Derval O’Rourke is a recently retired Irish track athlete, a world and multiple European medallist and three time Olympian. She is also an Irish Examiner sports columnist, author and blogger.
It’s definitely the food scene. (Derval has just published her first cookbook, Food for the Fast Lane: Recipes to Power your Body and Mind). I have just moved back after 14 years, when I left it was to go to college in Dublin. There are so many more options now.
The traffic in Cork is brutal, particularly around Carrigaline, it can be an absolute disaster. And if you hit Douglas at the wrong time of the day? I’m doing different bits and pieces of tv and radio work at the moment and I find that I’m up and down to Dublin for work. I’d love if there were Cork-Dublin flights again as I’m spending so much time travelling.
You have to weigh up that while you may have to travel for a lot of work if you live in Cork, you have a quality of life here that you won’t have in Dublin.
: It has to be winning at Cork City Sports at Pairc Ui Caoimh. I run around there a lot now and every time I see the stadium in the distance, I think of those early sports days. You had to walk up steps to collect your medal and I thought it was the most exciting moment ever, I thought I was the greatest sports hero. I must have been seven years old first time.
: I’ll venture outside the city for this one. It has to be Jacobs in Baltimore in West Cork. We go to Baltimore a lot because my husband, Peter is a sailor. It’s a great bar with a great buzz and you can have a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, whatever you want: that’s the sign of a good bar and the staff and food are lovely.
: What they are doing at the Asian noodle bar, Ramen at Anglesea Street is brilliant. It has a really diverse bunch of people eating there. city, ticks so many boxes.
I love the back beach at Fountainstown — a gorgeous part of the world. I’m a big seaside person.
Vivienne Kelly is co-owner of The Dress Bar and co-director of Lockdown Models.
Cork is a really friendly city, it’s a small city where everybody knows everybody and I like that. I did a lot of travelling when I was younger and I found a lot of the other cities cold and impersonal.
Something needs to be done about St Patrick’s Street. There are so many vacant units, it should be our showcase street showing off the best of the city. Parking is also a nightmare.We really need to keep business in town, to stop businesses migrating to the suburbs because it’s cheaper and parking is better.
Aah Sunday spins! We’d all pile into the Cortina, the six kids in our house and my nan. We’d go off to Farran Woods or Crosshaven, it was always places that were free, you would never pay to take your kids somewhere.
Deep South is great, it has all age groups . It’s unique, funky, you could be anywhere. Love it.
Has to be Isaccs. It’s great value, really cool, relaxed and the food is beautiful. I love Mc Curtain Street, it’s a really happening street.
: I love Opera Lane, I wish we could spread it all over Patrick’s St. When you walk from Emmet Place and see Topman, there’s a real wow factor. I also love Daisy Blue — Breda is such a good example of a boutique owner who has put her life into her business. I’d love to see a Design Studio established somewhere near the market.
KATE NOONAN is one of Cork’s best known make-up artists and has worked for Ireland:AM and RTÉ as well as with well-known faces such as Rachel Allen, Glenda Gilson, and gardener Dermot Gavin. She also travels as far afield as Athens and Lisbon for international hair shows.
I love the bohemian influence in Cork’s food scene. There is such variety, great stalls at farmers markets, as well as the English market. We also have a great cultural scene; there’s great art shows and great theatre happening here all the time.
I love the arts but I don’t think there is enough people supporting what is going on here. Because of that, we have lost places like the Kino and the Pav’ too. There has always been a lack of funding for the arts so we need to get out there and attend things so that they can keep going.
It was probably trips to West Cork as a kid. We’d go to Baltimore, Skibbereen and Allihies. My dad is a musician, he was in a band called Trilogy, there were four of them and he was the first of them to have kids so we travelled a lot with them. They had a regular gig in the Trident too so I have great memories of hanging out there drinking fizzy drinks before and after gigs.
I love Deep South as the interior is beautiful and they have really good food and a great beer garden. It’s the kind of place that you can bring anybody to: there’s just a great variety of people in there. I go to Crane Lane a lot too as there’s always something on in the theatre. Recently I went to something there on a Tuesday night and ended up coming home at 3pm as I spent the rest of the night dancing after the show had ended. Great, great fun.
The Castle restaurant at Blackrock Castle. I could bring my 90-year-old grandad there or my friends and they all love it. The food is all local and it’s healthy. The setting is amazing and the service is great.
Miss Daisy Blue, I can rarely leave that shop without picking something up. Miss Daisy Blue doesn’t advertise much as she hopes her business will grow through word of mouth but she has put me in some fantastic dresses and is looking out for something for me for my wedding, which is very exciting. I fell in love with a 100% wool dress there recently but I’m getting married in Spain so I don’t think that will work! I also love Vivienne Kelly’s Dress Bar for serious dressing up.
Stephen Grainger set up his own record label, SoulJamz this year.
It’s the pace of things. It’s really relaxed and chilled and everything is within walking distance.
The licensing laws which mean that clubs close earlier than they do elsewhere in the country. It must seem crazy to tourists that at 2am, up to 20,000 people spill out on to the streets. I can play until 4.30am in Dublin but I can’t in Cork. It’s argued that people will drink more but I think that’s rubbish, I think the way it is now encourages binge drinking as people are lashing down shots at 1pm and then all head back to house parties so the party can go on.
Playing soccer during the summer holidays in Grange, Douglas. We played football all day every day until it got dark at night. I was soccer mad until I was 12 and then that obsession transferred over to music. I remember discovering U2 and Michael Jackson around that time. I vividly remember buying my first record it was U2’s Unforgettable Fire. It blew me away so I saved up my money and went off to Golden Discs in Wilton where I bought their three other albums in one go.
I’m not really one for drinking, it’s more coffee for me. But I did really like the bar in the Pav’ (Grainger was one of the owners of the feted music venue before it closed earlier this year), I nearly preferred the bar to the music venue. My favourite bar/cafe at the moment would be Gulp’d Cafe at the Triskel.
Best restaurant: I don’t eat meat, never did so I tend to go for salad bars like Orso on Pembroke St. I’m also really enjoying Rocketman on Princes St,
I love shopping for records in new and second hand shops. I’ll wander around shops like Plug’d Records or Relics and Records on Lancaster Quay, or around markets like Mother Jones off Wellington Road or the Vintage Quarter near the Mercy Hospital. We’re really lucky to have good record shops in Cork; Music Zone in Douglas Court shopping centre is another that I’ll pop in and out of.
ERNEST CANTILLON, Owner of Sober Lane in Dublin and Cork, Electric bar and restaurant in Cork and part-owner of the Voodoo Lounge.
To really get Cork, you need to relax in it, talk to and listen to the people. You need to sit on a bench at Fitzgerald’s Park, go to the Farmgate (restaurant) in the English Market and just watch all the hustle and bustle below you, you need to wander in and out of the shops, restaurants and bars on McCurtain St. People like to criticise Cork but they take all it has to offer for granted: its relaxed pace, its friendly people, if you sit at a bar in Cork with a pint, people will talk to you, they’ll tell you stories.
It’s the way some Cork people like to bitch about their city but don’t explore outside their comfort zone. If you’re not happy, move somewhere else. You hear Cork people rave about something that they’ve seen at the Bord Gáis theatre in Dublin, but yet they don’t bother supporting Cork Opera House.
: My dad has a first floor office on the South Mall and every St Patrick’s Day it was a treat to watch the parade from that vantage point.
I love the bars on McCurtain St but I think Callinans on George’s Quay is a very special kind of place. It’s owned bytwo brothers, Will and Rob and it’s where they grew up. I don’t know whether they are trying to be patriotic to Beamish and Murphys but they don’t stock Guinness and that’s a ballsy move.
I go to the Liberty Grill a lot for lunch and brunch and it’s always rocking. The food is great and it’s crazy cheap.
We often forget what a great art gallery we have in Cork city centre. Sometimes I’ll got to the Crawford Cafe for lunch and then get lost wandering around the gallery for an hour.