10 Christmas Tings That Do Be Pure Cork
You can’t let Christmas pass without having a hearty toasted special or a big mad spiced beef sandwich in a proper Cork pub washed down with gallons of Barry’s tea. You might have spent the year experimenting with aubergine and goat’s cheese wraps or musing over chick pea falafels and compostable containers of vegan salad, but give your Corkonian taste buds what they’re really looking for at Christmas. And the more the ham laps out the side of the bread like a thirsty pig’s tongue, the better.
They warms the heart, the soul and the liathróidí. Clutch that hot glass with both hands and let the steamy scent of cloves gently rise up into your nostrils to prepare your head for the medicinal power about to be unleashed on it. Remove the spoon, raise the glass with care like Pat Horgan rising a sliotar on the 65, and pull the Christmas trigger. Winter can be dark, gloomy and stuffy but hot ports wipe it all away – it’s officially Christmas once the first drop passes your lips.
|Santy in his harem in Dunnes, Patrick Street.|
Calling him Santy
He might be Santa everywhere else but in the Rebel county, the man in red and white will always have the affectionate Cork ‘y’ added to his name to make him one of our own just like other names are affectionately changed: Dinny, Sully, Dricky, Óg-y, Murty etc. Pure Cork people always insist on referring to Father Christmas as Santy. The other version is something that comes before holiday destinations like ‘Ponza’.
What could be more Corkonian than taking a trip on the Grand Parade’s Ferris wheel with friends to look at your favourite city in all its shiny, sparkly, Christmas glory from on high? Don’t hold back if you feel like bursting into a teary eyed verse of the Banks when you get to the top.
|It's a glow on Grand Parade.|
There are nearly more barbers in the city these days than there are Christmas lights so a feen sauntering into town for his traditional Christmas week bazzer could be forgiven for thinking the queues in their favourite chop shop won’t be up to much.
The only thing is that it has become normal for Corkonians to not only get the short, back and sides but to also have the facial hair delicately trimmed with the precision of a Sistine Chapel painter, and any follicles growing around the ears burned off in a semi-terrifying, drawn out ritual. And of course taking time out to sip the complimentary whisky if your in some hipster gaf. The result is longer cut times and bigger queues so get in early.
Cork on Ice
With all the doom about the state of the planet it probably won’t be long until the Lee feezes over every winter and we’re all skating under Patrick’s Bridge at Christmas but until the apocalypse kicks in fully we have a marquee in Mahon instead. There are some skills that come natural to Corkonians – pucking a sliotar with a hurley is one – but, from evidence gathered at Cork on Ice, skating is not one of them and it’s all part of the craic. A bit like watching Kerrymen with hurleys.
|Cork: not an ice skating stronghold.|
What do you mean you didn’t read the story about the first black soldier in the British army who ended his days in Fermoy or Jack Lyon’s idea about restoring ‘The Fireman’s Rest’ and placing it back on Patrick Street? You’d better get reading!
Don’t have your old Cork relatives looking at you like you’re some kind of traitor at a family gathering, by not being up to speed on these pure Cork stories or you’ll be shunned like a Mick McCarthy fan in Mayfield.
It seemed like a once-off novelty when it began but is quickly becoming a tradition as young city kids who have grown up with it now associate it with being part of Christmas as much as visiting Santy. After doubts about its future when city council’s budget for the Glow Festival was unexpectedly cut, if you’re passing Bishop Lucey Park on Grand Parade there’s no doubting that the city’s wonderland is back up and running and quickly becoming an essential pure Cork Christmas experience. Get in.
The Twelve Pubs of Christmas
Murryeah frowned upon by the drinks industry, this tradition, particularly popular on the Bandon Road and Barrack Street stretch, is not going away. So, with a bit of sensible tap-water tactics and plenty nibbles through-out the night, visiting twelve different pubs in one night is a great tradition worth embracing (and nobody says you have to have a gat in each one).
When it comes to watering holes, we often limit ourselves to a handful of old favourites, but this tradition is a good way to open the mind in more ways than one.
‘Support SHARE Please’
Can you imagine Christmas on the streets of Cork city without the sometimes over-enthusiastic, sometimes frost-bitten, petrified teenage students that raise money for one of Cork’s great charities and the cry of support SHARE please? Try making it from one end of Pana to the other without a SHARE sticker. You’d have better luck finding a decent hurler in Killarney – we love it.
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