O’Neill Coffee, Skibbereen, West Cork
Colm Crowley’s coffee house, on Townshend Street, is the cutest coffee house in West Cork, and has built a dedicated audience during its first year. Everyone loves the coffee, the cakes and bakes, the rooms, and the service, which displays that West Cork nonchalance crossed with an audacious desire for excellence that makes it worth everyone’s detour. Fab.
Ferrit & Lee, Midleton, Co Cork
Stephen Lee and Pat Ferriter are doing the good thing in their calm, pretty room, just off the main strip of Midleton, on the way to the Jameson Distillery complex. Both Mr Lee and Mr Ferriter worked in this restaurant for many years before becoming owners, and their sense of locality shines through in classy, feisty dishes: Jameson featherblade of beef; burger with Ballinrostig smoked cheddar; Ballycotton mackerel salad with cured egg yolk. Lovely stuff.
St Fin Barre's Cathedral
Sitting in a pew in Saint Fin Barre’s cathedral in Cork is like sitting in an enormous bath of coloured light: light bathing. The designer, William Burges, designed the stained glass which is the defining feature of the cathedral and, whilst his figures lack the emotional intensity that we associate with Harry Clarke’s work, his coloured glass work is sublime: a symphony to the heavens wrought by medieval techniques. The other amazing feature is that the cathedral is so sparsely populated, so there is plenty of space and time to explore every detail of this engrossing Cork icon.