More than that, many of the streets you are now exploring were once waterways lined by merchants’ homes and warehouses.
To imagine the comings and goings when Cork was the final provisioning port for European explorers to the Americas, and for the British Navy in the Atlantic; when the city thrived on food exports, sending butter and beef around the world.
Cork Harbour just downriver, the second largest natural harbour in the world, has always been a magnet for traders, and by the 17th and 18th centuries the city was rapidly expanding beyond its medieval core: maritime scenes you rediscover in the Crawford Art Gallery in the former customs house.
The Merchant Princes – who were at the forefront of local life … the Penroses, Lapps and Lavitts recalled in names of street and quay.
Incredible stories. And in Cork Butter Museum in the historic Shandon area you follow the incredible story of a cottage industry that went global, making Cork’s imposing Butter Exchange the one-time largest butter market in the world.
Then in the culinary hubbub of the covered English Market, serving Cork since 1788, you find cosmopolitan influences flavouring life to this day: local specialities like tripe and drisheen (an Irish blood sausage) sold alongside olives, spices and fruit.