Ireland: Having Craic in Cork

A traveler to Cork, Ireland learns how to have a good time the Irish Way.

The Cork Shandon Tower can be seen from a distance.
The River Lee with the famous Cork Shandon Tower in the distance at sunset. Photo by Stephanie Mork

As I perused the stalls for the best vegetables to put in my potato and leek soup, I smiled to myself as I listened to the lovely Irish accents of the men behind the bakery counter next to me. Some of my favorite things about Ireland are the food and the accents. I found that one of the best places to enjoy these treasures was at the English Market in Cork, Ireland.

Cork is the second biggest city in Ireland, after Dublin, and is known to its citizens as ‘The real Capitol of Ireland.’ It sits on the southern tip of the country and is only a short distance from the coast.

Cork is a city full of history and much of it is still visible in the city today. It was founded by Saint Finbarr as a monastic settlement, only to later be turned into a Viking port. This allowed the city to rise as an important trading center for Scandinavian trade routes, which helped it grow into the second largest city in Ireland. The River Lee, which goes through the city in two different directions, is one of the defining features of Viking Cork.

After studying abroad at University College Cork for five months, I had a pretty good idea of where the best places to eat, drink and visit were in Cork. Irish people are some of the kindest and genuine people I’ve met, and I find the culture and its customs endearing. The vegetable soup, brown bread and black tea are endless. Perfect for a cozy afternoon on a rainy day, which tends to happen a lot.

For the record, having good craic in Ireland means having a good time. Not doing drugs. I had some of the best craic going to pubs and listening to live music, going hiking near the sea, eating scones and tea and frolicking on the cobblestones in the rain. How can you not fall in love with a country where there are sheep dotting the hillsides and kind old men that want to chat with you over a pint of Guinness?

The English Market in Cork is an indoor market that provides everything from fresh ground beef to hot tea and 50-cent scones. All of the meat, produce and bakery good are fresh and affordable, the venders are very kind and wandering around the fresh produce and bakery items is one of the best ways to spend a Saturday morning.

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