The English Market delights visitors and locals alike as a large-scale municipal food market in the heart of Cork City, Ireland. Open Mondays through to Saturdays, this multicultural covered market serves up everything from traditional fare to culinary experimentations for the “foodie” types. Once known for its native fresh fish and butchers, visitors can now shop for everything from fine art to vegetables and spend a leisurely day socialising and eating.
The Market’s origins date back to 1788 when the Protestant (or “English”) corporation that controlled the city of Cork until 1841 established it as the Grand Parade Meat Market. Over the next year, more and more stalls were added offering fish, poultry, and produce to the enthusiastic locals. In 1840 the Catholic (or “Irish”) majority took over the area and the newly reformed local government established an additional marketplace of their own and dubbed it the Irish Market. It was during this transition that the original Grand Parade Market became known as the English Market.
The Market has endured many expansions and brushes with destruction in its 227 years of existence. It survived the burning of the city in 1920 but was severely damaged in a fire following a gas explosion on 19th June 1980. The Market was rebuilt in an award-winning Victorian design and quickly became more popular than ever.
A Trip through the Market
Today, the English Market is jam-packed with an abundance of tradition and long-standing family-run stalls. Visitors are instantly swept up in the Market’s energetic atmosphere and old-style charm. With old-fashioned butchers and fishmongers on your left, ripe produce and locally crafted cheeses on your right, and the smell of freshly baked breads wafting up from behind you, this place will awaken all of your senses. Spend the day stocking up on homemade jams and honey for the trip back home and talking up the knowledgeable staff and gracious stall owners, many of whom have been there for generations.
Don’t leave without a trip to the second floor café for drinks and snacks, taking in the bird’s eye view of the market.
On the Menu
Cork’s English Market offers a diverse selection of high quality foods in a typical European-style market. With options ranging from organic local produce and premium chocolates and confections to knickknacks and T-shirts, it would be a challenge to leave this market empty handed.
The English Market is a testament not only to the evolving tastes of its patrons, but also to Ireland’s enduring culinary traditions. Such characteristically Irish foods as drisheen, dry salted ling, spiced beef, and buttered eggs are a favourite among the Market’s local clientele.
Why the English Market?
Often called “the best covered market in Ireland,” The English Market is a reflection of Cork’s political, socio-economic, and culinary history. Follow in the footsteps of celebrities, ordinary travellers and dignitaries like Queen Elizabeth who paid the Market a visit in 2011. With several entrances and a six-day operating schedule, the Market’s wide variety of vendors and cafés are accessible to everyone in town, whether you’re a local doing the weekly shopping or a visitor looking for delicious mementos to take home. Cork’s English Market is a treat for the senses that is not to be missed.