7 Cork spots spill the secret behind their business name
Ever heard of a Cork City bar called Mallpractice?
No, you haven’t.
But you could have been sipping your G&Ts there instead of at Electric on the South Mall if its owner Ernest Cantillon had gone with his original choice.
Shakespeare wondered whether a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; we’ve been pondering the same when it comes to some of Cork’s best known businesses.
According to professional naming company Lexicon, responsible for naming brands such as Subaru’s Outback SUV, Febreze and Apple’s Powerbook, the best names inspire intrigue and curiosity.
Their advice? “The single most important value of a name is its storytelling ability. And to tell a good story, you must do three things; Get their attention. Make it interesting. Tell them something new.”
We asked seven creatively named Cork businesses to explain the thinking behind their decision:
“We were under pressure to register the business to sign the lease in the building so we were throwing names out there but nothing was sticking.” recalls Alex Bruce, Director, SOMA.
“Then a song came up on my Spotify called Soma; I thought it read well and sounded punchy so I looked it up and one of its many meanings is an ancient Vedic ritual where you sacrifice an intoxicating beverage made from a plant to the gods – a drink of the gods, you might say! Coffee being intoxicating somewhat and made from a plant, I thought it made sense.”
2. THE IVORY TOWER (now closed)
“Restaurant naming is paradoxically fun and serious – you want customers to connect the name with their desire.”says Seamus O’Connell, owner and head chef at Cork’s iconic Ivory Tower restaurant (now closed).
“It’s always a challenge, somewhat like naming a child as it sticks for life!
“The Ivory Tower I chose over Rapunzel’s in the end, it’s meant to conjure images of being above and outside of common aspirations. You must remember it was the early Nineties – I’ve considered ditching the name over the last years for its connotations to the odious ivory trade but it’s just too iconic at this stage.”
“Fellini’s is the oldest tearoom in Cork and it was originally a tearoom off the side of the Pavilion Cinema.” says the Carey’s Lane cafe’s social media manager Aisling Reardon.
“The Pavilion Cinema opened in 1921. In keeping with its location and with the customers that would be coming from the cinema, Fellini’s was named after the famous Italian director; Federico Fellini who directed the world famous ‘La Dolce Vita’.”
4. REPUBLIC OF WORK
“The story is a strange one.” says Donal Cahalane, CEO of South Mall co-working space Republic of Work.
“I actually came up with the name over Easter Weekend 2016 during the Easter Rising celebrations. I had been reading up all year on all the huge changes that are coming in modern workspaces, a revolution in how we work, basically.
“Somehow that connected with the proclamation and the idea of the formation of the Republic of Ireland and hey presto, we had a name!
“The fact that we were setting up our first space in the People’s Republic of Cork didn’t hurt either!”
“Electric was originally going to be called Mallpractice – obviously a play on Malpractice.” says publican Ernest Cantillon.
“As our opening date approached, we went cold on the name – I never like the idea of naming a place after something negative, even if it’s in jest.
“People always ask and sometimes we have some fun with the answer. We’ve told some tourists that it was the first building in the city to get electricity, and others that it was hit so many times by lightning over the years we called it Electric.
“The real reason is more mundane. I always liked the expression ‘an electric atmosphere’ and that was the kind of buzzy vibe we were going for. The people who originally built it were called O’Sheas and they ran a business from the building called O’Sheas Electrical so that was a nice tie-in.”
6. GOOD DAY DELI
“The name Good Day Deli originated in the Cook Islands, when we spent the year there in 2015 and started to focus on planning our cafe.” says deli owner Clare Condon.
“’Good Day Deli” felt right from the moment we thought about it. Although it is very simple, it has meaning behind it and represents both the experience we offer and the ethos we operate by.”
7. THE RAVEN
“The Raven name originates with Viking chiefs and Scandinavian rulers from the 9th, 10th and 11th Centuries.” says Sean Daly.
“Such chiefs used Norse artwork banners featuring a raven bird outline. Scholars suggest the Raven Flag was a symbol of Odin from Norse mythology and used to strike fear into enemies using the significance of Odin and his ravens: ‘Two ravens sit on Odin’s shoulders, and bring to his ears all that they hear and see.’
“The first Viking encounter in Cork occurred in 820 when its great monastery was attacked and the South Gate Bridge Settlement was erected in 846. It wasn’t until then that the other Viking settlements occurred; Shandon Street, The South Gate Bridge and the Middle Parish of South Main Street were the three primary settlements of that time.”