The People’s Republic of Cork

You may wonder why Cork is fondly known as “The People’s Republic”.

Well there is a long standing rivalry between Cork and the capital city Dublin.  Some Cork people or Corkonians as the other folks in Ireland call them, see themselves as being a little different to the rest of Ireland, hailing from the Rebel County and referring themselves as "The Rebels".  Adding to this, in recent times Cork has been re-branded as the “Real Capital”, why not pick up a lighthearted t-shirts celebrating “The People’s Republic of Cork.

Baskets of freshly grown produce seen at the English Market at the centre of Cork city in Ireland.
Old English Market

You can’t visit Cock city without wandering around the Old English Market to see all the amazing foods from around the world.  For those of you who are fans of famous chefs and English chefs, here’s what Rick Stein had to say about the market. “In my opinion this is the best covered market in the UK and Ireland”.


Now that’s impressive considering all the rivals markets in Dublin, Belfast, London and Edinburgh, to name just a few contenders.  The market is situated right in the very heart of Cork City, it’s a roofed market, that means it’s totally covered over and protected from the harsh Irish elements.  The Old English Market has been trading since 1788 and is one of the oldest municipal markets of its kind in the world!


seared salmon with radish and limes on a rustic plate.
The Ivory Tower

Different, bold, eccentric, extraordinary and definitely one of the most interesting restaurants in Cork. Owned and managed by celebrity chef Seamus O’Connell, born and raised in Arizona but has worked in kitchens all over world.  


This is the inspiration for his globally themed menu and has been creating food in the Ivory Tower since 1993.  Dishes to try are his Japanese influenced Asian-infused tasting menu, mouth-watering Brazilian cuisine or the epic eight course traditional Irish selection served during the summer.


wooden board with roasted vegetables and cheese on sourdough toast.
Café Paradiso

This awesome place can be found near the historical University College Cork. It’s been serving outstanding vegetarian since 1993 and it has quite simply revolutionised Cork dining and even Irish attitudes towards meat-free cooking and healthy eating.


The food is so convincing in fact that the owner Dennis Cotter has published no more than 4 cookbooks bringing his food to a wider audience.  The key to success is using locally sourced ingredients and together with an ever evolving menu which changes frequently.  The scenic views of the River Lee ain’t half bad either.

People in a bar holding up 4 pints of beer as a cheers.
Franciscan Well Brewery

Drop into one of the city’s best loved pub / micro-brewery, a great place if you are a fan of craft beer. History pours from the walls of this popular watering hole, it was established in 1998 and is built on the site of an ancient Franciscan Monastery and fresh water well which dates from 1219.  


Try the much loved Rebel Red Ale, Blarney Blonde or the local favourite, Shandon Stout which is named after Shandon Bells which can be heard ringing out within earshot of the pub.


abstract image of a cup of coffee on a wooden slatted table with twinkling lights in the background.
Farmgate Café

You’ll find this wonderful little café on the mezzanine of Cork’s celebrated English Market, mentioned previously.  This is the perfect spot to take a break from exploring the market, take your morning coffee, afternoon tea and everything in between.


The menu features famous local dishes including tripe and onions and drisheen, a type of black pudding and a firm local favourite. The walls are covered in local art and poetry and you can choose to sit overlooking the bustling market, great for people watching or in the dining room where there’s no distraction from the delicious food.

a leather chair in the spotlight on a stage in a theatre.
Crane Lane Theatre

This well-established Corkonian institution is a versatile live music venue.  It’s been around since the 1920’s and is housed in a stunning art deco building.  One third country pub, one third burlesque cabaret and one third ballroom, the Crane is very eclectic indeed!  


In summertime, chill out in one of the city’s most favoured beer gardens right in the heart of Cork City centre.  The owners have said that “If the singer-songwriter Tom Waits was a citizen of Cork and opened a late night bar and music venue, it would look just like The Crane Lane”.