MY Saturday morning routine is always the same: I get up early, have a quick breakfast and walk to the market on Cornmarket Street as the stands are about to start trading.
This market has everything I need and also delivers that friendly sense of community that I find simply charming.
While shopping, a statue caught my attention: This old, little woman, standing on a pedestal bigger than her, holding something in her hands.
I had to know, I needed to do some research.
Turns out it’s a fascinating and evocative story of Cork’s recent past and, to me, yet another bridge between my native Palermo and my adoptive Cork.
Street vendors are still a thing back home in Sicily, a big cultural aspect of my beautiful, Mediterranean island.
Most of the big historical markets in Palermo and Catania date back to the Middle Ages and their main trait is that all sellers operate outside, on the street, every day, all year long.
The Vucciria, one of Palermo’s oldest markets, started trading in 1101 and its shape has barely changed since.
It was great for me to connect Cork and Palermo this way, through a statue of a small woman that tried to sell her onions in front of the English Market, only to be chased away but the security and find refuge between Paul Street and Corn Market Street, where the statue currently is.