What's the Craic? A family affair in Cork

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July 15th 2012
Published: August 25th 2012
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So a quick intro to the family. M, C, Romi - M's sister, John - Romi's partner (originally from Cork), Sarah - M's daughter and then a whole lot John's Irish cousins - Ursula & Proinnsias, Billy, Julie Ann, Alva and Paul. Unfortunately, Louise - M's other daughter was enjoying herself too much in Sydney, Oz so didn't make it.

This was a double celebration for J & R's big birthdays last year. And what a great weekend it was. If you've never been to Ireland (and we don't mean Dublin), go now! This is a place that knows how to have fun, where folk are incredibly warm and generous, and you can't help but enjoy yourself. Three nights there. Three different bars. And three different styles of traditional Irish music - all fantastic in spite of the variable weather.

After a short flight with Aer Lingus, we hopped onto the local bus into the city, 15 mins away. We stayed at Auburn House B & B within a 3 minute walk to the centre, where the owners Olive and Keiran (and 16 year old daughter when Mum was away) served amazing Irish breakfasts (they are special here) and provided loads of information. Next to them was a newy opened farmers market with bands playing, local produce for sale and a great buzz. We hope they succeed.

And while talking of food, Cork claims to be the capital of Irish food and rightly so. A visit to The English Market is a must - a fantastic regenerated site which host eateries upstairs and a famers market below - a place to come and stay a while and watch life go by. Awesome food, sights and sounds - a feel of true Irish hospitality. The Queen's pictures were hung all around as she had recently visited as part of her Jubilee tour around the UK & Ireland.

We managed to get into Market Lane resturant, thanks to Cags' cheek; fantastic service and food. The ham hock was to die for. Later we went to the Rob Roy to meet Ursula & Proinnsias where he was playing bodhran (Irish drum).

Next day it's sight seeing & taking in the atmosphere. We take a trip to Blackrock Castle where John's grandfather used to work. It was also Euro 2012 time and we watched a couple of games with a Guinness or Murphy's or two. England lose again on penalties to Italy & Spain win the final.

Next night we met with Ursula and the other cousins at The Oliver Plunkett in the early evening where an Irish folk band played some fabulous footapping music as only they could - Murphy's, Guinness and Irish folk music - what a combo. Then on for dinner to the Bar Bodega - for a lovely meal in really eclectic surroundings. We are invited back to Ursula's beautiful & unique home - The French Quay - for more Irish hospitality starting with champagne, then whisky etc - it was a long night and an early morning to bed.

We took a trip bus to Kinsale the local seaside town nearby. The town is quite quaint but expensive as all the rich folk live here. The sunshine helped and we went for a great lunch to Fishy Fishy after exploring the harbour and town sights. Picturesque and colourful comes to mind.

A quieter night after a session at Counihans Bar, and grab some awesome burgers at "Gourmet Burger Bistro" by the river - a great choice of burgers from Morrocan to Greek, and all excellent.

So after all that eating & drinking it's time to go back home and on a diet but not before we stock up on Conakilty (a must have brand) Black & White pudding, sausages & bacon plus some local spiced beef (all from the English Market).

Not sure we ate anything for a while after getting home but the fantastic memories will last for a long while.

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