When you step into The English Market in Cork, you might not immediately realise just how historic it is. Although the current building was erected in the mid 19th century, there has been a market here since 1788. In fact, so famous is this iconic market that the late Queen visited here during her historic State Visit to Ireland in 2011.
The English Market can be approached from one of three sides – each equally interesting. There is the entrance off the Grand Parade pictured above, but I also loved coming in through the entrance tucked away in what almost seems like an alley off Oliver Plunkett Street. Or you can approach through a quaint parade of shops just off Patrick Street.
The English Market
The English Market has evolved over the years, and now features a variety of artisanal products from all over Europe, as well as local meats, vegetables, fruit, fish and produce. Chef Rick Stein describes the English market as “The best covered market in the UK and Ireland.”
Some of the market stalls have been held by the same family for generations, and many of those who work here have worked here for their whole lives. The emphasis is on health and wholesomeness, and vendors take pride in the freshness of their wares. They are happy to let you try before you buy, and I was sad that I could not take any of the wonderful things they had on offer back home.
The fresh fish in particular looks absolutely amazing. It makes me wish I had access to a kitchen when I visit the city!
There really is a lot to see while wandering through these historic streets, but if you love fresh local produce as much as I do, a visit to Cork definitely is not complete without a visit to The English Market.