Local traditions and culture in Cork

  • Murphys Brewery - Cork
    Murphys Brewery - Cork
    by suvanki
  • Murphys logo on canopies- Cork
    Murphys logo on canopies- Cork
    by suvanki
  • Widderling's Lane Bilingual sign
    Widderling's Lane Bilingual sign
    by suvanki

Most Viewed Local Customs in Cork

  • Cork accent

    by socheid Written Jan 2, 2012

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    Obviously language varies from place to place and its natural to expect things to be different from one language to another, and even from one area to another within one language. Of all the places I have ever been though in the English speaking world, the Cork accent is something else.

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    Smirting & The Smoking Ban

    by orlikins Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Smirting is a combination of the words smoking + flirting, geddit? It started when people had to go out for a ciggie after the ban was enforced, and got chatting to fellow smokers outside on the street, eyes meeting across a cloud of blue nicotine... ;) So you may just meet a local hottie in this way!!

    REMEMBER - Since March 2004, you CANNOT smoke inside bars, cafes or restaurants, or anywhere where people are working (e.g. taxis, offices etc.)
    The legislation is officially known as the Public Health (Tobacco) Act, see link to it below for a summary.

    You may smoke in outside in the street or in designated smoking areas, but never inside a place where people are working (includes offices, bars, restaurants, shops, shopping centres, taxis, etc)

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    BUSKERS

    by DAO Updated Dec 28, 2008

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    What is a Busker? It’s a name for street musicians. The traditions of Buskers working in Cork probably goes back hundreds of years. Although sometimes the word ‘Musician’ can be misleading. These guys are proper Romany Gypsies and are actually very talented. They operate in 2-3 groups and will play some excellent tunes for you on accordions and other varied instruments. Always happy and entertaining, stop for a listen and give them a donation. They are truly talented and worth a few coins. You will find them in the ‘pedestrian’ areas of the centre most days and early evenings.

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    The Bells of Shandon - The poem

    by suvanki Updated Nov 8, 2008

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    The Bells of Shandon is a poem by Francis Sylvester Mahony (1804 - 1866), who was also known as Father Prout.
    Born in Cork, on Camden Quay, Francis was the Grandson of Timothy Mahoney -who was the founder of the Blarney Woollen Mills!

    Aged 12, Francis began his first steps to entering the Priesthood, an ambition of his parents! Francis had a preference to join the Jesuits, and was enrolled at The Jesuit College of Clongowes.
    Aged 16, he travelled to France, where he studied at the Jesuit College in Amiens, then at the Jesuit Noviciate in Paris.
    Three years later he arrived in Rome to study Philosophy.

    Despite being a brilliant student, and excelling in languages, he returned to Clongowes in 1825, having failed to be ordained into the priesthood.
    He achieved ordination in 1832, which co-incided with a cholera outbreak. He'd returned to Cork, where he'd taken a post as Hospital Chaplain at the North Infirmary.
    He devoted his time to helping the Cholera sufferers and their families.

    However, having worked hard to become a priest, he decided that the literary world held more of an attraction for him.
    In Paris he was the correspondent for The Globe, and in Rome for The Daily News.
    He died in Paris.
    The Bells of Shandon becoming known worldwide, after being published in 'The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse' It's thought that the words were probably first written during his time in a Rome seminary.

    With deep affection and recollection
    I oft times think of those Shandon bells,
    Whose sound so wild would in the days of childhood,
    Fling round my cradle their magic spells,
    On this I ponder when'eer I wander and thus grow
    fonder sweet Cork of thee,
    With thy bells of Shandon that sound so grand on,
    The pleasant waters of the river Lee.

    I've heard bells chiming, full many a chime in,
    Tolling sublime in Cathedral shrine,
    While at a glib rate, brass tongues would vibrate,
    But all their music spoke naught like thine;
    For memory dwelling on each proud swelling,
    Of the belfry knelling its bold notes free,
    Made the bells of Shandon sound far more grand on,
    The pleasant waters of the river Lee.

    I've heard bells tolling Old "Adrian's Mole"
    in their thunder rolling from the Vatican,
    And cymbals glorious, swinging uproarious
    In the gorgeus turrets of Notre Dame,
    But thy sounds were sweeter than the dome of Peter,
    Flings o'er the Tiber, peelingly solemnly,
    O, the bells of Shandon sound far more grand on,
    The pleasant waters of the river Lee.

    There's a bell in Moscow, while on tower and kiosk o!
    In Saint Sophia the Turkman gets,
    And loud in air calls men to prayer,
    From the tapering summit of tall minarets.
    Such empty phantom, I freely grant them,
    But there is an anthem more dear to me,
    'Tis the bells of Shandon that sound so grand on,
    The pleasant waters of the river Lee.

    One of the 8 Bells of Shandon
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    Painted Houses in Shandon

    by suvanki Updated Nov 8, 2008

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    Shandon is quite photogenic, with its old buildings and narrow streets. Many of the houses have painted walls, which add to the character of this area of North Cork. Please see my photos below.

    Apparently, Shandon commenced a programme of re-generation, funded by the Cork City Council, in 2002.
    The Shandon Action Plan included provision of grants in 2003, for the painting of houses in order to enliven and improve the quality of the environment Shandon Renewal Link

    Shandon Painted houses Shandon painted houses Shandon painted houses Katherine points out Shandons painted houses Shandon painted houses St Annes and Katherine
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    Graffitti or Art?

    by suvanki Updated Nov 8, 2008

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    Now I've never felt compelled to spraypaint or write on a building or wall to leave my mark, so I can't understand why others do.

    It's quite heart sinking to see ugly graffitti, adding to the squalor of run-down urban areas, and even more so, when it covers historic buildings etc.

    Sometimes though, I've come across a brightly coloured piece of 'Street Art' or a witty piece of writing.

    This piece in Shandon made me smile. I suppose being an 'Arty' area Shandon has a higher class of Graffitti. (Although there was quite a bit of mindless 'writing' on the walls of the nearby Firkin Crane).

    Graffitti or Art? Shandon Graffitti defacing The Firkin Crane Shandon
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    Bilingual Gaelic and English Street Signs

    by suvanki Updated Nov 8, 2008

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    Most of the street signs in Cork (and I guess other towns etc in Ireland) give both the name in English and Irish Gaelic. Many are quite attractive, like this one on Widderling's Lane (or Lana Widderling) in Shandon, which was cast in metal with celtic style lettering and a crest.

    I was curious to find out the origins of the name of this Lane (Which as you can see from the photograph (2) is more of a set of stone steps) That connects Popes Quay and Dominic Street.

    So far I haven't found any accurate info.

    Anyone know the answer?

    Widderling's Lane Bilingual sign Widderlings Lane Shandon
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    Let's meet at the Monument

    by evaanna Updated Jul 29, 2007

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    If a Corkman says that he has a 'jag with a lasher', that is, a date with a pretty girl, a very likely place for their meeting is by 'THE Monument' or 'THE Statue' in St Patrick's Street in the city centre. This does not mean that Cork has only one monument but for the Corkonians this particular monument to Father Theobald Mathew seems to have a special significance.
    So who was Father Mathew? A Capuchin priest ordained in 1814, Father Mathew was an Apostle of Temperance who spent most of his life in Cork and enjoyed enormous popularity with its citizens. His temperance crusade in the late 1830s and 1840s covered not only Ireland but also England and even spread as far as the United States. Father Mathew believed in the role of one's free will in overcoming the addiction and that taking what he called the Pledge could cure a person of it for life. The Pledge was taken by hundreds of thousands of people in many countries and I have heard that it is still being taken by many young people nowadays.
    This and his courage and compassion shown first during the cholera epidemic in 1832 and then during the Great Famine won him the everlasting affection and gratitude of the Corkonians. Over 150 years later in the year 2000 a proposal to move his monument to another less prominent place met with so many protests from the public that the project was given up.
    If you are ever asked about the qualities that make a hero, think of Father Mathew.

    Monument to Father Mathew in Patrick's Street
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    Beer festival

    by kissmagdi Written Apr 16, 2007

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    There is a very good pub, better say brewery in Cork. Small, but nice: Fransiscaner Well.
    Every year they organize a beer festival. One is in September, same time as the Jazz festival, the other one is at easter. Even the local stout is excellent, as good as the Guinness, but you can taste a lot of different type of beer, including the Kinsale Lager, or the Fruit beer from Belgium. CHEERS!!!!!!!!
    The place is easy to find. If you're going from the Opera, cross the bridge, and turn left, go along the river, and you gonna see the sign up to a gate. At festival time go early (before 7 pm) or you wont be alowed. A lot of people is going there.

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    The Real Capital

    by Ekaterinburg Written May 26, 2006

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    In Ireland there is a longstanding rivalry between Cork and Dublin. Cork people are notoriously arrogant about their city describing it as THE REAL CAPITAL. So if you want to make yourself really popular in Cork, speak at length about how much nicer, friendlier, more advanced etc., etc., it is than Dublin. Then if you are hellbent on honorary citizenship, learn to sing DE BANKS while consuming several pints of Murphys.


    THE CAPITAL SONG.

    They do things differntly
    quite differently up there
    .........somewhere between the autumn and the summer
    I lost my way for the first time in my homeland, trying to get back here,
    you know it wouldn't happen here,
    ...............you can always take your time,
    avoid the queuesand catch
    THE LAST BUS HOME BACK
    HERE,
    You know we''ll always be down here
    my friend,
    time to come back home.

    Written and performed by FRED, this song sums up beautifully the average Cork person's feelings about going to Dublin.

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    Lucky or Unlucky

    by clws Updated Sep 14, 2005

    Ireland is well known for the belief in superstitions. Below are some examples of some superstitions that many believe.

    Never give a knife as a gift unless you attatch a coin to it, to prevent cutting off friendly ties.
    Break a mirror and you'll have 7 years bad luck
    Crossed knives on a countertop will lead to an arguement
    It is bad luck to walk under a ladder
    Bad luck for a black cat to cross your path
    It is lucky if a stray wanders into your home and remains with you, but if you move you must leave it behind.
    Putting shoes on a table or chair is bad luck
    A horse shoe is lucky if you hang it upright, but if you hang it upside down all the luck will run out.

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    The Holy Wells

    by clws Written Sep 14, 2005

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    It is claimed there are as many as 3,000 holy wells in Ireland - more than in any other country in the world. Where once a pagan sacrifice may have taken place, today a bride might look into the waters for good luck ,or a cripple might bathe in them, hoping for a cure.
    It was believed that drinking from these holy waters or bathing in them would bestow the power of the Otherworld in the form of poetic inspiration, wisdom, or healing.

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    Drinking Beer

    by gueto Written May 25, 2004

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    Drinking beer in Cork (the rest of Ireland as well)is not a local custom, it's rather a primarily need.
    I've seen people transform themselves after drinking but in Cork is a complete different story. Sometimes I've seen that people needed to drink in order to be brave enough to talk to someone. Nonetheless I can't deny that the beer is espectacular. Well, the photo is my witness.

    Guinness
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    Cork Medical Dictionary

    by orlikins Written Mar 22, 2004

    Got this by e-mail, hope you find it amusing :)

    Benign- What you be, after you be eight
    Artery-The study of paintings
    Bacteria - Back door to cafeteria
    Barium - What doctors do when patients die
    Caesarean Section - A neighbourhood in Rome
    Catscan - Searching for Kitty
    Cauterize - Made eye contact with her
    Colic - A sheep dog
    Coma - A punctuation mark
    Dilate - To live long
    Enema -Not a friend
    Fester - Quicker than someone else
    Fibula - A small lie
    Impotent - Distinguished, well known
    Labor Pain - Getting hurt at work
    Medical Staff - A Doctor's cane
    Morbid - A higher offer
    Nitrates - Cheaper than day rates
    Node - I knew it
    Outpatient - A person who has fainted
    Pelvis - Second cousin to Elvis
    Post Operative - A letter carrier
    Recovery Room - Place to do upholstery
    Rectum - Nearly feckin killed him
    Secretion -Hiding something
    Seizure - Roman emperor
    Tablet - A small table
    Terminal Illness -Getting sick at the airport
    Urine - Opposite of you're out

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    What the hell are they saying??

    by orlikins Updated Oct 29, 2002

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    Cork accent is mad. Basically we dont understand what dem Carkmen do be sayin' at all, so like, you're screwed. :) Check Cork Slang for more, boy!

    But if someone says "Well now, boy, you're some langer" - thats not good, and you should really run far away as fast as possible!!

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Cork Local Customs

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