If you’re looking for a cosy spot to spend a rainy day filled with both historical and contemporary art in Cork, pay a visit to the Crawford Art Gallery right nearby the Cork Opera House at Emmet Place. Entry is free and there are maps available near the entrance to help you navigate over 2000 works in the permanent collection as well as the temporary exhibitions on the different floors. The ground floor the first room on your left houses a collection of Greek and Roman sculpture casts that were brought over to Cork from the Vatican Museum in Rome in 1818. You can also look out for some pottery, Irish and European paintings as well as stained glass exhibitions or photography on display.
I could have spent hours admiring the Doug Dubois photography exhibition, My Last Day At Seventeen, a series of photos of Ireland’s youth over five years. It’s very real, raw and emotive, and inspiring for any documentary photographer as well. I did actually spend a lot of time at this exhibition, but not all at once, I went back a few different times.
Should you be in need of sustenance in the form of caffeine or notice that lunch time has crept up on you, there is a wonderful café with plenty of natural light and delicious food inside the gallery on the ground floor. When I last checked the menu they had the following on offer for lunch: Roast marrow bone with parsley caper salad and sourdough (€5), devilled kidneys with hot buttered sourdough (€5.50), organic garden beetroot, Ardsallagh goat’s cheese and leaves with West Cork honey and toasted walnuts (€7,50), warm garden leek and mature cheddar cheese tart (€11,50), hake and chips with green mayonnaise, lemon and a little salad (€14,50), lamb shank slow cooked with tomatoes, thyme, garlic and mashed potatoes (€14,50), grilled steak and chips with garlic butter and marrow bone (€14,50), Crawford spinach and mushroom pancake with cucumber pickle, salad leaves and Hollandaise sauce (€10,50) and the Crawford sandwich special: a cup of home-made soup, tea or coffee with Gubbeen farmhouse cheese on brown bread with relish and salad or Bresnan’s loin of bacon on brown bread with cucumber pickle (€11,50). There are also fresh scones and cakes to tempt you further.