Cork County’s “Rebel County” moniker dates as far back as the 15th century, to the War of the Roses. More recently, however, Ireland’s second city has emerged as one of the top destination spots for tourists since it was named the European Capital of Culture in 2005. Contemporary glass-and-steel offices and luxury condominiums now adorn the banks of the River Lee. Art galleries, performing arts festivals, bars and shops abound, and restaurants and local food producers have come into their own to make Cork a foodie paradise. A lot has certainly changed since my now husband, Ber Murphy, first brought me back to meet his family in 1989!
Ber is a Cork Man, born and bred, and I have been lucky enough to come to know his hometown over the past 20-plus years through his eyes. Isn’t he delicious? But I digress.
One of the first things you’ll notice if you’re ever lucky enough to visit Cork is that— despite unfair comparisons to its brasher, bolder sister-city, Dublin—the city exudes an unshakeable self-confidence and an identity all its own. From the unique singsong cadence of the Cork accent to the brain-teasing local slang, from its vibrant rebel history to its rich musical and literary roots, this is a place that, for many reasons, calls to me.