From #madaboutcork to Madly In Love With Cork

Your perfect day in Cork should probably start and end like mine. I hope you are as lucky as I am with the weather. The sun is out and it’s already autumn. But even when it’s cloudy and kind of miserable, Cork is enjoyable with many places to fall in love with indoors.

Cork Harbour
Port of Cork

 

Nash 19

Have your breakfast diner-style at the self service place Nash 19. It’s at Princess Str. and opens up from a self-service counter to a nice gallery space for Irish artists with spacious seating. I decided to go with porridge, fresh fruit, almonds and maple sirup. The cappuccino was OK, not a barista-style one but still very good. Plus, you could get endless refills on the filter coffee. I enjoyed the free space, free wifi and nice staff.

Nash 19
A wonderful morning starts with a wonderful breakfast

Since Nash 19 is right in town, you should wander around there. I really love the little paths through the town where I easily get lost. A river here, a canal there. There is always something to explore. Cork is a big, big building site at the moment. It will change a lot in the next couple of years into a more modern and driven riverside town with its harbor and closeness to the sea. But Ireland’s south will – in my opinion – never get into this hush-rush like Dublin. It’s laid back and easy going.

Cork Harbour
Cork Harbour and it’s blue sky and blue river Lee

So are all its students. University College Cork just a little out of the historical town center is a space to lean back and enjoy. On days like these students are gathering in the sunny spots outside and on the grass, having coffee and sandwiches, chatting away. I walked past them and visited:

Lewis Glucksman Gallery

The gallery was founded in 2004. Founding donor, philanthropist and financier Lewis Glucksman gave the gallery its name. After winning prices for its outstanding architecture it is also a hub for interesting exhibitions especially the themed ones are extremely challenging. I happened to be allowed to touch objects of art in the exhibition Please Touch. The second show I walked through is mainly connected with the Please Touch one due to prepared stations where you could also touch facsimile of the abstract art works. Can Josef and Anni Albers‘ artworks be experienced without using our eyes?

University College Cork
I was able to feel and to touch art work in the ‘Please Touch’ exhibition. A very new way to walk through a gallery.
Anni and Josef Albers exhibit
The Anni and Josef Albers exhibition offers a lot of playful ways to feel and to ‘see’ through your hands.

 

Another part of the gallery I didn’t use my eyes for was the cafe. It’s simply delicious and has many vegetarian and vegan options. I went for a green tea kombucha and a peanut butter sponge cake.

Opening Hours

10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Saturday

2pm – 5pm, Sundays

Closed Mondays

Blackrock Castle

A heck of a walk! Black Rock Castle and Observatory is slightly outside Cork city centre but totally walkable. If you decide to walk next to river Lee you are surrounded of beautiful old (I think) pine trees planted like an alley. When you reach Blackrock you could either stop at the Natural Bakery and have some kind of treat or head on to the castle which is about 600m from Blackrock square. You pass gorgeous villas and bay houses,… I might have had a peek into one or two.

View to Blackrock Castle
Blackrock Castle approaching

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Blackrock Castle itself is situated on a rock leaning into the river and a beautiful courtyard inside. You can have some lunch here at the cafe. It’s busy and buzzy but still nice. Visit the castle with one of the two tours or even both of them. I ran out of time and had to choose one tour and went for the observation tour. After you have a look around the different topics from questions like how did the human species evolve? to what kind of galaxies to we know of? the observatory offers a very broad and interesting view of modern astronomy and space science. But there is also a space to learn about the history of Blackrock Castle and why it was important. For the observation tour the tour guide asks you to enter a blow-up dome in one of the towers of the castle, to sit back and relax. For around 30 minutes you learn about the Northern hemisphere and its sky, its stars and planets and what you will be able to see the night you visit. I learned much about the planets visible – Jupiter, Mars and Saturn – as well as some galaxies far, far away. I love the way you get detailed information about star signs and constellations, how they were created in Ancient Greece and why their called Cassiopeia or Orion. I definitely need to hang out more in the country to find those constellations more easily.

Blackrock Castle & Observatory
A little bit of science, please

The second tour is a historical tour around the castle including a visit of the terrace to overlook river Lee.

Opening Hours

daily 10am – 5pm

last admission 4pm

Ichigo Ichie

Ichigo Ichie is an experience you will not forget easily. The fine Japanese dining restaurant just achieved its first Michelin star in 2018 (Congrats!) and Ichigo Ichie’s chef Takashi Miyazaki is the most laid back haute cuisine chef I have ever met. I went for a space at the bar to watch him plate and was absolutely delighted to make conversation with him throughout the dinner.

Ichigo Ichie
Welcome to Ichigo Ichie

I decided to get a 6 course menu rather than 12 course. Even though the portions are small, I usually cannot take more than 6. It was plenty and it was absolutely gorgeous. The menu focuses on local fish and seafood, trying to get ever bit as fresh as possible. I had oysters from Galway, since they were in season. Aged fish with innovative toppings (like truffle) and Miyazaki’s dashi were my favorites. But see yourself and be convinced why to make your way to Cork:

Ichigo Ichie
One hell of a starter…
Ichigo Ichie
Sashimi and Sushi
Ichigo Ichie
Steamed egg in dashi and salmon with ginkgo nut
Ichigo Ichie
Autumny chocolate mousse with pumpkin

 

I’m not #MadAboutCork which was their hashtag to apply for the cultural capital 2020 but madly in love with the town.

How to get to Cork

Cork is easily reachable via train or bus from Dublin and Limerick. The best way to pre-book tickets is to look at Irishrail or Buseireann or Dublincoach.

More pictures

Cork 2018

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Kildare Coffeehouse Solutions

When I last visited my second home Kildare, there was no chance for serious coffee (I’m sorry, you are all really precise about your tea, and it’s wonderful to be served perfect tea, but coffee is also very important). I suppose you could always walk down to Kildare Village to get some Starbucks, which is reasonably ok in comparison what was around but rather expensive for what you get. There is a third wave of coffee hitting the Emerald island like it is in Austria.

 

Ubh Cafe Coffee Solutions
Find a good book, some great herbs to brew your own tea at home and drink some amazing coffee… photo: Lucia Täubler

My favorite spots in Vienna are Jonas Reindl (with many guest roasters, like 3fc from Dublin), Café le Marché and Süßmund. Another funky coffee spot in the country, comparable to Kildare Town and Newbridge would be in Krems with FelixKaffee and Kaffee Campus Krems. If you are traveling to my beautiful home county, don’t miss those spots.

 

Coffee is about the right components and their balance.

When you taste coffee it shouldn’t be bitter or sour, it should be flowery, maybe with a hint of citrus or heavy chocolaty flavor. Italian coffees tend to be very toasty. Never taste coffee with milk – if you add milk your coffee turns into dessert which is fabulous too, but you do not get the real taste of your coffee. So go in, ask for maybe two different coffee blends (usually blended, but sometimes 100% from one territory and one variety) and get yourself an espresso each.

Then: Smell. Compare. Question. Repeat, but: Taste. Compare. Question.

Your tongue, your gum and your throat, every little part of your mouth is structured to absorb taste and transfer it into „I like“ or „I dislike“ or „I’m unsure“. Also, trust in your guts (or your taste buds), if you don’t like a coffee the way it has been roasted, ask for an equivalent. Usually roasters in Third Wave shops are very happy to recommend you another type of coffee instead.

Cappuccino is dessert.

To be honest, I rarely drink espresso but in the mornings because I cannot do milk that early. For me cappuccino, latte, flat whites and any other milky coffee out there: DESSERT! You only want the best ingredients for your dessert, you want the best ingredients to top up your coffee. Why would you use skimmed milk with it? It will ruin your coffee. Remember, your coffee had a very long way to make its way into this particular cup in your hand. Many could have gone wrong already and you ruin it with this little sip of milk. So, back to thinking of milky coffee is dessert. You know it’s intriguing, it’s sweet and it’s coming with calories. But you won’t drink buckets of it (well, you shouldn’t), so it’s fine. Same as you do not eat several slices of chocolate cake (ahem…).

Kildare Square Coffee
Summer vibes! photo: Lucia Täubler

 

These two places in Kildare Town and Newbridge have opened my mind that the Third Wave has not only hit Dublin (Two Pups, Urbanity and many, many more) but also the country:

Kildare Square Coffee

At town square you find your daily coffee fix next to Macari’s and the bus stop to go into Dublin or to Portlaoise. Really handy, because I usually just get myself a coffee before I jump on the bus. I really recommend to try their two roasts and pick from one of them to go with a dessert, hence milky, version. Or just stick with an americano (without milk, just add hot water). I love their little shop with gift cards (LaneyK) and wollen blankets too. You can either sit in or take-away.

 

Kildare Square Coffee
Oh, and coffee is not everything: smoothies to make your day are served too… photo: :Lucia Täubler

 

 

Hours

Mon-Fri 7.30am – 6pm

Sat 9am – 4pm

Sun 11am – 4pm

 

Ubh Cafe Coffee Solutions
Behind the scenes coffee tasting. Take a look at the lovely machine brewing the wonderful flavoured caffeine kicks… photo: Lucia Täubler

 

Ubh Cafe

Ubh means egg in Irish and that’s the main character of most of what’s on Ubh Cafe’s menu. Which you should definitely try when you are on a visit in Newbridge or just passing by this funky little town. You are in for a treat. Coffee-wise, I have to say, that I have never had better oat milk based cappuccino. Never. Foamy, sweet and it goes well with the house roasted coffee. If you call in you will see the mini roaster in the kitchen. So usually Mondays when the cafe is closed, it smells like chocolate in Georges Street. Staff is well trained and the barista know their way around the Third Wave of coffee – looking at other European coffee houses.

 

Ubh Cafe Coffee Solutions
This is not coffee at all, but it goes well with an americano. Look at these tasty slices of French toast. photo: Lucia Täubler

 

Hours

Tue-Fri 9am – 4.30pm

Sat-Sun 10.30am – 4pm

 

This article has not been sponsored by any of the corporates written about. 

Five years ago: A History of Decisions

Five years ago, I addressed the wish to myself to live abroad for a while. I knew it would be Ireland, somehow.

Landing in Ireland
Landing in Ireland © Lucie
A few days back, I was asked if Ireland was a particular choice. Yes. I am interested in its richness. The growing awareness of how food should be processed is equally important in Austria. But, I appreciate the Irish way of patience, lust of life and immorality to deal with topics like sustainability and green living.
When I listened JP McMahon, Chef, Writer, and Founder of Food On The Edge, and Dr. Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, Chef, Lecturer and Ireland’s leading food historian, on With Relish, an Irish food podcast, I was struck; this is what I wanted to write about, this is what I wanted to dig in deep, to know more of.
Ireland 2014
How do we eat? What do we eat? And where does it come from? © Lucie

What are we coming from? What have we eaten historically? How did it shape us?

I like Máirtín’s description of the summation of food that we have eaten on this island historically until now. It is like digging deep in archaeological findings. He asks us to use our imagination and experience finding oyster shells out there at the coast. In ancient times, there was an engagement with food. With actions taken like JP’s festival Food On The Edge at least chefs and their acquaintances are drawn to a culinary focus again.

So, what will you be reading of in the next weeks and months while I am traveling

  • Traveling and eating locally
  • History of food culture
  • Producing food myself (sorry, no recipes)
  • Interviews with active people around a sustainable mind
  • Stories of traveling slowly
  • Tips to plan trips
Five years ago, I shaped a dream which I follow now. It is never too late. And there is always a dream to find yourself to wake up with. I am right in the middle. Come join me. 

 

This year, in 2018, Food On The Edge will take place on October 22 and 23, in Galway.