'It’s sad and a bit of a shock': English Market traders and customers recall the late queen

'It’s sad and a bit of a shock': English Market traders and customers recall the late queen

A smiling Queen Elizabeth in the English Market during her visit to Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.

THE NEWS of the death of Queen Elizabeth II reached people in a range of ways on Thursday evening.

News filtered through to some people from a colleague at work, some people were listening to the radio in their cars and, for Alan Belmajdoub, he was at home on the couch when his little girl ran in to share the sad news with her dad.

“I was at home and my little girl Jenny ran in to give me a hug because the queen had died. Then I went in to watch the news and I had to explain to her what dying was.

“My wife and Jenny and I spent the night watching the news and we were explaining to her about royalty because she didn’t really get it apart from Disney characters.”

Mr Belmajdoub is chairperson of the English Market Traders Association and runs the Mr Bells stall, selling spices and ethnic foods.

He said someone passing on is always a sad affair.

“Its sad, it’s never nice for anyone to pass away. I think she carried herself with such dignity but she seemed normal. She was a queen but she seemed down to earth, a lovely lady.”

Margo Ann Murphy, who runs The Roughty Foodie stall in the market said the queen’s visit did great things for Cork.

Margo Ann Murphy of the Roughty Food stall at the market. Death of 96yo British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. Pic: Larry Cummins
Margo Ann Murphy of the Roughty Food stall at the market. Death of 96yo British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. Pic: Larry Cummins

“I was in work and someone shouted: ‘Sky News are outside’ and I didn’t know if it was about the queen or the cost of living and then I turned on the radio on the way home and I heard.

“I just think she was great for Cork. She was brilliant for tourism in Cork City. I thought she was a wonderful lady, no matter what your politics were.”

Discussing what it means for the queen to have passed on, Margo said it was the end of an era.

”There will never be anyone like her, her history, the way she served her country and, look, I don’t care what anyone says, she was brilliant for Cork, she just was.”

The English Market trader also said the queen looked like she was a wit in her own right.

“At the end of the day, don’t we all just crave normality and we just want to have a bit of craic and I’d say she was some craic by the smiles on her face in the English Market.”

Teresa Morkan, Tipperary

“I WAS at dinner with a group — we are on a four-day holiday tour — and it came up on the phone and we had a conversation about it.

“We were sad and a little bit shocked.

“She did herself proud when she visited Ireland and Cork. I have been to England for her jubilees and that, and my sister lives in London and I felt a bit of a connection to it.”

Alan Belmajdoub, English Market traders’ committee chairman:

“I WAS here the day the Queen visited in 2011. It was a brilliant day for the market.

“There were a lot of businesses that at the time were probably struggling at the time and it brought people back in to shop at the market — people who hadn’t been here in 10, 15 years... There was a fierce buzz on the day.”

Stephen and Julie Drakard, UK: Stephen:

“WE’RE on holidays doing the Wild Atlantic Way. We are spending one day in Cork and we heard about the English Market.

“We were in Galway when we heard [about the Queen’s death] in our B&B. It was kind of expected.

“Julie saw it on the phone and told me. It’s sad and a bit of a shock.”

Mary Rose, Coffee Central in the English Market:

“I MET the Queen at my stall in 2011. I have photos and everything, lovely memories.

“I was at home getting ready to go out when I heard the news — my husband rang me from downstairs. I was sad and when I came home last night I watched BBC until the programmes ended. She was selfless, she was a constant, she was there 70 years.”

Tim Mulcahy, Chicken Inn:

“I REMEMBER her visit in 2011, it was a great day overall. It was a bit tense in the morning, waiting for her arrival...

“Two of my five kids were in the market that day, 11 and 13, and we had all the staff in and the minute she saw people she was drawn towards us. She spotted Clonakilty pudding which is on sale in Harrods which she was well aware of and she took interest in that.”

Nora Cronin, Nora’s Hair & Beauty, Princes St:

“I WAS going home in the car from work when I heard and it was on the radio.The Queen was born in the same year as my own mother, 1926, and my mother passed away eight years ago so there was always that connection. I have family living in London so I’m very aware of the royal family. She’s going to be missed, she was such a nice lady.”

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