Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

There’s nothing like a spot of color on an old building to liven up an urban scene, especially when that country is prone to fits of rain like in Ireland. In Cork, the street art springs up on you in bits and pieces, a delightful surprise as you turn a corner or an electrical box catches your eye. Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and has a large student population. County Cork is also nicknamed The Rebels and has a history of nonconformity. All of these traits combine to make a fertile ground for some very cool, intelligent and witty street art. You can find this street art in several different cool neighbourhoods several different cool neighbourhoods in Cork.

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

Street art in Cork in Ireland expresses Corkonians’ strong identity.

Mad About Cork

There’s even an organised group called Mad About Cork who promote the city through street art and guerrilla gardening. They even encourage visitors passing through Cork to join them in their graffiti projects! Having tried my hand at street art in Shoreditch in London, I hope their volunteers are more talented than I was at expressing myself with a spray can and a wall.

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

An abandoned city plot has been turned into a guerrilla sensory garden for children with disabilities.

Started in 2016, Mad About Cork have organised meetings and volunteers to beautify their city. It sounds not so much rebel-like but more positively civic-minded to me!

Street Art in Cork City

Keep in mind, that Cork only has a population of 125,000 so it is much smaller than other cities that I have visited with extensive street art such as Valencia in Spain (population 800,000), Los Angeles (population 4 million) and Sao Paulo in Brazil (population 12 million). The quality of the artistic expression on the city streets of Cork are all the more impression for its diminutive size.

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

These cheerful Crayola coloured steps remind me of the Selaron Steps in Rio de Janeiro.

Travelling around the West Coast of Ireland on a bite-size Irish road trip, I loved the candy-coloured buildings in the little villages I passed through. I don’t think there’s much of a difference between that sort of color-strewn village buildings and Cork City’s murals.

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

Pretty buildings in Kinsale, Ireland

Here are some of my favourite pieces of street art in Cork City.

We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.

– Winston Churchill

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

During the Siege of Cork in 1690, the city was collateral damage when 2 British Kings (James II for the Catholics and William III for the Protestants) duked it out.

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

A portrait of an Easter Uprising Rebel as a young man.

With deep affection and recollection, I think of those Shandon Bells

– Francis Sylvester Mahoney

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

The famous symbol of City Cork are the Shandon Bells at St. Anne’s Church.

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

The English Market in Cork is actually older than the Boqueria in Barcelona!

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

The Firkin used to be important in Cork’s Butter trade but is now an arts venue.

When words fail, music speaks.

– Shakespeare

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

Did you know that Ireland has two official languages? Both English and Gaelic appear in its street art as well. This article has more cool things you should know about Ireland especially before you visit.

A language which we do not know is a fortress sealed.

– Marcel Proust

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

I’m sure this has something to do with time! But I don’t know Gaelic!

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

Not just Gaelic, Corkonians speak French too!

Mad About Street Art in Cork City in Ireland

Corkonian slang explained.

Of course, there’s more to Cork than street art but it’s a colorful free way to get to know the city!

History and Beauty at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin

History and Beauty at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin

When someone says St. Patricks’s Cathedral to me, the New Yorker in me automatically thinks of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.  On our visit to Ireland last year, we discovered the original St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, an unabashedly Gothic Revival building, which is the National Cathedral of Ireland.

The History of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin

Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, was said to have baptised the local Celts in a well that stood in the park next to the Cathedral. Thanks to its association with St. Patrick, a church has stood on this location since the 5th century.  The church got upgraded to Cathedral status in 1191.  The Cathedral has been rebuilt and extended many times over the years.

St. Patricks' Cathedral in Dublin

A lone minister heads out after services.

The Archbishop of Dublin has his seat at the other Church of Ireland cathedral in Dublin, Christ Church.  Since 1870, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has been designated the National Cathedral because, after all, how many Anglican cathedrals does one predominantly Catholic city need.

St. Patricks' Cathedral in Dublin

A fairly simple altar, you know the Catholic version would have been much more ornate.

The cathedral is the largest church in Ireland.  The spire, an addition from the 18th century, soars 140 feet into the sky and is a local landmark.

I absolutely loved the stained glass and the mosaic floors. There are a lot of Anglo-British paraphernalia around which attests to the time that Ireland was controlled by the British.

St. Patricks' Cathedral in Dublin

Beautiful tile work

St. Patricks' Cathedral in Dublin

The stained glass is mostly Victorian.

Famous People Associated with St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Jonathan Swift, who became famous for writing Gulliver’s Travels, was a Dean of the cathedral from 1713-45.  Along with over 500 other people, Jonathan Swift and his ‘special friend’ Stella are buried in the Cathedral.

The famous oratorio by Handel, Messiah, was first sung at St. Patrick’s Cathedral by its famous choir.  It took about a year for Messiah to have its London debut.

St. Patricks' Cathedral in Dublin

The beautiful nave

Oliver Cromwell on a visit to check out the Irish part of his protectorate in 1649 stabled his army’s horses in the Cathedral. He had no patience for the Church of Ireland which he would have thought was as bad as the Church of England (and a mere papal breadth away from the horror that was Catholicism the horror that was Catholicism).

St. Patricks' Cathedral in Dublin

A bell commemorating the arrival of the French Huguenots.

The Cathedral has a lot of burial plaques which are cool to read and to examine.  Lots of these families went to town decorating their tombs because it was considered quite prestigious to be buried in the Cathedral.

St. Patricks' Cathedral in Dublin

Even the statues are dressed to the nines.

St. Patricks' Cathedral in Dublin

This is a detail of a plaque to the Boyle family the rest of which extends to nearly the ceiling. Ostentatious moi?

Visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is open 7 days a week and there’s a small admission fee for tourists.  You can just attend a service and skip the fee.  There are no photos allowed, though, during services or when the choir is singing.

There’s a gift shop right by the entrance with all the religious paraphernalia that you may ever wish to buy.  The Cathedral is set in a grassy parkland and there is a small children’s play area as well.  It’s one of the top visitor attractions in Dublin and definitely worth  a short stroll around to understand the turbulent history of this capital city.



St. Patricks Cathedral in Dublin is full of history and beauty

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Exploring Dublin's Viking and Medieval Past at Dublinia

Exploring Dublin's Viking and Medieval Past at Dublinia

Isn’t it great when you accidentally discover something that makes your trip memorable?  We had that experience at Dublinia, a Viking and medieval heritage museum next door to Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.  When we got to Christ Church Cathedral, there was a Mass being conducted and so we had time to wander around.  Dublinia is located next door to the Cathedral and so, of course, we wandered in for a look.

There are 3 main exhibits in Dublinia which looks at the Viking and medieval history of the city of Dublin. The whole museum is very interactive and a lot of fun for kids.

Dublinia viking

Viking History at Dublinia

The Viking section has recreations of a long ship and a home.  There are Viking outfits to try on as well as lots of cool information that’s presented in a fun way.

Dublinia pinterest image

Did you know that the Vikings took lots of Irish women as captives to Iceland?  Studies have shown that at least of 50% of Icelandic women are of Irish descent.  The running joke in Iceland is that the Vikings took all the pretty Irish women with them.

Dublinia viking horn

Did you know that Viking helmets did not actually have horns? The myth that Viking helmets had horns comes from the 19th century when a costume designer put horns on the helmet for the Wagner opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelung based on the ancient Norse stories.dublinia viking helmet

Medieval History at Dublinia

The second exhibition is looks at medieval Dublin up to the 16th century with sets showing a rich merchant’s house, a medieval street and a medieval faire.  Coincidentally our kids were studying the Black Death at school and seeing reconstructions of what they were reading about was interesting.

My children loved the medieval faire reconstruction because they were so many interactive exhibits.  For example, they got to play medieval games, wear medieval outfits and try their hand at writing like a monk.

dublinia medieval faire game

A knight could not see much wearing this shield and it was very heavy. My kids decided that they would prefer wearing a Norse helmet.

Dublinia medieval helmet

The cures for random diseases was fascinating as well as the diseases themselves.  Thank goodness for modern-day antibiotics.

Dublinia medieval fair medicine

Learning Archaeology at Dublinia

The third part of Dublinia looks at how archaeology works and dovetails with history and science.  We can say the kids had never really thought about the mechanics of archaeology before.  You could also listen to what Dubliners sounded like through the ages.  We could hear how the language sounded similar and yet so different.

We loved the Viking & medieval history of Dublin displayed at Dublinia so much we stayed for a couple of hours.  By the time that we left Dublinia, Christ Church Cathedral had closed.  We’ll have to see it on another trip to Dublin.  I have heard that Dublin does a great Halloween festival based on the traditional pagan festival of Samhain!

Details for Visiting Dublinia:

Dublinia is located at St. Michaels Hill in Dublin and open every day.  You can buy discounted tickets to both Christ Church Cathedral and Dublinia together.  Single tickets for adults cost €8.50 for adults, €5.50 for children or €24 for a family of four.  When we went the museum wasn’t crowded but its site says that it gets about 125,000 visitors a year.

Exploring Dublin at Christmas

Exploring Dublin at Christmas

The city of Dublin at Christmas time brings out all the festive cheer as we found out when we went to Dublin this last weekend.  We were surrounded by not only tourists from other countries but also Irish people who had come to the capitol to shop and to enjoy the cheerful atmosphere.

1. Festive Decorations

There are Christmas trees galore everywhere such as this beautiful one at the landmark hotel, The Shelbourne.

sherbourne hotel christmas tree

The beautiful decorations at The Shelbourne extend to this gorgeous fireplace.

christmas fireplace at the sherbourne

The State Apartments at Dublin Castle have a massive, beautifully-decorated tree as well.  The other ornaments are slightly more understated.  With all the gilt in the rooms, the Christmas decor really shows sparkle and splendour.

Christmas Tree at State Apartments

christmas decorations at state apartments

Grafton Street, the famous shopping street, is full of buskers and stores decorated for the holidays.

graft on street bow

2. Fireworks at Dun Laoghaire

Just a short rail ride away on the commuter line at the town of Dun Laoghaire, they had fireworks over Dublin Bay which were spectacular (if cold).  I’ve always thought of fireworks as a New Year’s thing so it was a pretty nice surprise to see them before Christmas.

fireworks at dun laoghaire

3. Christmas Markets

Of course, it wouldn’t be Europe without a Christmas market.  Unlike Vienna, Dublin is not awash in Christmas marketsawash in Christmas markets.  There are only two Christmas markets in Dublin, one near the city centre at St. Stephen’s Green and the other in the Docklands, both of which are small and charming.

christmas market

christmas market

4.  Winter Funderland

Winter Funderland is a long-standing Christmas tradition in Dublin according to our taxi drivers.  All of Dublin will get there at some point during the holidays (and it definitely felt like it when we were there!)  Similar to Winter Wonderland in London, it’s got lots of kid-pleasing winter activities such as ice-skating, a circus and a carnival. Our children had a blast!  They actually went on a log flume in the middle of winter – crazy!!

winter funderland

I hope you enjoyed our whistlestop tour of Christmas time in Dublin and it has gotten you in the mood for Christmas!


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