For fishmonger Pat O’Connell, it was like losing a friend. Corkman was busy serving customers at his stall in the English Market on Princess Street on Monday morning, but his mind was on the woman pulling her picture off the wall behind him, along with a stack of framed letters. “I am a little sad. I am really happy with her memories.”
Clients have been coming in all last week to talk to him about Queen Elizabeth II, but there’s nothing unusual about that. “This is every day for the past 11 years,” he laughed.
He joked that his wife wouldn’t bother putting a shrine on his tombstone. “You will only use my picture with the Queen.”
After the Queen’s visit to the market in 2011 – when he joked about his nervousness more than he had on his wedding day exactly 30 years ago, sparking laughter caught on camera – he kept in touch with the British monarch, exchanging messages over the years. Their friendship culminated in his visit to Buckingham Palace in 2014. “The last letter I got from her was two months ago,” he said, shaking his head at the strangeness of it all. “The Queen and the fishmonger – it’s strange.”
When 11am came, there was no chance for a moment of silence in the crowded kiosk, as customers were already queuing for prawns or monkfish. Instead, he was choosing to focus on “really happy memories of a wonderful woman, they weren’t what I expected, to be honest. I suppose when you look at them from afar you kind of think [of the institution as] Elite and you know, a stiff upper lip and all that. Then you meet this woman who is humble because she comes up with a great sense of humour, and then you are invited back to Buckingham Palace. This is not what I was expecting before.”
Her legacy is that she has “put the English market and Cork on the map, and has done so much, far more importantly, for Anglo-Irish relations. The year 2011 was the time when people decided to look forward rather than look back, because we have so much more in common than we do.” separates us.”
Stallholder and artist Paul Mulvany have a very different memory of her. He rolled what he still calls the “Queen’s Bike” in the English market on Monday.
He explained how, on the day of her visit to Cork in 2011, he rode another bike and left it unlocked on the bike rack at the Grand Parade. But when he came back that evening, the bike was gone. It was discovered that it had been removed by the Queen’s security staff, who decided “it was a bomb threat. They cut my bike in half with a grinder”. He later earned compensation for it, and bought the bike he still rides to work at the Rave Cave shirt stand today.
Although he’s not exactly a king, he doesn’t hold a grudge about it. “If I was at home, would I watch it on TV? I don’t know how to feel about it. I would probably watch it for the party. You have to hand it to them. They definitely know how to put on a good show.”
However, he planned to observe a minute’s silence at 11 am. “I would have done it anyway as a sign of respect regardless of who he is.”
Four years ago, he had the opportunity to meet Prince Charles and Camilla, now King Charles III and consort of the Queen. From the back of the store, he retrieved the baseball cap he had been wearing on Charles’ visit. It reads, “An angry old man.” Charles looked at me and said, ‘I know exactly how you feel. “
He has sneaky sympathy for the new king. “It must be a terrible business, to have to get up every morning and go out to meet and greet people.”
Everyone in the English market seems to have a story about the royals.
From the back of his booth, Belvelly Smoke House proprietor Frank Hederman pulled out a photo of the Queen eating smoked salmon at a lunch that Irish chef Richard Corrigan had prepared for her in 2006. Afterwards, he heard the Queen declared the salmon “exceptionally good.” “”.
Thinking of visiting her again, I felt so sad. I wouldn’t say a bad word about it at all, other than the good stuff. It was absolutely wonderful. She broke through several barriers
He’s still kicking himself because he forgot to show the picture while she was visiting in 2011, and that he never spoke to her. But he met Camilla in 2018. “She came straight up and said, ‘Frank baby, I heard your salmon is the best in the world.'” “
At his nearby booth, Coughlan Meats, Paul Murphy planned to observe a minute of private silence out of respect for the Queen at his booth at 11am. “Maybe I will personally think and sit still for a minute.
“Thinking of visiting her again, I felt so sad. I would never say a bad word about her, other than the good things. She was absolutely wonderful. Her visit broke many barriers.”
Murphy is the fourth generation of his family in the business and has been here for 64 years. While he did not speak to the Queen herself during her visit, “I had a good conversation with the Duke. I found him very pleasant. He was very funny.”
It’s off. “It might not go well now, but I’ll tell you anyway.”
He remembers Prince Philip gazing admiringly at the bread stall across the road. “The bread show was great. I thought he would say, ‘What a beautiful bread.’ But it turned out that something else caught his eye. “Oh,” said he, “what beautiful girls.” True to his name.
Not all of his clients were feeling the same way about the British royal family on Monday morning. He recounted a conversation he had with his longtime regulars earlier. I told her, ‘They’re frustrating Lizzie today. “It’s about time,” she says. “I’m sick to death of looking at her on TV.”
Venice Pvodzigina, who was at the market to do some shopping with her son, 18-month-old Ryan, was rushing home for the funeral on TV. She was confused and moved by the strength of the reaction in Britain. “It’s amazing how many people were expressing their respect, queuing in the street and everything.”
She is from Zimbabwe and was struck by the response as strange but touching. “I am a foreigner, so it was interesting to see how people feel about the kingdom and all that. It was nice to see how people liked it and everything.”
However, others were severely immune to the nostalgia and fest of the day. One of the boats shook its head vigorously and turned around as he approached it for comment.
“She died 11 days ago,” another man at another booth said impatiently when asked about the Queen’s death. He was here when I visited her in 2011 and met her, but he has nothing to add about her. “what do you want me to say?”
Tired of talking about her? “completely.”