People from Cork don’t like food. They are completely and utterly obsessed with it.
From ruddy-faced butchers at the English Market to the innovative vegetarian restaurant chefs doing clever things with kale and couscous, it’s all about the edible.
From the moment I check into The River Lee Hotel, a short walk from the centre, it’s clear that I won’t go hungry.
I plonk myself in an armchair on the terrace bar and watch swans guide their cygnets around the river bend.
Cooking up a storm: Feasting is an art form in a city where the harbour trade brought food from far and wide
Soon a Taste of Cork plate arrives, piled with local cheese, cold meats, soda bread and home-made date chutney.
It’s a taste of things to come. The city is effectively an island, like the eye of a needle between two channels of the river, linked by 22 bridges. All of the main streets were once rivers.
Land was reclaimed and quaysides developed with wealth generated by trading butter, whiskey, sugar, tea and beef — as Alice Coyle of Fab Food Trails explains, the modern city really was built on food.
We walk past beautiful, if crumbly, Victorian buildings that house bookshops, cafes and bars…