16 October 2023
By Roger Kennedy
While Ireland is well-known for its natural scenery and lucky charms, there are a lot of other reasons for a tourist to spend their time here. One of those is its sweet-tooth attractions – places and businesses where treats like traditional Irish fudge or ice cream can be found. Here we have a small selection of them that can be found in County Cork.
Murphy’s Ice Cream
Murphy’s Ice Cream is Ireland’s homegrown real ice cream parlour, found in the island’s largest cities and towns. As it happens, their most recent parlour was opened in Cork during the summer of 2023. Murphy’s was started by brothers Kieran and Sean in the year 2000, supplying unique Irish flavours such as Irish brown bread, chocolate West Cork whiskey, and Dingle sea salt.
Ireland’s fascination with the parlour ice cream brand has seen them expand all over the island. It’s unsurprising given that ice cream has mass appeal, especially when it comes in many different flavours. Sweet treats tend to be popular, even if they’re used for inedible marketing purposes. In iGaming, an industry that Ireland is well-acquainted with, it’s common to see games like the Sweet Bonanza slot which uses colourful, tasty-looking digital art to make the game more engaging. It’s not a one-time thing – there are many slots out there that use sweet imagery for marketing purposes, including classic fruit machines from before the iGaming industry existed.
Now that the Murphy brothers’ ice cream venture has arrived in Cork, local citizens or visitors to Ireland’s southernmost edge can visit for a sweet Irish treat. They try to use Irish ingredients as much as they can when creating ice cream recipes, with all milk sourced from Kerry cows and salt from the Bín Bán beach.
The Cork Culinary Tour & St. Patrick’s Street
The Cork Culinary Tour is one of the highest-rated foodie activities in the city. More than any other attraction, it has put Cork on the map for those in search of food tourism. Located on St. Patrick’s Street, Cork’s foremost high street, the culinary tour starts with one of Ireland’s oldest remaining fish and meat markets. Afterwards, The English Market has more food and beverages including sweet treats before finishing with a pub lunch that’s included in the price for entry.
Both markets are expansive, so there are several different points where you can get confectionary. Not to mention there’s a lot on or close to St. Patrick’s Street itself, such as Gino’s Gelato shop which serves crepes and other fresh and warm desserts. Nearby Winthrop Street also has the city’s boutique dine-in chocolate café – Cocoa.
In the northern Shandon Quarter of Cork lies the city’s award-winning sweet factory, Shandon Sweets. Like Murphy’s, this is a purely Irish confectioner, though they’ve been in business for a lot longer. Having operated since the 1920s, with a name change or two during that time, they’re still run by the same family – the Linehans. They use the manufacturing methods first set by Jimmy Linehan in 1929, covered in more detail here by the Irish Examiner.
Drum roll please….the 2022 Cork Persons of the Year are Tony Linehan and Angela Cantwell of Shandon Sweet Factory & Angela’s Shop! Congratulations to the winners! 🎉#CPOTY30thAwards #Cork pic.twitter.com/QusxjJ2QeE
— Cork Person of the Year (@Cork_POTY) January 27, 2023
Their sweet selection has changed with the times – for example, many of their sweets pack a sour punch nowadays, and others are gluten-free – but they make enough that there should be something that appeals to everyone. Their sweet selection includes honeycomb chunks, rock pieces including their classic clove rock and assortments of bonbons, fudge and liquorice sticks.
With this selection of businesses, visitors to Cork should find all the sugary treats that they’re looking for. Whether you’re after a hot chocolate café, hard sweets or an ice cream parlour, they can all be found in Cork with a traditional Irish twist.