight tickets, rental car information and hotel confirmations was proof of our ambition. You see, what we did not take into account were the inevitable late nights at the pubs in Dublin and in this case our very, very late night in Kilkenny. So, needless to say, our itinerary for the next day was far from being fulfilled.

Planned itinerary for June 13th:

09:00:              Have breakfast at the Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel

10:00:              Do some last minute sightseeing in Kilkenny
(St. Canice’s Cathedral, Black Abbey)

12:00:              Check out of the Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel

Afternoon:       Head west to Tipperary/Cashel for sightseeing the Rock of Cashel
then head south to Ardmore for sightseeing.

14:00:              Check in at the Maldron Hotel Cork

Evening:          Dinner and sightseeing in Cork

Cork English Market

Actual itinerary for June 13th:

At approximately 11:30 we grudgingly got out of bed and scrambled to collect all of our belongings, showered quickly and got dressed. At 12:30 we checked out of the Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel piled all of our luggage and ourselves into the car and drove off. Due to our sleep deprived state we decided to forgo our list of sightseeing plans and only stopped to find a petrol station where we bought sandwiches and some cold/flu medication for Joanna. By 14:00 we were in Cork checking in at the Maldron Hotel. Once we reached our room we dropped all of our luggage and proceeded to fall face down on our beds and pass out. The rest of the day left much to be desired, unless you count watching hours of Law and Order as being particularly noteworthy.

The moral of the story of our not so interesting time in Cork is: don’t plan too much ahead of time, otherwise you will most likely be disappointed. Now it’s understandable, you’re spending thousands of dollars on this trip, so you obviously want to get your money’s worth by planning as much sightseeing into your itinerary. But keep in mind the importance of leaving plenty of room for unforeseen events, such as: a missed flight connection, a broken down tour bus, discovering a locals-only hot spot that you randomly stumbled upon,

Colourful Kinsale

or perhaps even a night of heavy partying, regardless, leave some breathing room in your itinerary.

Our time in Cork wasn’t a total waste though. To my stir-crazed delight, on our second day there Joanna was feeling much better so we set off to explore the city and to get some shopping done. We had a chance to check out the various stalls at the English Market, a roofed food market situated in the heart of Cork City that originally opened in 1788. In the evening we ventured off to colourful Kinsale, a delightful seaside village south of Cork City. Here we had dinner at The Blue Haven Hotel which happened to be the site of the Old Fish Market in the town dating back to 1784. The restaurant boasted an elegant atmosphere, delectable fare and the pleasant entertainment of some local musicians. Before we left Cork the next day we stopped in for a quick bite to eat at the Bodega Bar on Cornmarket Street which had originally opened as St. Peter’s Market in 1843 and was also known as the Irish Market to distinguish it from its older counterpart the English Market.

St. Peter’s Market (a.k.a. the Irish Market), now the Bodega Bar

As we left Cork we were happy to get on with the rest of our trip and discover what awaited us on the west coast of Ireland. But as we drove past the River Lee and headed for those rolling green hills again the slight inklings of regret crept in, nagging at me. I sulked a moment and stared out my window wistfully, wishing I could have seen more of this lovely city. But I quickly pushed the thought away and made an oath to myself then and there that the next time we were in Ireland there was no way we would miss out on the chance to really explore Cork—well, as long as we don’t stop in Kilkenny first!



“The English Market – High Visibility Version.” The History of the Market English Market.

“Fishmarket Restaurant @ The Blue Haven Hotel.” Fishmarket Restaurant @ The Blue Haven Hotel.

“The History of The Bodega.” History.

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