THE owners of two of Cork’s most iconic businesses, Shandon Sweet Factory and Angela’s Shop & Coffee Dock in Fountainstown, are being honoured with a joint Cork Person of the Month Award for May. This is to acknowledge their continued contribution to Cork as two traditional establishments known to generations of its citizens.
Shandon Sweets is Ireland’s last remaining traditional sweet factory, and is run by father-son duo, Tony and Dan Linehan. The shop was founded in 1928, and recently pivoted its business to include an online shop.
Located in Cork’s Shandon Quarter, Shandon Sweets is a factory and shop, and also a tourist attraction. The company’s sweets are handmade via traditional methods and the factory’s original machinery is still used. The duo have overcome many obstacles in recent years, including a major fire, to retain the title of Cork’s favourite sweet shop.
“Part of our success is that Shandon Sweets pass the quality test for modern parents,” Dan said. “All the colours and flavours that we use are natural, and our sweets are gluten-free. We also offer demonstrations of our traditional ways of producing sweets to visitors.”
According to Tony, the Covid-19 pandemic has uncovered new opportunities for the business.
“Because of Covid, we had to close the shop and move online. Since setting up our online shop, we’ve been wondering why we didn’t make the move years ago! Now we supply our sweets to all parts of Ireland.”
A shop that stands in similar stead to Shandon Sweets in terms of its legacy and offering is Angela’s Shop & Coffee Dock in Fountainstown. Angela Cantwell has owned it for the last 33 years. The shop has been a staple for visitors and locals alike, being somewhere that people can buy anything they could possibly need for a day at the beach, such as fishing tackle, buckets and spades, ice cream, coffee and scones.
“In the RTÉ Guide, Derval O’Rourke said this shop was one of her favourite places,” Angela said with pride. “My neighbours tell me that their relatives, visiting Cork from Australia and New Zealand, have called in here and that they were amazed when they could get all their bits and pieces for a day out at the seaside, all at a one-stop shop.”
Awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan said: “Shandon Sweets is Cork’s own Willy Wonka Factory. We’re proud of the Linehan family’s achievements, and Angela’s little shop by the sea brings back many happy memories for Cork families. It’s great to know that this is one Cork tradition that continues on, thanks to Angela Cantwell.”
Angela’s, Tony’s and Dan’s names now go forward for possible selection as Joint Cork Persons of the Year.