20 May 2021
By Tom Collins
On this day 10 years ago, the streets of Cork were alive with spectators to offer a royal Cork welcome to the UK’s HM Queen Elizabeth II and the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on the final day of their State Visit to Ireland.
Today, to celebrate the anniversary of this occasion The English Market and Cork City Council unveiled a specially curated photographic exhibition, featuring archive photos of the Royal visit at the entrance to the market on Grande Parade, Cork, where the Queen began her visit through the doors of The English Market.
In addition, as a ‘virtual gift’ to those who cannot make it into the city to view the photographic exhibition, Cork City Council and The English Market have commissioned a commemorative video featuring An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Paul Johnston, British Ambassador to Ireland, Michael O Connell, former Lord Mayor of Cork, Pat O’Connell of K. O’Connell Fishmongers, Sheila Fitzpatrick of Alternative Bread Company and Tom Durcan of Tom Durcan Meats, sharing memorable accounts from the day and what it meant for the people of Cork and for Ireland as a country.
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Joe Kavanagh stated,
“We are very proud to unveil this new photographic exhibition and very special video, to commemorate this very special day. The State Visit was a significant moment for Anglo-Irish relations and was a real moment in history for the people of Cork. As the city begins to re-open, we hope that people enjoy reminiscing, looking through the extensive archive of photos and re-living the memories shared through the video piece. A special thank you to RTE, The Irish Examiner and The Echo for donating the imagery and footage from this monumental day and to all those who took part and shared their stories.”
During the historic visit on May 20th 2011, the Queen and Prince Philip took a tour of The English Market where they chatted with several Market traders and asked questions as to the history and provenance of the food produce on many of the stalls. It was during this time that a photo was taken of the Queen and Pat O’Connell of K O’Connell Fish Merchants as they shared a moment of laughter at Pat’s infamous reference to “the mother-in-law fish”. From this photo, The English Market was showcased on an international stage and Pat was later invited to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
As part of the tour, the Queen unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit to the Market near the English Market fountain and was presented with a specially commissioned silver
brooch by the Lord Mayor of Cork at the time, Michael O’Connell and the former Lady Mayoress of Cork, Catherine O’Connell. As a token of appreciation, Tom Durcan, Chairman of the English Market Traders Committee at the time, presented the Queen and Prince Philip with a gift hamper of local Irish produce packed with a variety of artisan food products, that showcased the very best of produce from the English Market.
To view the video visit the English Market social media pages and website www.corkcity.ie/en/english-