Winners of the 2018 Cork Better Buildings Awards announced

Honouring the best buildings and businesses in Cork


Cork Business Association, in association with Cork City Council and the Evening Echo, have announced the winners of the 2018 Cork Better Building Awards.


The awards honour the best designed and best maintained buildings in Cork City and suburbs, and are aimed at rewarding businesses and building caretakers for their efforts to protect, enhance and improve the city’s streetscape, which in turn, significantly contributes to a positive public perception of the city as a vibrant and dynamic place to live, visit, invest and do business in.


This year in particular, Cork Business Association sought to recognize the huge amount of expansion and planning in Cork, through the awards which were open to any building in the greater Cork area.


The winners of the 2018 Cork Better Building Awards were announced by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Fergal Dennehy, at a special awards luncheon in the Metropole Hotel on Friday October 19th. Red FM presenter, Neil Prendeville, was MC on the day.


The winners of the awards were:

  •  Best in Café/Restaurant -  L’atitude 51

Located on a prominent, curved corner site, where Union Quay meets Anglesea Street, L’atitude 51 makes the most of its unique frontage with brightly painted upper floors, timber sliding sash windows and attractive shopfront with limestone plinths. Its prominent position onto the river and visibility when traversing Parnell Bridge from the city centre island, makes it a welcoming stop-off point for coffee, lunch or evening wine and tapas.

  • Best in Pub Front – Coughlan’s

With a public house first established on Douglas Street in 1831, and the current 1920’s purpose-built public house and house being an interesting reminder of the ‘living over the shop’ during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Coughlan’s represents the best in combining heritage with the needs of a modern pub and music venue. Its colourful flower display enhances the red brick and grey limestone facade adding textural interest to the streetscape. The survival of many original features and materials, such as the fixed timber window and timber sliding sash windows contribute to the significance of the building and the character of Douglas Street.

  • Best in Commercial Business Frontage – Casey & Kingston

This freshly painted shopfront with its light green, white and grey colour scheme and use of gold lettering to the fascia, makes an attractive new addition to Grand Parade. With its subtle use of display and retention of the black, iron, window railing, this shopfront enhances the overall presentation of Grand Parade.


  • Best New Development – Special Merit - Vila & Selected

Originally comprising three separate buildings (Nos. 83, 84 and 85 St. Patrick’s Street) and amalgamated internally to form a new single retail unit, Vila & Selected is a great example of how the historic building stock can be carefully converted to create a new, contemporary retail unit within Cork’s premier shopping destination: St. Patrick’s Street. Retaining the most important features of Numbers 84 and 85 including red brick, decorative terracotta panels, decorative render details, moulded window surrounds and timber sash windows, while modernising the shopfront, the judges felt this new development was deserving of a special merit award.


  • Best New Development – Overall Winner - Pilz

This new office and technology building designed by Cook Architects and serving Pilz Ireland Industrial Automation in the Cork Business and Technology Park on Model Farm Road, provides a welcome architectural intervention to a suburban office park, areas which are often characterised by standard models of design and construction. The use of an aluminium glazed, curtain walling system, grey, fibre cement panels and yellow, brise-soleil blades which enlivens this exterior, the new Pilz building provides a welcome new addition to the business park.


  • Best in Tourism, Arts & Accommodation – Vienna Woods Hotel

With its dramatic woodlands setting on the peaks of Glanmire, overlooking the Glashaboy River and having recently undergone a spectacular makeover, taking almost 15 years to complete, the Vienna Woods provides a unique experience for visitors in a family-owned and run hotel. Involving restoration of many of its original features, the set piece is the original two-storey former country house, with its circular projections, elegant limestone door surround and overhanging eaves, cast-iron veranda supports, timber sash windows and cut limestone details, retaining its historic character, while providing excellence in comfort and service to guests.


  • Best in Heritage & Conservation – Court House / Old Model School

The refurbishment and extension of Cork Courthouse on Anglesea Street by the OPW, involved extensive restoration work to the former Model School itself, which has been carried out to a very high standard. The judges wanted in particular to recognise the brickwork repair and pointing which has been very influential in encouraging and showing other building owners in the city what can be done. The standard of workmanship in the restoration is a testament to the skill and commitment of the design and construction teams.


  • Best in Retail – Special Merit  - Crowley’s Opticians

The judges felt that the paintwork and design of the monochrome shopfront serving Crowley’s Opticians on Grand Parade deserved a special merit award as an attractive addition to the street. The colour scheme, timber work, window display, clever use of lighting (particularly at night-time) enlivens the space, enticing customers to experience the delights within.


  • Best in Retail – Overall Winner  - Egan’s Opticians

The new shopfront to Egan’s Opticians on Lavitt’s Quay with its glazed, latted stone and timber-clad materials, brings new life to this quay front. Forming part of a terrace of commercial buildings along the river, the proportions reflect that of a traditional shopfront, while using modern design and materials to update the existing building dating from 1990.


  • Judges Choice – Nano Nagle Place

The restoration and redevelopment of the South Pres convent, grounds and schools has literally transformed the South Parish district of the city. With its reimagining as Nano Nagle Place, the complex houses a new School of Architecture, heritage experience, gardens, ‘Good Day Deli’ café and shop. The teachings and ethos of Nano Nagle are continued through the many educational charities, community groups, charities and local businesses housed in the heritage buildings. The story of life in 18th century Cork and the legacy of Nano through the spread of the Presentation Order worldwide is told, while the visitor goes on a spiritual journey and observes living history- experiencing her resting place and the complex of buildings dating from the 1770’s to the present day. All of these buildings have been conserved and reimagined to best conservation practice with some wonderful examples of Irish contemporary design.


Speaking at the awards, Lawrence Owens, CEO of Cork Business Association, said: “The Cork Better Building Awards, which we are thrillled to once again partner with Cork City Council on,are a  fantastic opportunity to encourage businesses to improve their facades and the overall look of the city. This year’s judging team put a lot of focus on recognizing maintenance and simple good housekeeping of buildings; tasks like painting and cleaning, planting and enhancements that make the very best of the building. I would like to congratulate all the winning businesses today on their well-deserved success and to thank them all for the valuable contribution they make to maintaining Cork’s image as a dynamic and vibrant place to live, work and do business.  The facade and exterior areas of a building are one of its biggest selling tools, and one of our main aims in running these annual awards is to encourage everyone to have pride in their buildings and foster a pride of place in Cork.”



Also commenting, Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council, said: “Cork City Council recognises how important it is to acknowledge and reward property owners who keep our buildings to a high standard and, in doing so, highlight Cork as a fantastic place to shop, work and live. Congratulations to all this year’s Better Buildings Award winners and thank you to all the award entrants for your efforts in maintaining your buildings to such a high standard.”


The awards are run by Cork Business Association and sponsored by Cork City Council and The Evening Echo.  The judging panel includes Ann Bogan Senior Planner Cork City Council, Paul McGuirk, Cork City Co-ordinator Cork City Council, Brigh Ryan Asst. Planner Cork City Council, Alan Healy Deputy News Editor Evening Echo, Eoin Kennedy Zone Digital, Pat O Connell CBA


Entries will reopen next summer for 2019 awards.


Cork of the ‘cozy pubs’ named one of world’s friendliest cities

Condé Nast Traveller praises Cork’s pubs, beer gardens, restaurants and riverside ambience

Cork has been voted the third friendliest city in the world by Condé Nast Traveller in their August 2018 poll. The City by the Lee fended off competition from rival Irish cities Dublin and Galway to land the third spot, with the travel magazine’s editors citing the city’s “picturesque, riverfront location” and “cozy pubs and beer gardens where you can enjoy the outdoors while sharing a table with friendly locals” as some of the elements contributing to its charm.

Galway is number five on the list, and Dublin is in eighth place.

Visitors to Cork are advised to call to the English Market for fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry, as well as for a spot of people-watching from the balcony of the Farmgate Cafe.

The historic Shandon Quarter also gains their praise for the Cork Butter Museum and the iconic Shandon Bells, where visitors can ring out their own tunes over the city, with the editors expressing their sympathy with the Shandon residents on account of this.

They recommend visiting Cork establishments such as Market Lane, IdahoCafe, Paradiso, Les Gourmandises and Mutton Lane to soak up local flavour as well as colour.

Lord Mayor of Cork CllrMick Finn added, “It’s fantastic to see that global media is picking up on the friendliness of Corkonians and their innate curiosity about visitors, which makes Cork city a place of welcome.”

Head of tourism in Cork City CouncilJo Gazely said: “We’re delighted to see Cork City being voted in the top 10 Friendliest Cities in the World – Cork City is an exciting destination that is busy, vibrant and cosmopolitan.”

Cork ranks among cities such as Puebla in MexicoChiang Mai in ThailandQueenstown in New Zealand, Adelaide in Australia and Victoria in British ColumbiaCanada for its friendly, welcoming spirit.

It was beaten only by Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, which placed second, and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, which retained the top spot for the second year running.

Source: The Irish Times 

Fantastic line up for Choral Festival

1 week to go!

New dates for this year’s Festival: 18-22 April

One of Cork’s biggest events, The Cork International Choral Festival, will take place two weeks earlier this year from 18-22 April, due to the Ed Shearan concert in Pairc Ui Chaoimh clashing with the Festival.  Tickets for the exciting programme are on sale online and at their new box office at the Festival HQ in Civic Trust House, Cork City.

The event will welcome almost 3,500 world class singers and 35,000 visitors from across Ireland, Europe and beyond for what will be the 64th annual Festival.  It’s a celebration of all genres of music and song from classical to sacred, pop, and rock.

There is an extensive calendar of events to choose from, including a series of gala concerts, national and international competitions, schools’ concerts, workshops, seminars, and free outdoor recitals, which will take place in more than 60 venues in the city and county.

Some key events include…



  • 18 April, 8pm - Opening Gala Concert in Cork City Hall:  A celebration of Irish composers with pieces from Aloys Fleischmann and Bernard Geary, along with a whole host of Irish performers.
  • 19 April, 8pm - A gala concert in Cork City Hall with internationally renowned Swedish group Solala and Ardú Vocal Ensemble.
  • 20 April, 7.30pm – A gala concert in St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral with Chamber Choir Ireland
  • 20 April, 10.30pm -  The Tenebrae Consort will perform in the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne, following Tenebrae's recent Grammy nomination.
  • 21 April, 3pm and 8pm – Fleishmann International Gala afternoon and evening concerts, which features hundreds of international voices in Cork City Hall.
  • 22 April, 8pm – Closing Gala Concert in Cork City Hall



  • 19-21 April: A three-day Choral Symposium will take place throughout the weekend, with free workshops and seminars with world leaders in the areas of composition conducting and voice work. This is free of charge and a must for anyone involved in Choral music.  It offers a more interactive platform, for composers, conductors, singers, practitioners, and students to meet, experience, and discuss.
  • 18 & 19 April: Primary and post-Primary Schools Choirs competitions will take place at Cork City Hall.
  • 20 April, 12.15pm:  The Big Sing will take place in Cork City Hall and everyone is invited to come along and learn how to sing together as part of a choir. Conducted by award winning conductor Bernie Sherlock, this is a free event where the biggest bespoke choir is created by the audience in attendance.
  • Follow the Choral Trail for the weekend for a wide variety of performances in venues throughout the city and county.
  • Afternoons in the Atrium of the Clayton Hotel.  With a jam packed schedule of different choirs every fifteen minutes from every walk of  life and from around the world on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival, this is not to be missed.


Commenting, Sinéad Dunphy, Festival Manager, said, “We hope music fans will join us this year for our new dates from 18-21 April.  We have a really exciting line-up and it’s a Festival for everybody, with a variety of genres available including everything from classical, to sacred, to pop, to rock. We're ready to welcome people from all over the world to enjoy everything that Cork and Ireland has to offer, all the while ensuring the sweet sounds of choral are ringing in your ears”.


Over 90% of events are free of charge.  Gala Tickets are available for purchase through an online booking system at or at the new ticket office in Civic House Cork.  Special packages are also available in partnership with the Clayton Hotel Cork City to ensure visitors get the best of their journey to Cork while enjoying all the Festival has to offer.


View the Cork International Choral Festival 2018 Programme Here. 


Events centre will get over the line

Cork people must keep faith in the events centre being delivered.


This was the message delivered by Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City Council, at an event this week on current Cork city developments.

A deal has been agreed in principle between the State, developers BAM and proposed operators Live Nation to provide the additional funding required for the project, but the deal is yet to be given the official go-ahead.

Speaking at the event in the Clayton Hotel, Ms Doherty said she was confident the project would get the green light, and urged people to be patient: “Enormous work has been carried out by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and others involved to hammer out a deal in relation to the events centre,” she said.

“I remain and have always said that I am confident we will get this over the line.”

Ms Doherty said it had been discussed heavily in the media, but maintained that it was important for people to keep focused on securing the project for Cork.

“It hasn’t been easy, it’s been discussed by every newspaper, radio show, social media feed. But we need to stay focused on the prize; Cork needs an events centre. We are a city of scale, and we need that landmark building in order to attract things to our city. So I think we all need to stick with it, because that’s how we’re going to make it happen.


Peter O’Meara, Savills; Eoin Kennedy of Zone Digital; Justine McCarthy, Cork Flower Studio representing Douglas Street Business Association and Aaron Mansworth, Chair of the IHF Cork Region at the ‘Cork City Centre Revitalisation - People, Place, Progress’ event. Photo: Brian Lougheed


The ‘Cork City Revitalisation: People, Place, Progress’ event highlighted ongoing and future Cork city developments as well as the revival of certain quarters like the South Parish and Victorian Quarters.

More than €700 million is currently being invested in Cork’s city centre by private and public sector organisations. The developments include a number of multi-functional sites encompassing retail, office, education, culture and tourism. 30 new sites in the city are in development or in the pipeline for development this year.

The event saw input from the CORE Partnership led by Cork Business Association, Cork City Council, Cork Chamber and more.


Credit: Ryan O'Neill, writing for the Cork Independent


Philip Gillivan Elected As New President of the Cork Business Association

The Cork Business Association held its 61st Annual General Meeting on February 6th at AIB 66 South Mall Cork. The event marked the election of Mr Philip Gillivan proprietor of The Shelbourne Bar, McCurtain Street as their new President. Philip’s term will last until February 2020.

Philip is taking over the reins from Pat O Connell, who had a hugely successful two-year term as President.  He was instrumental in re-structuring the Cork Business Association into areas that would most benefit the city, including Retail, Tourism, Infrastructure, Security, Movement, Policy, Social, and Communications.
He will continue to play an active role in the Cork Business Association and as immediate past president, he will be one of its representatives on the Cork City Centre Partnership (CORE) during 2018.

Commenting on his new appointment, Mr Gillivan stressed the opportunities for economic development in the city, “I am honoured to take up the post as President of the Cork Business Association. This is a very exciting time for Cork but equally, so we have to recognise the challenges we must address particularly in respect of infrastructure and public transport. Business overall is improving with an increasing level of investment, specifically in terms of new development projects as can be measured in the number of cranes visible in the city’s skyline. As a business owner myself, I want to stress how beneficial it has been to be part of this organisation over the years and to remind owners and managers that we are here for you, to promote your interests at local and national level. We will continue to work with all the key stakeholders to revitalise our city and make it a place people want to work, visit and live in. We all need to work together to have one strong voice and this is the voice of business in cork city”.


Philip went on to identify a number of priorities that he will concentrate on during his term in office. “I want to build partnerships between the quarters in the city and use the positive experience I have garnered from my role in helping the re-emergence of the McCurtain Street / Victorian area. This quarter is now such a vibrant part of our city’s economy. I firmly believe in businesses working together for the greater good and this is the ethos I will bring to the CBA during my term as President I also want to see that Cork fully embraces smart technology to enhance the customer experience”.
“Finally we will continue to work with Cork City Council and other stakeholders on issues facing our members including Infrastructure, Parking, Flood defences, Rates, Security, Marketing of Cork and the improvement of our Public Realm.”
Philip concluded by saying, “I would like to thank Pat O Connell for his amazing commitment to the Cork Business Association and indeed Cork. He has been a highly committed and dynamic president and has delivered a considerable amount for the association. Pat is leaving me with a much stronger and more relevant organisation and I thank him most sincerely for that. I look forward to working closely with our Chief Executive Lawrence Owens, and with our executive members who represent all business sectors in cork.”


Commenting on the appointment, Lawrence Owens, CEO of Cork Business Association, said,
“I would like to congratulate Philip on his election as our new President and I look forward to working with him during 2018. Philip is a proven entrepreneur with a strong commercial background and I am confident he will bring new progressive and dynamic thinking to the organisation."


Cork Business of the Year Awards