Wednesday, 25 November 2009



The Triskel Art Centre is between homes at the moment, waiting for new venue Christchurch (a beautiful 18th century building) to be restored. At present, it is Music at Jury’s and Art in, of all places, the disused Electricity Supply Board substation in Caroline Street.

The current exhibition, by Shane Cullen, in Caroline Street, is pretty appropriate to the industrial location, dealing as it does with the “dehumanizing threat inherent in our increasing dependence on technology and counterpointing this with references to individual examples of struggle and endurance”.

Large scale works such as The Concern of the Warsaw pact (1992) and, very appropriately, Factories Electricity Regulations (1995), are used to make the point.

It is even more “industrial” downstairs. I thought I’d walked into a welding shop but instead the flashes and the noise were coming from four simultaneous video works, all by Adham Faramawy (born 1981), a London based artist of Egyptian descent.

Perhaps, the Triskel should hold on to the electricity sub-station. Not sure the restored Christchurch would really enhance the presentation of the current exhibitions!.

for contact details & map see:



Bringing art to the people is a regular, often empty, slogan. But Paul Mulvany has done it with his Market Gallery, in the English Market, right in the heart of Cork!

When I was in this morning, I had a look at the work of Russian painter Igor Logino. These small format, brightly coloured canvases of familiar Cork City scenes are, I’m told, “a constant favourite with tourists and locals alike. All works on sale at the gallery are accessibly priced”.

Mulvany himself, who also runs the Rave Cave stall in the Market, is the other artist that uses this small space and his work is very different. It can be seen on his website.
for map see:



Went to the Lavit Gallery this morning to see the retrospective honouring the work and memory of the much loved local artist and teacher John O'Leary.

Got a great welcome from the two ladies downstairs, busily assembling the Christmas show, and enjoyed my visit, surprised at the space and light available in the upstairs section (see photo).

The Lavit is owned and administered by the Cork Arts Society and is the city’s longest established gallery, catering to the first time buyer and seasoned collector alike, with prices to suit all budgets.

There are some striking items in the exhibition assembled to honour John O'Leary. It deserves a second visit but, on first viewing, the favourites of this amateur were the John Burke sculpture entitled Black Forest Sunset, the two Catriona O’Leary works Morning Light and Path Runs Through, Vivienne Roche’s Light 1 and 2 along with the Glencar Series II 1998 by the master himself.

The show closes on the 28th so you’ll have to hurry. Check out the gallery’s website for future exhibitions. For map see:

Wednesday, 18 November 2009



On the site where the city of Cork was founded in 606 stands St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, itself built, or least finished, in 1870. But like any old building, the work goes on and it was getting a clean-up when I called yesterday.

The architect was William Burgess and he took advantage of a slight elevation to create a building that would be seen over much of the city. It is remarkable for design and workmanship. The gold angel on the east facing rear is well known to Corkonians as are the foolish virgins by the front door.

The inside too is well worth a visit – it costs just 3 euro . Look out for the pulpit, the revolving lectern (originally designed for Lille Cathedral), the mosaics on the ambulatory and the ceilings, the rose windows, the Bishop’s Throne (40 feet high), the plaques and coats of arms.

It is the diocesan cathedral of the Church of Ireland diocese of Cork and holds regular services (Sundays 8am, 11.15am and 7pm) which means that this site has been a place of continuous Christian worship for over 1400 years!
 For contact details and map go to:



Expect the unexpected is the motto of the Cork Vision centre in North Main Street.

Well the unexpected for me was the photo display upstairs: The Way Cork Was. The photos, sub titled “Echoes of the Past” are from the local Examiner newspaper archive and, in the main, cover the first half of the 20th century.

Some great high quality shots here and sure to bring back memories. For me, a picture of the Lee Hosiery (just across the road from the Centre) struck a chord as I worked there, though long after the photo was taken!

The Centre, in St Peter’s Church (1788), has quite a large exhibition area and there is a change about once a month. The main show at present is a largely average collection of landscape photos and next month (Dec) it will host the Irish Architecture Awards 2009, an overview of leading contemporary practice in Ireland.

The highlight at the moment though is the display upstairs though native and tourist alike will be interested in the detailed 1:500 scale model of the city (photo) which stretches the length of the ground floor.

For contact details and map go to:



Crossed over Clarke’s Bridge yesterday, looking for the Fenton Gallery on Wandesford Quay, only to see empty spaces and lonely pillars though the windows. Found this notice on the net: The Fenton Gallery has left its premises at Wandesford Quay. Please follow us on or”

Earlier had been searching, in vain, for the Vangard Gallery on Carey’s Lane. I have since received an email  confirmation - thanks John P - that while Carey's Lane has bene closed the Vanguard continues to operate from New Street, Macroom. Shoudl be worth a call once the floods fgo down.

The lesson: check before you go.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009



Though its main attraction, the public swimming baths, has long since gone, the Lee Fields,  on the Western side of the city, are still used by citizens and visitors alike.

The baths may be gone but there is still a small group of hardy swimmers that can be seen in all seasons taking a dip in the river.

Here the walks are relatively long so you can exercise yourself and the dog or vice versa. Plenty of space to walk and jog along the riverside path and the grassy area can be used to stretch out on the sunny days.

Workers from nearby offices (including the County Hall) can take the air and have a snack on the grass during lunchtime. Impromptu games of football take place here and, from the river bank, you can also see the fishermen and canoeists in action.

The Lee Fields “where we sported and played” have been occasionally used for open air concerts but are generally left to the joggers and the strollers and the courting couples!



From the city centre centre you can take the number 8 bus or, if you prefer, walk the Irish mile or so to Fitzgerald’s Park, one of the oldest in the city and a big favourite with strollers and families. The river runs alongside and the centre-piece is an ornamental pond with fountain.

Families are drawn to the playground, which was equipped with state-of-the-art play equipment and a safety surface in 1997. More recently a skateboard area has been added.

In addition, there are many trees and plantings of shrubs and flowers throughout the park and also quite a few pieces of sculpture, including two by Seamus Murphy. Also situated in the Park is the Cork Museum which is open to the public each day. Close to the Museum is a pavilion erected in 1902 for the Cork International Exhibition (the park was presented to the city in 1903). If you need a bite to eat or just a coffee, then the Riverview cafe is near to the museum, and you may watch the River Lee roll by as you relax.



Paid a visit to the Everyman Palace Theatre last evening to see a local production of Anne Frank and Me, first presented as a play in 1996 in New York City.

Modern day couldn’t –care-less about the past teenager Nicole is transported via a knock on the head to Nazi occupied France and soon begins to realise that the story of Anne Frank (her school reading) is for real and that horrible truth is brought home as the pair are thrown together in a train on the way to a death camp. Eventually, Nicole recovers from her knock on the head, ready to tell her previously skeptical pals the truth of the holocaust with all the zeal of the newly converted.

After a scratchy start, as they established the modern credentials of Nicole, the Marion Wyatt directed cast got into their stride to produce quite a convincing performance, laying down an important message as they did so to the many school kids in the audience – the subject is obviously on the curriculum. Well done to all concerned.

The interior of the old Palace has changed little, its rich red walls freely adorned with gilt. The seats are comfortable with good space between the rows and the all-voluntary front of house works well and gets you to your seat with efficiency and courtesy.

Older Corkonians will have fond memories of the Everyman Place as a cinema. Nowadays, it is one of Ireland’s leading middle scale presenting and producing theatres. The beautiful 650 seat theatre is a jewel of late Victorian architecture. A listed building, the theatre is steeped in history and is a favourite with audiences and performers alike for its intimacy and atmosphere. See more at



The small rectangle known as Bishop Lucey Park is hardly worthy of the “park” designation.

But its city centre situation has its advantages. It borders the newly broadened footpath of the Grand Parade (and its convenient coffee dock) and is just across the way from the English Market. So, on a good day, you can grab a snack and a drink and go to one of the many seats in the tree shaded park for a mid-day “picnic”.

I did just that during one of the recent festivals: I picked up my sausage on a stick (by O'Flynn’s) and enjoyed the break before heading back to the festival action.

It may be small but the City Council say it is “widely used” “The old City Wall was located during construction and is featured prominently near the impressive arched entrance. A short walk past colourful flowerbeds and shrubberies leads to an elegant fountain near the South Main Street exit.”

The fountain is by John Behan and there is also a piece (the Onion Seller) by well loved local sculptor Seamus Murphy.



The Glen Recreational Park is a good spot to take the dog for a walk. A little river runs through it and, split by a low level bridge (which has a Gaudi like sculpture alongside), there are two “lagoons” where the ducks and waterhens thrive. And in the middle of all this there is a soccer pitch, which is busy most Sunday mornings.

The park also forms part of one of the now common Sli Na Slainte (Healthy Walk). But the 5k walk, which starts up by Mayfield Community School, is mostly outside of the Glen. Indeed, as the park is largely under-utilised, there is a standing caution against walking on one’s own there, especially towards dusk and that despite the fact that City Council has a depot there.

Still, on a good day, it is a very pleasant walk and I must say I enjoy my trips to the western end, which you must reach if you are to cover the full 5 kilometres of the Sli Na Slainte.



Beech Hill Garden centre is a happy place, almost always the sound of laughter floating over this award winning centre which is beautifully located on the Middle Glanmire Road, overlooking Cork city and harbour.

But you don't go there for the laughs, although laughter is a tonic. Advice is freely given here and they are usually spot-on. Just recently I bought some plants there for a pebbled area and, well advised as usual, came away with some gorgeous colour, hopefully for years to come.

It is close to me and I can always pop over for a single plant or container or a ball of garden twine. Maybe I am going just for that laugh!

The well stocked centre is run by the COPE Foundation which provides a comprehensive range of services for 1600 children and adults with an intellectual disability.



Back in the good old days, middle of the last century, the Atlantic Pond, close to the main GAA stadium, was a handy destination for car-less families seeking relief from the heat of the city and many a picnic of sandwiches and tea was enjoyed on its green grassy banks.

The pond deteriorated after that but in recent years, the City Council have done much to restore it. The birds are back and enjoying life on the clean water and there are paths around the lake and besides you have the long walks on the Marina close at hand.

The birds aren’t quite as plentiful as they are in the Lough but today’s visit indicated that this pleasant spot is attracting families once again and quite a few walkers and runners.


THE LOUGH (Nature Reserve)

The Lough (lake) has long been a favourite haunt of Cork strollers and I joined them today. The outer path must be close to a mile long and is favoured by joggers and others on reasonably serious exercise missions.

Many car loads of kids have been brought to the urban lake which has attracted a big variety of wild birds over the years, mainly swans and ducks. The kids and the adults love to feed the birds but, after a recent bout of disease, the City Council has notices up telling people not to feed the traditional bread, asking that the likes of lettuce and cabbage be provided instead.

The birds once again seem to be thriving and the Lough continues to draw the children of the city. Back in the middle of the previous century, it was a favourite spot to go skating in winter but global warming has put an end to that.


I am a regular visitor to the Frank O’Connor Library. It is a fantastic facility, supplying not only books but also films and music on videos, DVD and CD.

The staff are extremely helpful and there is even a home delivery service for those who are ill.

You can also help yourself by going online where you may order or renew your books etc.

It also hosts special events and all during September - every Wednesday - the spotlight is on the famous Frank O’Connor, after whom the library is named.

A terrific and friendly service at a very reasonable cost.

Photo shows mural on library's side wall.


The Planet - A fun place to go!

Many people know the Planet because of its Health Club and sometimes the fun side of the place is overlooked.

Stuck in Cork or its environs with a posse of kids on a rainy day? Then head for the Planet and the Kids Corner where they’ll can entertain themselves.

Big kids? Teenagers? No bother. The Planet has bowling lanes and snooker tables.

Just adults? Two? Four? Why not try the bowling and then a drink in the bar.

The Planet is easy to find and has loads of free parking.

By the way, Health Club members have a vast range of facilities:

State of the art Cardiovascular Equipment and Resistance Equipment

Spacious air- conditioned Gym

Personalised fitness programmes

Two Studios, offering traditional aerobics and holistic classes

15m Heated Pool

Sauna and Steam room

Canadian Hot Tub

Coffee Dock

Free Parking



Fota is one of the three bigger islands in Cork harbour. Easily accessible by rail and road, its major attractions are the golf course, the restored Georgian House and the Wildlife Park. A visit to Fota can be combined with a trip to nearby Cobh where huge cruise liners dock in the town centre and where you can visit its Famine heritage centre and the hillside Cathedral.

The Wildlife Park is well worth a visit. It shares its car park with the House and Arboretum. The park is well laid out and a circular walk, at your own pace, can take between an hour and two hours.

Straight away you will the see giraffes as you start the circular walk (there is also a mini-train). You will meet emus, Maras, peacocks, and guanacos on the roadway and will see the European bison behind the timber railings on your right. Oryx and peacocks are also at hand.

Then you come to an area of little islands and lakes where you will see wildfowl (a huge collection of ducks and geese), various types of monkey and lively gibbons (who may put on a noisy show for you, usually at noon), lemurs, penguins, flamingos, pelicans, black swans and seals.

The cheetahs are the pride of the park who have just opened Ireland’s first Cheetah Run. Come and watch Cheetahs being fed on a special device which makes them sprint! They are fed every day at 4pm.

Highly recommended for children of all ages.

Further info at