Sean & I spent the October Bank Holiday weekend in the amazing Cork city taking in all that the Guinness Jazz Festival had to offer… which was a lot!
Jazz music has always been close to my heart as my granddad carved his own path in music as the drummer in the Guinness Jazz Band his whole working life- this was his career, his passion and his livelihood with his deep love for the music being impossible to ignore.
My vivid memories range from him loading his kit into his van before heading off to play in the evening, to him sitting ideally strumming tunes against the kitchen table with his fingers… eyes squeezed shut in an equal mixture of concentration and complete lack of presence in the chair in which he sat…
These childhood memories of just how much jazz music encompassed his life have caused this genre to have a natural interest for me too so, I was only delighted to take the opportunity to head down & get some serious jazz gigs under my belt.
Our journey down on the Friday did not get off to a good start as we hit major traffic (not helped by a wrong turn coming into the city) meaning our dinner reservation in Jacobs On The Mall had to be pushed back twice and still only left us with 15 minutes to get there once we arrived to our beautiful hotel, The Montenotte , we were on the brink of accepting that we simply wouldn’t make it but the lovely lady Dee in the hotel’s reception picked up on our panic and within minutes had called the restaurant on our behalf and booked us a taxi… we fired our stuff into our room & were back out the door in minutes.
The gentleman at front of house at Jacobs On The Mall could not have been kinder as he ushered us to sit for a moment at the bar area before bringing us to our table in an attempt to calm two clearly very flustered individuals (to put it into perspective; we’d rescheduled our booking twice & were still 10 minute late…), he insisted we not rush our meal which we thoroughly enjoyed as the food, decor, atmosphere & service were all brilliant.
After that we headed to The Chateau as one of Guinness’s recommended spots to get a pint of the dark stuff before heading to The Metropole Hotel for an intimate jazz session which was thoroughly enjoyable & a great introduction to the weekend’s festivities.
Saturday morning’s heads were a little fuzzy but nothing that an epic breakfast & copious amounts of coffee wouldn’t sort… if you’re a long time reader you’ll know my penchant for buffet breakfast and, The Montenotte did not disappoint! We grabbed an hour in our beautiful room to freshen up & enjoy some more coffee from the machine in our room before we were out the door again.
We hit the local flea market which was really well organised with a great selection of items then headed to The English Market; an absolute must when in Cork city. We grabbed a drink in the amazing Arthur Maynes wine bar before heading back to the hotel for a quick change.
Unfortunately, despite my extensive research on where to eat in Cork I did make a mistake on night two… you see, I really wanted to try Market Lane but was familiar with their policy of not taking reservations for groups smaller than 6 people- I’d tweeted asking whether that’d be changing this policy for the weekend that was in it to which they said no.
We decided to take the risk anyway but, arriving soon after they’d opened there was already an hour & 40 minute wait with lots of people being left disappointed. I’ve voiced my frustration at this system at the best of times so shouldn’t have taken the risk but alas, we did & were then left with no booking for arguably the busiest night in Cork city.
All’s well that end well as they say and we’d managed to get on to a 30 minute waiting list in a spot nearby which gave us enough time to tip back to Arthur Mayne’s to try out their new cocktail bar upstairs before enjoying a meal finished with an espresso martini to keep the energies up.
We enjoyed a gig in The Everyman before catching up with friends and then on to The Cork Opera House where we ended the night (well, a cheeky fish & chip shop is where we ended the night if I’m being real!)… such a fun night.