If you are from Cork, you will have heard about Billy Lyions and his blog Cork Billy! I have been following Billy’s culinary adventures for a long time and truly enjoy his blog and reviews. Thanks so much for coming on the blog Billy!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself!
Born in UK, bred in Cork. Married, five children, even more grandchildren, one dog, 21 sparrows, 12 doves, 2 robins, 2 blackbirds, various others including a few big fat pigeons.
What inspired you to start blogging?
Had a website (as part of my 30 plus year involvement with local soccer) and the blog grew from that. Was always interested in food and that was acknowledged when I retired from John A Wood Ltd.. Instead of the gold watch, I got a wad of restaurant vouchers.
What will readers find on your blog?
Food info of many kinds, restaurant reviews, reports on farmers markets, farmers, brewers, distillers and other producers, new products, A Taste of the Week feature, lots of drinks reviews and links to travels, home and away.
Describe Cork in 3 words!
Food. Drink. Craic
Cork is famous for …
Boyle, Boole and Berkeley, O’Riada and Gallagher, O’Connor and O’Faolain, MacCurtain and MacSwiney, Ring and Keane, Shandon and St Fin Barre’s, its pubs and peninsulas, its food and friendliness.
What makes Cork a food lover’s destination?
A 1,000 kilometers of coastline, productive farmers and fishermen, natives and immigrants among them, the markets, the cooks and chefs who bring it all together in the homes and restaurants.
Best day trips from Cork?
Like my food, so off to Toonsbridge Dairy for an early lunch, then a leisurely cross country trip to marvellous Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southwesterly point and while there, I’d walk to all the viewing points. Call next to Ma Murphy’s in Bantry for a craft beer or maybe to Manning’s in Ballylicky for a sherry before a good fish dinner at either O’Connor’s or The Fish Kitchen. Home then or it might be better to book into the Maritime and start another trip (Ring of Beara and the Healy Pass) in the morning.
Like my walks too including these three, all different: east to Ballycotton cliffs, north to Doneraile Court and its parkland, and west to Sheep’s Head Penisula.
What’s your favourite holiday destination and what makes it so unique?
France for its diversity of landscape, architecture, cuisine, not to mention the wine. Have had memorable holidays from the Loire to Pays Basque, from Normandy to Provence.
Most memorable meal you ever had?
In Nerua, a one star Michelin in Bilbao’s Guggenheim. We had a fantastic experience there, great welcome, tour of the kitchens, chat on their private balcony – and we were total strangers. The food was terrific as you’d expect from a restaurant in the Top 100 worldwide.
Best place for a pint?
Got to be my local, the Cotton Ball. It is hardly 200 meters away and the pint will be from their own on-site micro-brewery.
New and upcoming restaurants in Cork?
Pilgrim’s in Rosscarbery is very impressive. The menu, from the local fields, nearby seas and wild places, changes from season to season, from day to day even. You won’t have the biggest choices but quality shines through even if sometimes the sun doesn’t.
Which other Cork personality would you like to see on the blog?