Watch: Did you ever hear about Cork's Onion Sellers?

In a new weekly column, we share videos about some of Cork's favourite places and people. Here Dario Cascio, talks to us about Cork's Onion Sellers
Watch: Did you ever hear about Cork's Onion Sellers?

Dario Cascio tells us about The Onion Seller in his video series.

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. 

Statues normally celebrate the lives and heroic quests of some very famous locals, so what was the story with that old, little woman?

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.

That statue celebrates the lives of the Onion Sellers, street vendors that operated in the early 1900s.

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 Onion Seller is a work by the famous Cork sculptor, Seamus Murphy
The Onion Seller is a work by the famous Cork sculptor, Seamus Murphy

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.


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