The Mutton Lane Inn
3 Mutton Lane, Cork
A Cork pub much admired, the Mutton Lane Inn is probably one of the oldest drinking establishments in the city outside of the North/ South Main Street axis. Situated off St. Patrick’s Street, Mutton Lane is one of many alleyways that lead into the famed English Market and used to be where live sheep were run into the market at one time.
Take some time to appreciate the important mural running the length of the lane. Commissioned by Cork City Council and the owner of the pub, it was completed by Anthony Ruby and is as Cork-centric as you can get. Unusual – in that every man jack in the mural is alive and kicking – sit on one of the barrels long enough and one of them is bound to pass you by. There are a few stories embedded into the mural, which locals will be glad to share, and the work has never been vandalised – only ever admired.
Venture inside and the Mutton Lane Inn is dark, wooden and candle lit. The staff are exceptionally friendly, the music is always good and, to encourage conversation, there is NO TV. Ask about the pictures above the bar when you get a chance. Two of our famous Lord Mayors will be looking down on you, along with JFK and Jackie as well as Johnny Cash.
Open each day from 10.30am, it’s always a busy spot but you’ll somehow find a seat. The atmosphere is unique and it really is a rocking heritage pub for all ages. Visit any good book shop in Cork to pick up a copy of the O’Driscoll brothers’ excellent read - ‘The History of the English Market in Cork’. This book will give you a real flavour of the history in this area of the city.
The pub once had the greatest sales of whiskey in Ireland per square foot as the custom was that butchers and cattlemen would leave a drop or two as payment for their junior staff on leaving the market at the end of a long day. Even today the market is an ever present and Staff don’t mind if you bring some of the delicacies of the Market into the pub for a bite to eat.
The Irish civil war was tragic but thankfully relatively brief. This long, narrow bar was divided right down the middle between pro Treaty and anti Treaty forces during this time but the peace – and more importantly – the atmosphere always held. If you really want to understand the history of Cork and, in particularly, the character of its citizen, then chance reading another great book – ‘The battle for Cork’ by John Borgonovo.
Frankly, once you disover the Mutton Lane Inn, you could spend a whole week here and Cork’s nightlife just wouldn’t be the same without it.