Here’s a quick, but loaded, question: Do you prefer Barry’s or Lyons?
The Great Irish Tea War is the most intractable rivalry in the country. While Munster and Leinster have been known to put their differences aside for the sake of Irish rugby glory, tea drinkers are not so easily appeased.
Mention a preference for the “wrong” tea and you can expect strong words at best – and definitely no biscuits. At worst, tea drinkers will go cup to cup in pitched battles, kettles angrily steaming, while insults like curdled milk sour friendships and family relationships.
It’s more than just a battle of the brews. Barry’s Tea was founded the Rebel City in 1901 and is still one of Cork’s most famous brands. Lyons is originally from Dublin.
Do you prefer Barry’s to Lyons? The yellow Snack or the purple one? Tayto or King Crisps? Cork or Dublin? Really, it is all a matter of taste… But there are many great reasons why anyone looking for a new job, or a whole new life, should consider a move to Cork.
Dublin may be the country’s economic engine, but Cork is thriving. Ireland’s south-west has also had significant job creation in recent years. Unemployment across Cork and Kerry is under 5 percent – one of the lowest rates across Ireland.
The digital sector, tourism and pharma are particularly buoyant. Cork’s digital economy is worth an estimated €1bn, while the tourism is close behind, at around €850m. Multinationals that call Cork home include AbbVie, Apple, Amazon, Boston Scientific, DellEMC, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott Group, Pfizer and Siemens.
The area around Cork is home to a number of pharmaceutical and bio-pharmaceutical companies, particularly in Little Island and Ringaskiddy. GE is developing a ‘BioPark’ in Ringaskiddy. In May, Eli Lilly announced plans to expand the company’s Kinsale manufacturing site, creating hundreds of jobs. More recently, in October, Janssen Sciences Ireland UC announced an expansion to its Ringaskiddy facility with an investment of more than €300 million and the creation of 200 jobs.
Investec, the specialist bank, believes that Cork is “Brexit-ready” and in an excellent position to benefit from multinational companies relocating from the UK. This is due to ongoing investment in infrastructure, along with lower office rental costs. Cork offers companies the same tax breaks as Dublin, but prime office space costs about half as much.
County Cork has some of the best farmland in the country. As a result, it also has a reputation of producing high quality food, particularly from small producers. Some of the most popular include the Alternative Bread Company; Ballymaloe Relish; Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese; Clonakilty Black Pudding and Eight Degrees Brewing. Served together, those would make a great meal!
Then there’s the Old English Market. This foodie heaven stocks produce from small traders and has an emphasis on organic products. The Market is also home to the Farmgate Café, which specialises in fresh local food.
Cork has a slew of award-winning and highly regarded restaurants. These include the lovely Jacques Restaurant, the vibey Market Lane and Cafe Paradiso, generally agreed to be the best vegetarian restaurant in the country.
Cork has been the European Capital of Culture; the city is regarded as a must-see tourist destination, and it has a wonderful laid-back vibe. There's a busy live music scene, a variety of theatres and the “Heritage Pub Trail” – although we don’t recommend completing this in one night!
A recent study by the European Commission – the ‘Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor’ – gave Cork the top spot for “cultural vibrancy.” This measures the vibe of a city, cultural infrastructure and how often the public engage with cultural events. The rest of the top five were Paris, Florence, Lisbon and Copenhagen. Cork’s win is down to the variety of venues, performances, exhibitions and festivals taking place annually.
Cork’s annual Jazz Festival is famous around the world and has been running since 1978. Live at the Marquee hosts musical and comedy stars every summer. This year, Eddie Vedder, Emeli Sandé, Elton John, Tommy Tiernan and Chirsty Moore were amongst the performers. Then there is the Cork Folk Festival, the French Film Festival, the World Book Fest and many more.
Cork’s coast is part of the “Wild Atlantic Way” and this part of the country offers rugged beauty. There are also a number of blue flag beaches, including Garretstown, Inchdoney and Barleycove.
The best news is that you will actually be able to afford to go out. This October, figures from Sherry Fitzgerald found that Dubliners spend a whooping 55 percent of their take home pay on rent. In Cork, the average is a far more reasonable 37 percent.
If you are thinking of making the move, or looking for your next career challenge, call in to Jobs Expo Cork. The event takes place on Saturday 25 November at UCC's Devere Hall, Aras na Mac Leinn. Entrance is free. Register for your ticket here.