Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Art Break

Continuing on my culinary exploits, I visited the Farmgate Cafe above the English Market today for some tripe & drisheen (black pudding). Well, it was meant to be black pudding. In texture, colour and taste (or lack thereof), it was closer to the congealed chicken blood I had in China. When last I had tripe, in Florence, I had found it somewhat salty. Today, drowned (attractively drowned I admit)in milk and onions, it was, like the drisheen, fairly tasteless. A mere whisper of lamb coloured the rubbery effect. In short then, well done though it was, I was a little disappointed. Still gobbled it up though. The market by the way is fantastic; small, a lot smaller than those of Australia, it nevertheless had enough fresh seafood, meat and cheese to set my tastebuds quivering.

The day began with clear blue skies and when I emerged from the market, the sun was strong and it was hot. Very much by chance I strolled into Bishop Lucey's Park, a small patch of green cloaked with lunchtime workers. I propped myself against a wall, ensured the sun beat directly down on me and listened to Carmina Burana for an hour. There was enough female distraction to accompany the music and make the hour one well spent.

I had heard tell that the Crawford Municipal Gallery was one worth visiting, so now in a relaxed and aesthetic frame of mind, I hunted it down. It warranted its reputation. Firstly there was a small, but excellent exhibition of the works of Cork sculptor, Seamus Murphy. Although much of his output is comprised of portraits, such as De Valera and James Connolly, there is a stylistic individuality to everything that lends them distinction. Nothing is merely a straight forward representation. far more than his portraits though, his religious statues are austerely stylised, and in some of his sketches I couldn't help but see a little of the Aryan. Apparently he wasn't a great fan of modernist sculpture, but I don't think he was as distant from it as he might have hoped.

The exhibitions of Irish works from the 70's were a mixed bag, but they did give me the opportunity to discover two more works by Daniel O'Neill, an artist I have some time for. Upstairs an arresting painting by Wilfred De Glehn, 'The Captive' caught my eye, but it was a room devoted to Harry Clarke that really blew me away. It is amazing how much his illustrations have informed how we visualise the work of Edgar Allen Poe. Great stuff. Of course, it's his stain glass windows that attract all the attention (rightfully so), so when I had my fill, I made my way out to UCC to see his work in the chapel there. His figures are very distinctive, with big stylised eyes in finely etched and shaded faces, faces more realistic than those eyes. Good stuff.

University College Cork is a fine college, and showed itself to great effect in the sunshine. Going into the Gluckstein Gallery, I looked at a lot of contemporary Chinese works. It brought me right back, so it did.


At 8:34 pm, Anonymous frankp said...

Best coffee in Cork is in the Boqueria on Bridge Street.

Ask for a Cafe con Leche if you're into that sort of thing.

Tell em Frank sent you.

Great Organic burgers in the Liberty grill on Washington Street.


At 9:39 pm, Blogger Niall said...

Thanks for the tips, Frankp. Should I need a burger later I will certainly consider an organic one.


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