Cork City bars win big at the Bar of the Year Awards 2019

The Victorian Quarter showed their dominance in the land of all things liquor last night with Cask and The Shelbourne Bar coming up trumps at the 2019 Bar of the Year Awards.


Other Cork establishments that brought home the bacon for the Rebel county were Impala who won best craft beer bar and the Montenotte Hotel which won best Hotel bar.


Cork bar and restaurant Cask took home a number of titles including the overall award of Bar of the Year for the second year in a row, Cocktail bar of the year, bar manager of the year and also came second in the Innovative bar of the year category.


Cask Bar manager of the year Andy Ferreira said he was very happy that his bar managed to nab the title of best bar of the year for a second year.


Andy Ferreira, Manager of Cask Picture. John Allen

“For us, it is all about consistency, our cocktails have to be as good on a Tuesday afternoon as on a busy Saturday night and to win the award for a second-year shows consistency.”
Mr Ferreira said six of the senior staff members went to Dublin for the award ceremony last night and they had a brilliant night celebrating their achievements.

“It was a great night, we really let the hair down and we are also very proud to represent Cork and to put Cork on the map as a must-visit destination for a great night out.”


The Shelbourne Bar was named 2019 Whiskey bar of the year.

Philip Gillivan, The Shelbourne Bar.Picture: Denis Minihane.

Philip Gillivan, The Shelbourne Bar. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Speaking to The Echo, Owner of The Shelbourne Bar and CBA President Philip Gillivan said he was delighted with the win.

“The Shelbourne Bar is delighted to win the best whiskey bar in Ireland for the second year running last night in Dublin.


“The team in the Shelbourne are passionate about Irish whiskey and this award is for the entire team who make it all happen in the Shelbourne.”


The winners of all categories were revealed at a gala awards ceremony Mondaynight at the Clayton Hotel, Dublin, hosted by Newstalk’s Tom Dunne.


Source: Roisin Burke, EchoLive 

RIP Val O’Connor – One of Cork’s most well-known funeral directors and exceptional businessman

Val O’Connor (front), proprietor of O’Connor’s funeral home, pictured here in 2018 with then-Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald and Finbarr O’Connor. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

The Cork Business Association was extremely saddened to learn of the death of well-known funeral director Val O’ Connor, one of Cork’s most accomplished business leaders and one of the principal innovators of the funeral business in Ireland. His passion and commitment ensured that this incredible family business continues to serve the people of Cork in its 132nd year of trading.
As recently as 2017, O’ Connor Bros won the Cork Business Association Best Family Business Award highlighting the incredible commitment of Val his compassion as a person and his vision as a businessman.

Mr O’Connor, who turned 90 in February, passed away on Wednesday night in Marymount Hospice following a short illness. He was surrounded by his loving family.

Mr O’Connor was a founding member of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors and chair of the fundraising committee for the North Cathedral refurbishment.

He was also a committee member of Opera 2005.

O’Connor Bros was established in 1887 in Blarney Street by Thomas F O’Connor.

The company moved to 70 Shandon Street after the company was passed to John Francis and Thomas Finbarr O’Connor, sons of the founder, and subsequently moved to North Gate Bridge, where it is still located, under the ownership of Val O’Connor, grandson of the founder.

O’Connor Bros opened the first funeral home in Ireland in 1967. Prior to this, removals were carried out from hospital morgues or from family homes. O’Connor Bros celebrated its 130th year in business in 2017.

Mr O’Connor was invited to Cork City Hall in January, 2018 where he was honoured with a reception from the then Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald (FF). Speaking to The Echo, Cllr Fitzgerald said he was very sad to hear of the death of Mr O’Connor.

“Val will be remembered for his kind and personal support to those who were bereaved. He had a warm friendly engagement with everyone he met,” said Cllr Fitzgerald. “He was particularly pleased and genuinely honored to be recognised for his families 130th year in business.

“He loved the Lord Mayor’s Office and was humbled to receive the recognition where he praised his family and staff. He was instrumental in restoring the iconic North Cathedral.”

Mr O’Connor is survived by his wife Annette, children Laura, Finbarr, Sally-Ann, and Lisa, and his grandchildren Ian, Alison, Shane and Jenna.

Ireland’s tallest building will be a “defining new signature building” for Cork

At 140 metres, the Custom House Tower would be Ireland’s tallest building by a significant margin if it is approved and built.

The developers planning Ireland’s tallest building said their skyscraper will not obstruct or have a detrimental effect on Cork’s iconic skyline of church spires.

Tower Holdings are proposing a 34-storey skyscraper hotel at Custom House Quay that would reach approximately 140m in height.

If approved and constructed, it would become Ireland’s tallest building by a significant margin, outstripping the current tallest building, the 79m-high Capital Dock in Dublin.

While the tower will form the focus of the site, the bonded warehouses will also be redeveloped for a variety of uses.

While the tower will form the focus of the site, the bonded warehouses will also be redeveloped for a variety of uses.

In documents filed with City Hall, the developers say it is fully intended that the Custom House Tower will become a “defining new signature building” for Cork.

The New York-based company said: “The tower will not obstruct or have a detrimental effect on existing tall features such as church spires, or the Elysian tower and features in designated protected views and prospects and scenic routes considering its location.”

Below the hotel, the Bonded Warehouses will be occupied by a range of uses to complement the hotel including retail, restaurants, cafes, and gallery and cultural spaces, with a public promenade wrapping around the entire site. A landmark distillery building will be located where both channels of the River Lee meet.

The tower will include a spa, pool and treatment rooms at levels 5 and 6; plant at levels 7, 26 and 32; hotel rooms and suites at levels 8 to 25; hotel serviced suites at levels 27 to 31; and a restaurant and sky bar at levels 33 to 34.

The guest bedrooms will face east and west, to enjoy views of the City and Docklands and there will be an outdoor terrace at the top of the tower for visitors to enjoy views of the city.

“On approach from the east, the new tall building will be seen against a backdrop of sky and the full impact of its silhouette on the skyline will be fully realised and understood within its wider context,” the company said in their planning application.

 Architect Marco Gamini explains the designs to members of the public including (right) John Adams, who has organised a petition against large-scale commercial development of the site. Pic; Larry Cummins.

Architect Marco Gamini explains the designs to members of the public including (right) John Adams, who has organised a petition against large-scale commercial development of the site. Pic; Larry Cummins.

“The Custom House Tower will assume a central position on the city’s skyline. It will also form part of the emerging cluster of taller and higher buildings in the City Harbour Interchange Area which include the Elysian, the permitted Prism tower and the proposed Albert Quay Tower [if permitted].”

Recent planning applications for tall buildings in Cork have led to a debate between planners, developers, architects, heritage groups, and the general public about how Cork’s skyline should develop in the future.

Competing petitions are currently in place both in favour and opposed to a tall building on the Custom House Quay site.

Tower Holdings was recently granted planning permission for the 15-storey Prism office develop on the triangular site next to the city bus station.

That development was objected to by heritage body An Taisce who said it would ruin views of historical buildings and that a building of this height would set a precedent for others on the city centre island.

The developers said the Custom House Tower will become a “defining new signature building” for Cork.

The developers said the Custom House Tower will become a “defining new signature building” for Cork.

However, their view was countered by the former Head of Planning on Cork City Council, Pat Ledwidge who said: “The urban form of any city must evolve, as must the nature and use of buildings.”

“If this evolution does not occur, the sustainable development of the city will not occur.”

An initial decision date for the Custom House Quay site is September 24 but further information could be sought from the developers pushing a decision date back further.

Source: Alan Healy, EchoLive 

Key figures in business and hospitality sectors seek reassurances about Cork event centre


Key figures in Cork’s business and hospitality sectors have asked to meet developers, BAM, to seek reassurances about the stalled event centre project.


The Cork Business Association (CBA), as well as representatives of the city’s vintners, hoteliers and restaurateurs also plan to maintain pressure on the developers, the local authority, political leaders and the government in a bid to ensure the remaining hurdles blighting the project are overcome.


“There is a lot of anxious talk about the economy at the moment and lots of businesses in Cork are depending on this project,

We need to understand what exactly is going on here and what needs to be done to ensure this is built.”

CBA president, Philip Gillivan said.


This move follows the latest and unexpected delay to the beleaguered project which has seen costs soar from €50m to nearly €80m.


On Monday, it emerged that a planning decision on the enlarged venue, which was due this week, has been deferred because a new environmental report is required.


Planners have told BAM they must submit a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) to address the potential direct and indirect impacts of the event centre development on two EU protected habitats several miles downstream.


BAM has been given six months to respond but it is understood that they plan to deal with it quickly. Once it’s submitted, planners must issue a decision within two months.


It is understood this is the only outstanding planning issue, fuelling hopes that a positive planning decision may issue.


The CBA met city council chief executive, Ann Doherty, on Wednesday, for a briefing on the latest complication.


CBA president, Philip Gillivan, said they are now planning a sustained campaign, in association with the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) Cork, the Vintners Federation Cork (VFI) and the Restaurant Association of Ireland Cork (RAI) to ensure the venue is delivered.


In February, the Cork branch of the IHF called for “absolute confirmation” on event centre delivery. Ten days later, the IHF, VFI and RAI issued a joint statement calling for “certainty, accountability and meaningful communication” on the project.


The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) also warned this week that delays in infrastructure projects in the south, including the event centre, will have repercussions for the wider economy.


It said bureaucracy and the Government’s procurement system has hindered the pace of growth in the region: “The Government has told us that Cork and cities in the south and west need to grow at twice the rate of Dublin over the next 20 years. To achieve this, we would need to see a significant increase in investment in infrastructure today to have any chance of achieving a balanced Ireland.”


It also mentioned the Dunkettle interchange, the M20 and M28 roads projects.


Source: Eoin English, Irish Examiner

60,000 expected to travel through Cork Airport this August Bank Holiday weekend

Over 60,000 passengers are expected to travel through Cork Airport, Ireland’s fastest growing and most punctual airport, this August Bank Holiday weekend. Passenger numbers are up 7% over the same period last year, with this Sunday (August 4) to be the busiest day for both departures and arrivals.

Managing Director at Cork Airport, Niall MacCarthy said:

“We are delighted to see such strong numbers travel through Cork Airport this August Bank Holiday weekend, continuing the Airport’s growth trajectory as Ireland’s fastest growing airport.

“There are eight new routes added to our summer schedule at Cork Airport this year — Dubrovnik, Nice, Lisbon, Naples, Poznań, Budapest, Malta and London Luton — and over 50 routes are currently on offer from Cork Airport to the UK and Continental Europe. These routes, along with daily long-haul connectivity through major European hub airports, ensures Munster holidaymakers have some fantastic destination options this coming weekend, and for the remainder of the 2019 summer holiday season, which runs right up to the October Bank Holiday Weekend.”

As part of Cork Airport’s Bank Holiday Weekend festivities, free flights will be up for grabs as part of Douglas Court Shopping Centre’s ‘Spin and Win’ promotion this Friday (August 2). This is the final of five free flights giveaway competitions by Cork Airport, which took place across Munster promoting the Airport’s increased connectivity and passenger traffic. Cork Airport is in its fourth consecutive year of growth, with passenger numbers to grow to 2.6 million this year, up 10% year-to-date compared to 2018.

Passengers travelling this weekend are advised to arrive at least 90 minutes prior to their flight and go directly to the security screening area once they have checked in.

There are changes to Cork Airport’s internal road layout, which includes a new set-down lane. Drivers can set-down for up to 15 minutes free on the forecourt before tariffs apply. For best long term parking prices, pre-booking is advised in advance at

To download a copy of Cork Airport’s 2019 Summer Schedule brochure, visit

Focus Ireland announce Spike Island as host of Shine a Light Night 2019

Bord Gáis Energy confirms sponsorship of Focus Ireland’s Shine A Light Night 2019

The rate of homelessness in Cork is increasing at an alarming rate with 407 adults currently without a home. In response, Bord Gáis Energy has confirmed the extension of its longstanding partnership with homelessness charity, Focus Ireland, to sponsor its annual fundraising initiative – Shine A Light Night.


On Friday 18 October the eighth annual Shine A Light Night will see business leaders sleep-out at Cork’s historic Spike Island in addition to locations Dublin, Wexford, Waterford and Limerick. Employees of businesses around Ireland can also sign up to support the initiative by pledging to fundraise and sleep-out at their workplace.
Shine A Light Night challenges business leaders across Ireland to sleep-out for one night and in doing so, raise vital funds to help alleviate homelessness.
Speaking at event, Ger Spillane, Focus Ireland Services Manager Mid and South West said,

Focus Ireland works tirelessly with people experiencing homelessness to help them secure their home or to ensure they leave homelessness for good. We also work extensively across the area of prevention to make sure many other families and individuals never become homeless in the first place. We rely on the support of organisations like Bord Gáis Energy to make a success of fundraising events like Shine A Light Night and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their generous support.”

There are 1,733 families homeless in Ireland today and this number is growing. In Cork, Focus Ireland provides prevention and housing advice, support services for families, support services for young people, short and long-term housing, and research-based services.
Commenting at the launch of Shine A Light Night on Spike Island Nico Rourke, Regional Manager, Bord Gáis Energy said,

The current homeless crisis in towns and communities across Ireland is worse than ever. It is heart-breaking that 3,821 children in Ireland today have no home. Bord Gáis Energy are committed to supporting Focus Ireland in the crucial work it does to address the causes of homelessness and increase support for those who are at risk of losing their home.

“Shine A Light Night is an incredible initiative that has gathered more and more support year on year. However, with the alarming rise in homelessness, we need this year’s event to be bigger than ever in raising vital funds to support this devastating social issue. We are extremely proud to sponsor this year’s campaign. We urge every business in Cork to join us, sign up and give one night to make this the most successful Shine A Light Night yet. It may simply be one night of your life, but it can save suffering for those who are homeless.”

To date, Shine A Light Night has raised over €4m for people experiencing homelessness in Ireland. In 2018, this support enabled Focus Ireland to help over 15,500 people. With the support of the business community, every day Focus Ireland moves a family out of homelessness into a secure home of their own.


Concluding, John Crotty, Spike Island Manager stated,

“Spike Island is pleased to host Shine a Light Night 2019. It’s an historic venue that puts the modern crisis of homelessness into clear focus and I encourage the business community to join us on the 18th October here on Spike.”


For further information  please contact Dick White, Cork Area Fundraising and Marketing Executive  on 086 8223690 or  and to sign up to participate in Shine A Light Night 2019 visit

The Peoples’ Parklet on Douglas St is officially open! 

The Peoples Parklet on Douglas St was officially opened on Wednesday, July 24th. The Parklet is the ultimate city centre ‘chillzone’.


The project was brought to life following a funding application by the Cork Transport and Mobility Forum (CTMF)  to Cork City Council’s City Centre Placemaking Fund.


CBA President Philip Gillivan accompanied by Justine from Cork Flower Studio enjoying a well earned break in the Peoples Parklet on Douglas St.


According to CTMF, the People’s Parklet is an “amenity combining elements of seating, green planting, art and bike parking, it offers an alternative experience of the city and the street. It is an open and public space that invites residents and passers-by to interact, and to foster a sense of place, community and environment”.


Lord Mayor, Cllr John Sheehan said:

“There has been a great reaction across the city to the parklet and there was remarkable partnership between groups to deliver this particular project. The City Centre Placemaking Fund is aimed at supporting projects which will enhance, improve, and enliven people’s experience of Cork city centre, increase footfall and support the local economy”.


The parklet is moveable and will be in Douglas street until the end of September. The Transport and Mobility Forum and Cork City Council will consider requests from any local groups in the city centre who wish to locate the parklet on their street and who will support it on a day to day basis.


Benchspace Cork, The Transport and Mobility Forum, Mad about Cork, The Douglas Street Business Association, Cork Environmental Forum and a build team lead by Rory Drinan collaborated to bring Siobhan Keogh’s design to life.


The City Centre Placemaking Fund was launched in January and sought creative concepts from business network groups and community groups operating in Cork city centre. The fund also strives to encourage collaboration in specific streets and neighbourhoods.


Other City Centre Placemaking-funded projects include the space exploration-themed mural at the Cornmarket Centre by Irish street artist, Shane Sutton (of the Walls Project). Led by Blackrock Castle Observatory, this was installed as part of last weekend’s Apollo 11 anniversary celebration.  The fund also brought about Curtis Hyltons stunning mural of a kingfisher with plastic in his beak at the entrance to Paul Street carpark.


La Cocina Publica, the pop-up Chilean dining event, held during the Cork Midsummer Festival was also made possible by the Placemaking Fund. As diners enjoyed supper alfresco, Chilean and Cork artists, storytellers, singers and musicians provided entertainment. The Cork City Centre Placemaking Fund also helped Cork Community Artlink bring the ‘Mr Everybody’ to the Grand Parade and to landscape and provide seating in the front garden of St Peters on North Main Street.

Crawford Art Gallery and Arup shortlisted for 2 National Awards

Crawford Art Gallery and Arup have been shortlisted for the prestigious Business to Art Awards in the Best Mid-Size Sponsorship category for ‘Earth, Wind & Fire: Made in Cork Contemporary’ a hugely successful exhibition held in the Gallery in 2018.

Crawford and Arup succeeded in their nominations in the 28th Allianz Business to Arts Awards which saw high levels of nominations from a diverse range of partnerships and events, spread across Ireland.


Arup, one of Ireland’s largest engineering consulting firms and strong advocates in the arts and cultural sector, teamed up with Crawford Art Gallery to support the exhibition and associated programmes which combined artistic excellence and technical skills.  As part of their support they financially contributed to a learning programme which saw Arup Director Peter Flynn interview Joseph Walsh. The conversation was unique and highly illuminating reflecting their close collaboration. “It was inspiring to team up with the Crawford Art Gallery for the Earth, Wind & Fire exhibition. Arup believes that arts and culture make a vital contribution to the community. Visitors to the gallery were treated to an outstanding display of creativity, encouraging people to think about art and design in a new way. We are delighted that the partnership between Arup and the Crawford has been shortlisted in the Business to Arts Awards,” said Eoghan Lynch, Chairperson of Arup in Ireland.

The exhibition curated by Anne Boddaert of Crawford Art Gallery included the breath taking intricacy of Nuala O Donovan’s ceramic work and the graphic poetry of Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely textile pieces to the wildly imaginative and expansive sculptural works of Joseph Walsh, Alex Pentek and Eoin Turner.

It attracted over 80,000 visitors and was greatly appreciated by diverse audiences.

In relation to the partnership with Arup, Mary McCarthy Gallery Director, had this to say,

“We are delighted to have this partnership nationally recognised Partnerships and Collaboration are key elements to Crawford Art Gallerys strategy .

Arup was a perfect collaborator as they were appreciative of the ways in which all the participating artists continually push material boundaries.

The company and it’s people got behind the project and the artists and invested time in the preparations, design and workshops. New friendships were formed. such collaborations are invaluable and inspire us to continue to work with our many partners to enable more direct contact between artists and various businesses”.

Arup have also been nominated for a Judges ‘Special Recognition Award for Portfolio of Arts Sponsorship for ‘New Now Next’ with Irish Architecture Foundation and ‘Earth, Wind and Fire: Made in Cork Contemporary’ with Crawford Art Gallery Cork.

Exciting New Mural Unveiled In Cork City Centre

CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory are proud to introduce the latest addition to Cork City Council’s Placemaking Fund. “Loves me, Loves me not” was installed this week at Cornmarket Centre by Shane Sutton, acclaimed Irish Street Artist, and the European Space Agency’s Artist in Residence for the 2019 Living Planet Symposium.


The piece features an astronaut plucking daisy petals against a backdrop of the vast expanse of space. As humanity started to venture out beyond our Earthly constraints in mid-20th century, we started seeing a whole new perspective of our beautiful blue planet. The inspirational power of these images for artists has been profound.


Commissioned by CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, it is funded through Cork City Council’s new City Centre Placemaking Fund.  In February 2019, Cork City Council issued an open call for submissions which would “enhance, improve, and enliven people’s experience of Cork city centre” through this fund and ten projects were successful.  It follows on from the stunning kingfisher mural which was unveiled at the entrance to Paul Street car park in May.


The project is a collaboration with The Walls Project, who have an impressive track record of rejuvenating underappreciated urban spaces with incredible artworks. They showcase the very best of Irish and International artistic talent.


As well as serving as a source of beauty and inspiration for the people of Cork, the team at The Observatory will use the new mural as an anchor for City Centre outreach activities, including as a stop on a new walking trail, “The Moon Walk” that chronicles the events of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, using Cork City landmarks as milestones. The walk was launched earlier today as NASA Astronaut Dan Tani paid a visit to The Observatory.


For more information see :

Cork’s longest running business association and the Irish Management Institute partner to “equip leaders to build the future” in Cork.

The Cork Business Association (CBA) are partnering with the Irish Management Institute (IMI) to continue their mission to support businesses of all sizes in Cork. Through sharing the latest information on upcoming executive development programmes running in Cork, the CBA will provide its members access to world-class professional development.


Founded by business leaders for business leaders, the Irish Management Institute (IMI) has been empowering world-class executives for over sixty years. This year, IMI was officially ranked as one of the top 50 executive education institutes in the world by the Financial Times.


IMI and University College Cork merged in 2016, allowing them access to UCC’s expert research faculty and an international network of thought leaders. IMI’s globally-ranked executive development will challenge, support and inspire Cork business people to unlock their potential and fulfil their ambition.


The IMI can provide access to high-impact short programmes in Cork for developing owners, managers & senior leaders, as well as access to their own in-depth professional diploma programmes that can be completed as part of a flexible development journey to achieving a master’s qualification.


Partnering with the CBA, the IMI and CBA will work together to share information on these programmes with the CBA members, and hopefully further afield.


One of IMI’s signature strengths is in designing programmes that meet the needs of a sector or individual business – they are the only Irish provider globally ranked for their custom programmes – and this is something both the IMI and CBA look forward to exploring together.


Speaking of this new partnership, Ciara Kissane, IMI’s Business Development Manager for the Munster region, said,

“IMI are delighted with the partnership with Cork Business Association.  We are committed to supporting individuals, organisations and industry as a whole and we see this partnership with the CBA as instrumental in engaging with and supporting local businesses in Cork.”


IMI works with a range of businesses, from multinationals to SMEs, and all their programmes work within the context of the individual participant; the programmes are designed to have real impacts on that person’s organisation. The values of both the CBA and IMI are very similarly aligned – both organisations deal with members on an individual level and work alongside their members on their journey of development and growth.


In 2019 the CBA has actively worked on creating events and workshops for its members that are both relevant and accessible, as well as providing networking opportunities for a broad range of industry sectors.


The IMI offers a membership community for businesses to connect under the banner of learning and development. Their membership events attract global expert speakers and are fantastic as networking and learning opportunities for organisations that don’t typically have regular access to these types of events.


The CBA are extremely keen to work closely with the IMI to provide its members in the Cork region with the highest level of speakers and panellists that will both educate and inspire attendees to propel their business forward through their own personal development.


The conversation has already been started and the IMI plans to partner with the CBA in bringing best practice & latest trends in leadership development to their members via a bespoke event later this year.


“This partnership between the CBA and the IMI allows for the creation and nurturing of an active community for business professionals in Cork. The IMI’s mission and passion, “to equip leaders to build the future”, is a statement we in the CBA wholeheartedly admire and firmly believe the IMI delivers on. It’s the CBA’s goal to now take full advantage of this progressive partnership with the IMI and work together towards ensuring Cork has the highest level of business professionals in the country.”

quoted Lawrence Owens, Chief Executive of the Cork Business Association.