Gastronomic Ireland Part 4 – Living History at the English Market Cork

24 Jul

Cork Ireland English outside EntranceCork, Ireland is one of those really cool international cities that is perfect for exploring on foot and is bursting at the seams in living history ,culture and most important great food!

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Cork is known for being the food capital of Ireland and a culinary rival of Dublin. Why? It’s Access to hyper local ingredients and a progressive culinary scene. Institutions like the English Market Cork has made access to the local producers very accessible Ireland best Chefs and average cork residents looking for fresh ingredients.  See bottom of post for operating days and hours of the English Market Cork

Cork Ireland English Market Cork

The bread and pastry street

The market’s traditions are alive and well today providing food to Cork’s citizens and restaurants, just as it did when the market opened in 1788. I will be posting a separate post about Cork’s Restaurant scene later in the week.

Cork English Market Meat

Arial view of the meat market section

 The English Market Cork is a covered farmer’s market that places an emphasis on small local producers. Keeping in line with the market’s traditions, vendors also carry international food. The roofed market is one of the most established in Europe and has been around even longer than La Boqueria in Barcelona. The English Market is a living museum of Irish history, commerce, and culinary evolution. 

The English Market Cork carries a variety of food from from fish, meat, herbs, spices, product, fruit, cured meats, chocolates, oils, olives, cheese, pastas and cakes. When you walk around you can actually see butchers breaking down whole cows into delicate cuts of prime steak or bacon makers actively curing pork.

Cork English Market Produce

Produce that was picked from the field hours before arriving at the market.


I loved walking down the seafood monger section to see all the types fish that are local to Ireland.  The produce section allows you to see what types of produce grows in Ireland. The international influence, just like when they opened is evident with Mediterranean oils, olives, cheese and sweets.

Cork English Market o'connel seafood

O’Connel Seafood Market is the most popular fish monger in the market due to the Queen of England stop at this stall during her visit.


 Cork English Market HistoricalWhy is it called the English Market? The market was started by a Protestant or “English” cooperation that controlled the city at that time. It was designed to be a central hub for food commerce in the commercial trading city.  The market got its name after the city’s Catholic majority opened up the “Irish” market down the way. By default the other market became the “English Market.” /b>


Cork Ireland English Market Bread Man

Fresh Made Bread


Perhaps when of the better parts of visiting the English Market Cork is eating the food. While we walked around, I asked vendors for samples and purchased some small quantities from my favorite vendors. From goats cheese to cured meat, I tasted a little piece of the Irish culture.

Cork Ireland English Market Meat Sausage Cooker

There are several stalls that sell freshly made food for lunch, including delicious Irish sausage.

Within the market there are many food vendors who will make sandwiches to order like “the sandwich stall”,  sausage sandwiches, made to order fresh juice and smoothies.


Cork Ireland English Market Farmgate SeatsThe flag ship restaurant is located upstairs, called the Farmgate Restaurant  which specializes in classic Cork dishes using ingredients from the market.  There are two options the casual line order café with first come first serve seats over the market or the dining room which is a slower paced meal. With the menu displayed in chalk, it features dishes made from in season ingredients. If you order the fresh oysters a chef actually walks down to the fish market and shucks oyster straight from the display and then brings it up to your table.

Cork Ireland English Market Farm Gate Menu

The famous chalk menu at the Farmgate Restaurant on level 2 of the English Market Cork

We ordered the roast corned pot roast sandwich and the cheese sandwich. From the bread to the corned beef, the sandwiches were made 100% with market ingredients. My corned beef sandwich was really amazing! The meat was soft, juicy and tender. The lettuce tasted like it was harvested that morning and the bread baked a couple hours before. Eating this sandwich at the English Market Cork is one of those memories that will last a lifetime, just like eating tapas on the Ramblas in Barcelona.

Cork Ireland English Market Farmgate sandhwich full

Farmgate Corned Beef Pot Roast sandwich, amazing

Farmgate Restaurant & Country Store on Urbanspoon

Cork Ireland English Market Farmgate Cheese Sandwich

Farmgate Cheese Sandwich, also delicious


For all foodies and anyone who wants to experience the heart of Cork City, a trip to the English Market Cork is a must. You will get to see a real example of Irish culture at play. I recommend that you visit the English Market on the first day of your stay in Cork, so that you can truly appreciate the food that you are eating in the restaurants. .  My next blog post will cover my favorite restaurant experiences in Cork. There is a strong possibility that they purchased most of their ingredients from the English Market Cork


Location, Hours, Tips and How to Get There:

Address: Grand Parade, Co. Cork, Ireland

Cork English Market

Getting to the English Market Cork:

  • Via Road:  from Dublin (N8), Waterford (N25), Limerick (N20), Killarney (N22).
  • Staying in Cork: Just walk . The City is extremely pedestrian friendly. 
  • Parking: There is virtually no street parking in Cork. So if you are driving in and not staying in a hotel or B&B, then refer to this website for parking options If you are staying in Cork, just walk . The City is extremely pedestrian friendly. 
  • Staying in Cork: Just walk . The City is extremely pedestrian friendly. Use the map I provided above or use this link in google maps 


  •  Refer to the English Market’s sanctioned tour operator “Cork on Foot”

Operating Days and Hours:

  • Open to the public from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., Monday to Saturday. It is closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Note: that the hours from 11:00-4:00 can get pretty busy in the market. Come early or later in the afternoon so a more quite experience.  I personally love to see the hustle and bustle of the market.  
  • There is no admission fee for the English Market, although this is a working institution so be respectful to the people doing business there. 


  • Don’t eat lunch before you go. Plan on sampling at the stalls and then having lunch at the Farm Gate or one of the stalls. Also if you are considering a trip to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, pack a picnic with supplies from the English Market. There is a lovely park to relax attached to the castle.
  • Come early or later in the afternoon so a more quite experience.  I personally love to see the hustle and bustle of the market.
  • For more information about the English Market visit their Website:


Crubeen, Offals and Ruipleog…Waste Nothing

Cork Ireland English Market Meat  Pigs FeetPart of old cork culinary tradition is the consumption off-cuts of meat. This tradition dates back to peasant times and reinforced during times of famine. Cuts like crubeens (pigs Feet), ruipleog (tripe) and offals (scrap meat, bones, inedible cuts) were the only cuts of meat affordable to the poor. Although since the Irish are reliant they learned to make amazing dishes from these cuts.  Some linguists have said that the word awful has it’s roots in offals. You can see plenty of these off-cuts on full display at the English Market Cork.


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Tom Holmberg

Food Blogger / Founder at Tom's Foodie Blog
Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.

34 Responses to “Gastronomic Ireland Part 4 – Living History at the English Market Cork”

  1. Savannah-Lin Dofa July 25, 2013 at 4:53 am #

    That is pretty neat to know and learn about… It’s great what you do and travel to places.. There sandwiches looks amazing lol..

  2. Deanna July 25, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Sure would like to visit my this place the market looks amazing!

  3. Alikekid Sanrisk July 25, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    foodie #,#

    I want that cheese sandwich.

  4. Gangesh July 25, 2013 at 9:39 am #


  5. Deborah July 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    It’s too bad that you can’t find more markets like this in the U.S. Grocery stores are great for convenience but to find fresh local items would be so much better. I am glad that Tucson has a few farmers markets that are a small scale but worth visiting.

  6. Meli July 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    I love markets like these and enjoy spending time there wherever I happen to be!

  7. Loretta July 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Wow… great pictures and text! I feel like I’ve been there without the long flight! :)
    Loretta recently posted…Create your Victory!My Profile

  8. Karen Bradley July 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Now if that doesn’t make you want to go visit Ireland, what does. I think that is one of my favorite parts of traveling abroad. The food selection is so diverse. It makes the good old American hamburger look pretty unappealing.

  9. Irene Saadeh July 25, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Great article. I love those open markets.

  10. Dov Shapira July 26, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    Oooooh I like raw oysters

    • Dionne July 26, 2013 at 5:03 am #

      Ewwww. The fresh fish looked good though. I love Ireland.

  11. Veronica July 26, 2013 at 2:49 am #

    So much food! So little time!

  12. Barbara July 26, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    I have a good friend that lives in Cork, she uses all the fresh ingredients from the English market..she loves it and of course she is a great cook.

  13. Don Purdum July 26, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    That is incredible! I would love to visit there someday!!!
    Don Purdum recently posted…When His Business Feels More Important Than Your MarriageMy Profile

  14. Daniele Holmberg July 26, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    Great post honey! I remember how excited you were to go to this market and it was such an awesome place. The fresh deli they had upstairs was super yum..I think your sandwich was better than mine:)

  15. Sharon O'Day July 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    All the years I lived in Europe, what tweaked my taste buds the most were all the farmers markets, covered or open-air. What a fabulous place to discover what the locals (grow and) eat! I felt as if I were walking alongside you in this one; great reportage, Tom!
    Sharon O’Day recently posted…Financial Independence: A Quick and Dirty Path to FreedomMy Profile

  16. Liz Bigger July 29, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    AWESOME post! As I was telling Dani on her blog – my hubby and I want to go to Ireland ASAP! Thanks so much for lining it all out for us you two!!

  17. Alexandra McAllister July 29, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    WOW! Love all the info and pics…except for the pigs feet. AAUGH! Don’t think I’d ever eat that. Love the bread though! Thanks for sharing!
    Alexandra McAllister recently posted…Has Organo Gold Coffee Made An Improvement In My Health And Well Being? Absolutely!My Profile

  18. Kathy Robinson July 30, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    We plan to visit Ireland next year as part of our bucket list. This market sounds just like something we’d love.

    I remember eating ‘pigs trotters’ (pigs feet) and tripe often as a child. It’s not something I’ve fed to my children however. I wouldn’t wish those tastes on anyone.

    I’m starting to get excited about my trip now that I’m putting places to visit in my diary.
    Kathy Robinson recently posted…90 Day Product Creation Challenge UpdateMy Profile

  19. Oluwaseun Babajide July 30, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Awesome! I love the images. You have a lovely blog.
    Keep it up.
    Oluwaseun Babajide recently posted…Catholic Church appears to soften hard Stance on GaysMy Profile

  20. Moira Hutchison July 30, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    Excellent pictures and wonderful descriptions of your experiences there… those sandwiches looked super-yummy!
    Moira Hutchison recently posted…4 Ways to Build Your WillpowerMy Profile

  21. MamaRed July 31, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    OMG, this sounds like such an amazing trip! Wish I could have gone along to schlep your bags

    Laugh Lots, Love More!
    MamaRed recently posted…Dreams come true, it is only a matter of whenMy Profile

  22. Solvita July 31, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Great information and so many pictures too! Thank you for sharing, Tom! :)
    Solvita recently posted…Increase your Self-Worth NOW – 3 Simple TipsMy Profile

  23. Barbara Becker August 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    You must have been in heaven Tom! Thank you for sharing your food escapades in Ireland. This article reminds me of Harrods in London. I was amazed at their fish display on the wall.
    Barbara Becker recently posted…How To Plan For A Spiritual VacationMy Profile

  24. Carolyn Hughes August 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Brilliant photos and if I’m anywhere near Cork I shall make a point of visiting!
    Carolyn Hughes recently posted…Miracles.My Profile

  25. Not too sure about the crubeens, ofals! Ewwww! Lol… the rest looks yummy! :)
    Norma Doiron@Start, Grow & Strenghten Your Business ONLINE recently posted…Honor Your Audience Through Email MarketingMy Profile

  26. Pat Moon August 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Wow! What a wonderful experience! I love the idea that the restaurants actually go purchase the ingredients for your order after you order. That is totally amazingly fresh whole food.
    Pat Moon recently posted…Healthy Digestion Means Feeling Good – Indigestion Means Feeling BadMy Profile

  27. Lorii Abela August 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Fantastic idea! The way the food is presented looks especially inviting. For starters, which food do you recommend then?
    Lorii Abela recently posted…Cross Cultural RelationshipMy Profile

  28. Robin Strohmaier August 11, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Another fantastic article, Tom. You have me looking forward to visiting Ireland more than ever. Cork will definitely be on my list to visit.

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