Rachel Gaffney - From Cork to Connemara with the Wall Street Journal

 WSJ + (Wall Street Journal Plus) is a complimentary benefits programme for subscribers of the Wall Street Journal publication. It offers exclusive access to experiences, special offers and events. “WSJ+ and Indagare (a boutique members only travel-planning company) have partnered to present a new series of unique Global Classroom events that give members a deeper look at art, cuisine and architecture.”

Over the last few months, members have been transported to Barcelona, Machu Picchu and Krakow. On September 29th I had the pleasure of introducing people to Cork and its maritime history. The journey began at The Crawford Art Gallery. It was only fitting to start here as this building was originally built in 1724 as Cork’s custom house. The boats pulled up and moored outside on the River Lee and were processed here. Cork was known as the Venice Of The North.

As I walked inside the gallery, the cameraman followed and Mary McCarthy, Director of The Crawford, greeted us. Together we walked inside the Sculpture Gallery and the contrast of the vivid bright blue walls with the crisp white of the Canova Casts came to life on the screen. We wandered past the Rembrandt print exhibit, up the staircase stopping to look at the stained glass window, the paintings of Hugh Lawton and Fiona Shaw and back down to admire the Cork Crystal. All the while I talked with Mary about Cork’s past, its centre as a major trading port and the fortunes made in the city by wealthy merchant princes in the 1700s.

I left the gallery taking the viewers on a walk through the Huguenot Quarter. The narrow pedestrian streets were buzzing with outdoor diners. Brightly coloured murals adorned the walls alongside the Huguenot cemetery, one of the last two surviving cemeteries in western Europe. The English Market was a must see. We visited Ballycotton Seafood and of course no visit would be complete without a chat with Pat O’Connell from K O’Connell’s Fish merchants.

To complete this tour of Cork, we made our way up the staircase to The Farmgate Café, where a table was laden with Cork produce. This hour long class was produced and co-ordinated from New York and questions were moderated by Indagare Travel.

Next month, I travel to Connemara. I will knock on the doors of Kylemore Abbey and we will be welcomed inside by Sr Magdalena as together we will share the history and stories of the last century at Kylemore.




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