Cork city is one of my favourite places to visit any time of the year. There is fantastic shopping, an array of bars and restaurants to choose from, the English Markets and some of Ireland’s best attractions. The city really comes alive around Christmas time and this year me and Ali took a wander into the city for the Glow festival. Cork city really went all out this year for the festival. The lights on Grand Parade, Patrick street, Oliver Plunkett street and all the side streets are really magical.
The Christmas festival has been running every weekend since the 25th November. Friday, Saturday and Sunday the markets are open from 12pm to 8.30pm and Narnia in Bishop Lucey park runs from 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Me and Ali took the bus into town on a cold Sunday evening and hopped off the bus at the end of Patrick street. There is plenty of parking in Cork city, the closest to the city center would probably be Q-park on Grand Parade. Patrick street is well lit up and this is the main shopping street in Cork with Penneys, Dunnes Stores, Brown Thomas to name a few. We cut across to Oliver Plunkett Street and walked the length of it to make our way up to Grand Parade. Oliver Plunkett street is full of fantastic bars and restaurants. Bars like the Oliver Plunkett, An Brog and The Old Oak are well worth a visit.
Before we could even think of having a drink though we headed up to Grand Parade to check out the markets. As we made our way across the road you could see the queue of people for the big wheel! I couldn’t convince Ali to take a spin on it but its only €3.50 per person. There was a carousel for smaller kids and that was proving just as popular also. Just past the big wheel the market stalls are all set up selling their wares. Along with plenty of food offerings you will find plenty of stalls selling some really nice gift ideas and quirky decorations. As you make your way closer towards the river there is a row of amazing food stalls. There is seating in front of these stalls so you can sit down and enjoy your food while taking in the buzz around you.
After we were satisfied that we had seen everything on the markets we made our way over to Bishop Lucey park for a walk through Narnia! When we reached the park (which is right opposite the top of Oliver Plunkett street) the queue was weaving the whole way down the street beside it. We decided in our wisdom to have a drink in Bar Barosa and let the crowds die down. The park is open until 8.30pm and when we headed back up at 7.30pm there was no queue at all. The park is an absolutely magical place to bring kids for the evening but I have to say it’s just as entertaining for adults. I haven’t seen The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe in years but I recognised Mr Tumnus straight away. As we entered the tunnel to the left of the gate he was just standing there leaning on a lamp post! Fantastic! Around another corner then we came across more real life characters from Narnia. All of them were interacting with people walking through the park which made it quite entertaining. We met Lucy and Peter who told us to look out for the white witch! And low and behold around the next corner we came upon her! All of the characters were very willing to take pictures with everyone and have the chats with the smaller kids.
They have done an amazing job with the park and it is definitely a must see in Cork this year. I’ve been told that the queue moves fairly fast during the busy times but I would definitely recommend to go later on in the evening. After we had our fill of Narnia and the markets we were feeling suitably festive and we headed off to Deep South on Grand Parade to finish up our lovely evening in Cork City.
I have attached the link below for the festival. There are some beautiful hotels in Cork city to stay in over the festive period. The Imperial Hotel on South Mall and Isaacs Hotel on McCurtain street come highly recommended. Merry Christmas and Happy Galavanting! xxx