Elke O'Mahony

I had the best cheese toastie

What a week, oh what a week.

Bank Holiday Monday I dragged the wonderful and patient Mr T to town to visit one of my favourite pubs, the Rising Sons Brewery.

The core staff was still in place which made the visit more like a homecoming. The first sip of a pint of Changeling has never tasted as good and the pizza was as tasty as I remembered.

Service was as always excellent with Judy and Aoife being back in full swing making sure everyone adhered to the regulations in a relaxed atmosphere. It was good to be out and it was good to see people smiling and laughing and enjoying the company of their friends.

There was a steady flow of people coming and going as well as passing by but none of the ‘vicious crowds’ we have heard so much about. The pub also offers take away beer - not to be consumed outside but at home - and we took some Growlers of Redemption home to enjoy in the garden, perfect weather for it.

Then last Friday I treated myself to a little shopping trip in town. The sun was shining, the air was filled with laughter and music from all the open restaurants and the buzz around town was infectious.

I thought I was being very clever popping into Idaho for an early lunch just after noon but turned out, I wasn’t the only ‘clever’ one. Again, the visit felt like coming home with the warm welcome I have come to love over the past 20 years. Yes, I am going there that long.

I had the best cheese toastie in town with a sneaky glass of wine and a few chats with everyone.

We could have been in Paris on a warm summer’s day but it was Cork in all its beauty and wonderful characters that make Cork the most amazing place to live.

It was a pity to see places closed that have no outdoor space like the Square Table in Blarney – Martina and Tricia are opening again next month and I can’t wait to pop in for a nice meal and a lovely chat.

The Castle Hotel in Blarney has been transformed while being closed and the result is a stunning roofed outdoor space that locals love. The rooms are also received a stunning makeover just in case you like a weekend away in Blarney.

I have been a few times to catch up with family and friends and a bit of normality has returned. Browne’s near Blarney has also invested in outdoor space and with weather like we had last weekend, it is a perfect spot to catch up with neighbours which we did last Sunday.

I heard that some people are still reluctant to go out and that is understandable as fear is still prominent but there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train – so I am looking forward to a wonderful summer with food and drink in great surrounds.