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Our Trip to Cork, June 2005

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Diary of a Weekend in Cork, June 2005

Day 1: Dublin to Cork
Day 1: Checking out the Nightlife in Cork
Day 2: Cork to Blarney
Day 2: The Midleton Jameson Distillery
Day 2: A Visit to Historical Cobh
Day 2: Night out in Cork City
Day 3: Cork City Gaol
Day 3: Fota Wildlife Park
Day 3: Homeward Bound - Cork to Dublin

Day 2: Night out in Cork City

Bells Bar at the Quality Hotel Cork
We left the Rushbrooke hotel and went back to the city. We really had to plan the evening as there were so many places we wanted to see. First stop was Bells - The Quality Hotel bar. It had more of a café feel than a bar. Bright lights, casual tables but surprisingly, there was no background music. The bar was very busy and had a very mixed crowd. Families, wedding parties, a few couples, and there was a football team there too! The good news is that the bar is open late. It was still serving when we got back at the end of the night.
Service: 9/10
Toilets: 9/10
Atmosphere: 6/10 - could do with some live music.

Franciscan Well Micro Brewery
From Bells, we headed down to the river and took a right turn away from the city. We were looking for a microbrewery pub called the Franciscan Well. It was a good walk away. It would probably be about a 20 min walk from Patricks Street (city centre) but it is well worth a visit (and sure there are always taxis!). The first thing we noticed was that the entrance is a big, daunting set of double doors. Once through them we headed down to the main entrance. The pub itself isn't that big. There is a stage on the right where there was live music playing. Instantly, we were happy. We went to the bar and had the decision of what to order. For those who have never been to a micro-brewery, they make their own beers on site and don't serve anything else on draught. You can get bottled beer if you want but it's not the "done thing". The Franciscan offers a tasting tray before 8pm. This is a tray with a sample of all their beers on it. Good value at only 6Euro and the best way to get introduced to micro-brewery drinking. Some of the beers on offer at the Franciscan Well are; Friar Weisse Wheat Beer, Lighthouse Lager, Rebel Red, Blarney Blonde and Shandon Stout. We decided to order 3 pints of Blarney Blonde and they were lovely. Much nicer than the usual processed beers you get in regular bars. The Franciscan Well has a huge beer garden at the back with outdoor heaters, plenty of tables and full glass windows looking into the actual brewery. The age group varied and there was a good mix of locals and tourists.
Franciscan Well Micro Brewery is a bit of a walk away from some hotels. However if you are staying at the Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre,   Hotel Isaacs on Mac Curtain Street or the Gresham Metropole hotel also on Mac Curtain Street, then the Franciscan Well is definitely a must!
Service: 7/10
Toilets: 6/10 - temporarily was recipient of award for smallest toilets (later snatched back by Preachers)
Atmosphere: 10/10

Larry Tompkins, Lavitts Quay
We could have spent the whole evening at the Franciscan Well Micro-brewery but we had to move on and check out some other places. Next stop was Larry Tompkins pub on Lavitts quay near the Opera House. The pub is owned by Larry Tompkins who is a big name in the Cork sporting circles. The pub has live music on most nights and from what we seen the clientele would be mainly locals. We recommend visiting Larry Tompkins if you want to take in some traditional music or get into a debate with some locals about GAA and how great Cork is! We didn't stay long as the night was moving on and we had lots of other places to see.
With its central location right on the banks of the River Lee - Larry Tompkins is only a short stroll for those of you staying at Hotel Isaacs or the Gresham Metropole hotel on Mac Curtain Street. Its literally across the river !
Service: 8/10
Toilets: 8/10
Atmosphere: 9/10

The Raven Bar, South Main Street
From Larry Tompkins, we walked over to South Main Street; an extension of North Main street - Naturally. This is a really big street with a massive range of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and coffee shops. Situated on the Corner of South Main Street, was a bar with people oozing out onto the patio and the road. There was lots of noise and laughing so we figured it was a good spot. However, the bar is tiny - the crowds were huge. We soon realized why everyone was on the street. It was absolutely packed inside. There was great craic outside where we got chatting to a few people and got some ideas on where to go next. We didn't really hang around The Raven too long as it was really too much of an effort to get to the bar.
The Raven is just a short walk from the Imperial Hotel located on South Mall in Cork City.
Service: 5/10 - was extremely busy
Toilets: ?/10
Atmosphere: 8/10

Preachers Bar, Washington Street
We decided to take a wander down Washington Street (the road intersecting North and South Main Street) once we finished our drinks in the Raven Bar. Half way down the street on the left is a little gem of a pub called Preachers. We actually planned to just go in for a minute but loved the music they were playing so much that we decided to stay for a drink. The other attraction was the décor. Preachers is a really small pub - dark, traditional style wood. Tables were made from solid chunks of wood that looked like they had just been cut from a tree! At the back wall of the pub they have rows of shelves with a collection of ashtrays, boots, shoes and other strange but really cool stuff. There were posters all over the walls for great bands such Stereophonics, Metallica, Stone Roses, Green Day, The Pixies, Rory Gallagher and so much more. The music was not live - just the bar staff playing random songs but the atmosphere and range of music they were playing all came together to make the Preachers my favourite drinking spot of the weekend. We stayed there till closing time (that's a sure sign that we liked it!). We gave Preachers the award for "Smallest toilet in the world". This is not a bad thing - just something to keep in mind. In the ladies, you literally could not get in the door if there was someone washing their hands! Still - It just added to the funky atmosphere and made it stand out in our heads when trying to remember everything the next day. Go visit Preachers - I know we will definitely go there again.
I wouldnt rule this bar out as a hot-spot - no matter what hotel you are staying at. But in the near vicinity, you will find the Imperial Hotel on South Mall and just over the river is The Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre.
Service: 10/10
Toilets: 7/10 - stole Franciscan Well's thunder for award for smallest toilet!
Atmosphere: 9/10

The Bodega, Cornmarket Street.
So it was then 12.30am - regular bars and pubs were all closing and we needed somewhere to continue the party. We had heard good things about a late bar called The Bodega on Cornmarket Street. As soon as we got to the door of Bodega, we knew it was going to be a trendy place. Just inside the front door is the main bar. Its huge with extremely high ceilings! If you are ever planning to meet someone in the Bodega, arrange a meeting place ahead of time because you will not be able to find them in the main floor. The bar was very long and it was relatively easy to get a drink - despite the crowds. The main bar reminded us of a bar in Dublin City called the Market Bar. Wide open space with tables and chairs everywhere. Brightly lit with subtle background music. If you want more than subtle background music, go up the main centre stairs to the White Room (oddly named considering the lights and furnishings etc were blue). There is a dance floor and a random mix of tunes being played by the DJ, really comfortable velvet seating, and a good atmosphere. A nice contrast from the bright, airy bar downstairs. There is also a smaller bar upstairs which was being used for a 30th birthday when we were there. The crowd at The Bodgea was generally late 20's / early 30's. I didn't notice too many late teens there (This was a good thing in my opinion). Again, we stayed there until the end of the night.. and we still weren't ready to go back to the hotel. We needed to keep going - get some food and maybe a coffee or tea..
Service: 8/10
Toilets: 9/10
Atmosphere: 8/10

Tribes, Tuckey Street.
Some local Cork guys that we met at The Bodega stepped up to the challenge and brought us to Tribes on Tuckey Street. When we got to the door there was a queue of people looking to get in. Someone had contacts on the door and we managed to skip ahead and get in. Apparently, Tribes is one of Corks best known spots to go After Hours. It is a coffee shop with a difference. They have great coffee, lots of seating, good background music, friendly staff and best BLT I've ever had! You know the way some times you want food after a night out but you don't want fast food? Well Tribes is Cork's solution to this problem. They have a good menu, teas, coffee's, soft drinks.and no..they don't serve alcohol. Dublin doesn't have a place like Tribes. We suggest they should open one in the Capital as it would do a roaring trade. Well, we'd go there anyway. For the third time that evening, we stayed until closing time. Then it was definitely back to the hotel. What a great day!
Service: 8/10 - there's a bit of a wait but its worth it.
Toilets: 7/10
Atmosphere: 9/10 - well at 3am, most places have a good atmosphere!

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