Monday 5 October 2015

Tripadvisor, Cork

If you have a bare 24 weekend hours to spend in Cork, the second city of our noble republic, you may like some advice about how to get the mostest of the bestest for the leastest.
  • Send one of your number in to the English Market, preferably before it gets busy at 10am.  Don't go mad for meat or potatoes; just pick a selection of wannabe French patisseries: a couple of croissants, ditto pain-au-chocolate, a Danish pastry or two. Preferably purchase from more than one source, that way you can choose the best available the next time: On The Pig's Back, Heaven's Cakes, the Alternative Bread Company. For good measure and better for your teeth, buy a baguette-shaped loaf made with a generous proportion of rye Secale cereale flour. Have another member of the party get up really early and make a plain white sweet-yeast loaf containing a tablespoon of organic poppy Papaver somniferum seed. Make sure that both tea and coffee are available ad lib for brunch.
  • In the early afternoon head East to Midleton and then turn South towards Cloyne and Ballycotton.  Pay attention to the spirit of Bishop Berkeley when  passing through Cloyne, the seat of his see; and watch out for falling trees! Stop at Ballymaloe House to deal with the copious amounts of tea consumed at brunch. Do some kit shopping the the kitchen shop attached the the house, purchase a red enamel tea-pot and some other kitchen paraphernalia.  Sit outside on a frail wooden bench in the thin Autumn sunshine. Reflect on life being full of simple pleasures.  Do not stop to eat in a place world famous for the quality of its kitchen. No rather . . .
  • . . . carry on to the tiny fishing village of Ballycotton looking for chips. Stop opposite the Post Office for fish&chips at Skinny's.  Order a regular serving of fries because you know that eating a lot at lunchtime makes you, the designated driver, fall asleep in the afternoon. Realise with dismay that the regular fries is enough to feed two; speculate about the size of people who order a large chips. Eat all the fish that is too much for people who ordered it. Don't forget a deep-fried Mars bar.
  • Check out any or all of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, Stephen Pearse's Shanagarry Pottery [R above], The Kilkenny Design outstation warehouse. Then head back to town.
  • After more tea at Dau.II's gaff and some judicious jumping up and down to settle the fish & chips, head out to the Market Lane Restaurant for dinner.  Be sure to order whatever is the chef's special (when we were there it was Blasket Island slow-cooked lamb-shanks cooked till the merest touch will fall the meat off the bone). The slow cooked West Cork ham-hock is larger, cheaper and pinker. Don't forget to ask for a doggy-bag to take home the half which you were unable to finish - that will be sandwiches for tomorrow's lunch. For the craic-which-is-mighty, make sure you order the taster-tray from Elbow Lane Craft Beers next door: a stout, an ale, a lager and a Weissbier each in a dinky tumbler.  When you've decided which you like best, order a pint to wash down the food.
  • Sleep in Dau.II's apartment rather than in the hotel along the quay. That way you can start eating again as soon as you wake up.
Your mileage may vary but it worked very well for us; that was a pretty good day.

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