No matter how far you roam, come December you’ll inevitably begin to yearn for the cosy confines of Cork at Christmas.
For those who manage to raise the cash for the plane ticket, it’s worth every penny; there are some once-yearly traditions that can only be truly appreciated at home.
Here are some of the best things about the most magical time of the year on Leeside…
1. Landing at Cork Airport
Who needs the London nightlife or the hustle and bustle of New York when the green fields of your native county are unfurling below you in lovely patchwork quilt? It’s enougn to bring a tear to your eye, so it is.
2. The family welcome in arrivals
Cork mams love nothing more than waiting at the arrivals gate waiting for their offspring to walk through the door. The older you get, the bigger the crowd you can expect, with nieces, nephews and tiny cousins bursting to get in on the welcome home action.
3. Milky tea and USA biscuits
Everyone knows you just can’t get a decent cup of tea for love ‘nor money abroad. Expect to consume litres of Barry’s finest on your first night home, as the customary tin of USA biscuits or Chocolate Kimberleys is cracked open.
4. The Full Irish
There’s be none of your low-carb, Paleo, WeightWatchers nonsense this week. Now eat your 7lb breakfast like a good girl.
5. The pre Christmas Penneys haul
The queues will be looping throughout the store and the majority of the shelves will be decimated by 11am, but little details like that never stopped a Cork person from filling ten bags with boots, jackets, bras and bags in Penneys. As at least 15 people will tell you, the line is long but it moves fast.
6. The stroll through town
No trip home is complete without a wander through Cork City while it’s lit up like a Christmas tree. Start at the Rotary Tree of Remembrance outside Brown Thomas and head towards Bishop Lucey Park with a stop at The Mutton Lane for a hot port. Once you hit Grand Parade, a spin on the giant ferris wheel is both terrifying and non-negotiable.
7. Spiced beef
Only Tom Durcan’s finest will do. It’s odd crusty texture belies the deliciousness beneath. Try it in a toasted cheese sandwich with crusty ABC bread for a culinary ‘come to Jesus’ experience.
8. Christmas Eve pints in your local pub
There is no more efficient way to catch up with everyone you ever went to school with than to drop by your local pub on Christmas Eve. Chat will be mainly about the cost of flights from Perth and the current weather in Melbourne.
9. Christmas dinner
The only meal when it’s reasonable to have potatoes four ways and then come back for more. Listening to your Granda’s NSFW anecdotes leaves plenty of time for an extra bowl of trifle too.
10. The St Stephen’s Day debauchery
Sure, family time is sacred in Christmas Day, but 24 hours in and everyone’s coming down with cabin fever. The remedy? A taxi to town for some major St Stephen’s Day shenanigans.
11. The best hangover of the year
The best hing about Christmas hangovers is that the house is already filled with everything you need to survive it. Selection boxes? Check. Plates of salty ham for sandwiches? Check. Cosy slippers and twinkly lights? Check. Sentimental movies on TV? Perfection.