A happy & peaceful Christmas

Whether you be of any religion or none, may we wish all our customers & friends a very happy & peaceful Christmas and a healthy & prosperous New Year. Thank you for your support over the last 38 years (isn’t that scary!) and we look forward to seeing you again in 2016 ūüôā

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Oliver Plunkett St. : Diversity, History, Experience, Service

Jill : shopfrontAs you will all know by now, Household Linens have been open on Oliver Plunkett St. for 25 years since the May weekend. That certainly makes some of us feel just that little bit old(er) but we’re still a long way from being the oldest business on the street… Of course, we are trading in one of the oldest surviving buildings which was originally a brass foundry in the early 1800’s. We share that history with other local buildings – did you know that the G.P.O. was the site of the original Cork Opera House ?

robert-pulvertaft
Thankfully, gun cartridges are no longer for sale at this address !

 

ILN November 23, 1867
The original Cork Opera House on the site of the present G.P.O.

 

 

 

 

 

So much has obviously changed but the basic fabric of the street has stayed constant. The other constant is the unique nature of the ‘Merchants’ trading on Oliver Plunkett St. and surrounds… ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Over 250 businesses are currently plying their trade in and around this area and (nearly) all retain the Cork tradition of being indigenous, family owned and run. In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by multi-national conglomerates, it is this feature that gives Cork (and Oliver Plunkett St. in particular) it’s unique ‘flavour’ and ‘character’.¬†QUEEN IRL ENGLISH MARKET9What’s all this leading in to..? Well, the retail trade has suffered more than most in recent years as people, hit by the effects of the recession, have cut back on spending. A group of people have come together, led by Clodagh Daly & Valerie Finnegan-Cahill (of John Daly Opticians & Ikon Hair Style) and they have launched a new initiative aimed at revitalising this historic quarter to make it the ‘must see’ / ‘go to’ destination for shoppers. Think, if you will, of other famous streetscapes such as Chinatown or Bourbon Street or the colour of Las Ramblas…

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The energy of Chinatown
1-bourbon-street
The excitement of Bourbon Street
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The colour of Las Ramblas

 

With the imminent arrival of “One Albert Quay” at the eastern end of Oliver Plunkett St. (the new office block scheduled to open in Feb. 2016 is expected to employ 1,600 people) and the “Brewery Quarter” in the old Beamish & Crawford site at the western end, Oliver Plunkett St. is ideally placed to be the main fulcrum for these projects and the potential spin-off can only be imagined.¬†That’s the vision – it’s now down to the retailers themselves who, with the backing of the City Council, can make the “Plunkett Quarter” the envy of every other retailer in the¬†country¬†!

The Plunkett Quarter initiative can be contacted at                              oliverplunkettbrainstorm@gmail.com.

This Months Musings: December

Today we decorated the shop for Christmas; you’ll have to pop by and see our lovely window display. While planning our decorating we were discussing our favourite Christmas films and songs and it makes quite a list! So especially for Amy at Turn to the Music, and for everyone else who loves Christmas as much as we do, here are our lists:

Favourite Films and TV Specials

  • It’s A Wonderful Life, the old classic!
  • Box of Delights, a TV series from the early ’90s.
  • Carols from Kings, the famous choir from King’s College, Cambridge.
  • Prancer, in which a little girl tries to find the lost reindeer.
  • The Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Scrooged, with Bill Murray.
  • Scrooge (any version will do!)
  • Father Ted’s Christmas Special, in which Mrs Doyle gets a new tea-making machine.
  • The Vicar of Dibley
  • Home Alone 1
  • Groundhog Day (well it has snow..!)
  • Lark Rise to Candleford
  • Gavin and Stacey Christmas special
  • Die Hard 1 and 2 (well the 2nd one does have snow!!)
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • The Royle Family Christmas Special
  • The Snowman, also The Bear, a lovely animation by the same creators

This year, we’re also looking forward to the Downton Abbey and Dr. Who specials.

This Christmas season, for the first time ever, Laura is going to bake a Christmas cake, a light fruit one with icing on top. This is no small feat as Laura isn’t particularly interested in baking, but she felt it was time to step up and face the challenge. Nobody else in her family is making a cake this year, so no pressure! But if it’s a flop, there’ll be no cake this Christmas!!

Gemma, on the other hand, makes two puddings and a cake every year, thereby putting Laura to shame!! This year she also hopes to make gingerbread men, although by the time the puddings and cake are done, there’s a good chance she’ll have enough of the baking.

Anyway, to get ye all in the Christmas mood, here’s a nice festive video for you (see below). This is one of our favourite oldies, by Kay Starr.

May Musings

It’s the time of year when one or other of us is on a Spring break, and the fine weather means we’ve all been able to make the most of our free days, and our lunch breaks allow us the chance to stroll about town and soak up the sun. Come the evening, though, we’re still happy to get in some good television or cinema. Gemma’s latest big screen viewings were the latest Woody Allen flick, ‘You will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger’, starring Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins and Josh Brolin. This black comedy was entertaining enough, although the best laughs come from Lucy Punch as Charmaine, Hopkin’s new young wife. Not a match for older classic Woody Allen films, however.

Laura recently watched the ITV drama ‘Downton Abbey’, and found it to be very enjoyable. A number of us at Household Linens are fans and we’re looking forward to the second series. As is usual with British period dramas, there’s a number of familiar faces, among them Maggie Smith, as the snobbish Dowager, Countess of Grantham. Among our favourites are Brendan Coyle and Joanne Frogatt as John Bates and Anna, a hopelessly romantic pairing.

Laura, Joan and Gemma are off to the Everyman Theatre this Wednesday to see Edward Fox in ‘Trollope’ a one-man show in which Fox depicts the famous writer Anthony Trollope. Watch out for our reviews next month.

Gemma had a look around the renovated Christchurch building which now houses the Triskel, Corcadorca, the Black Mariah and Plugd Records. You can also go down to the underground crypt, which you can see from a viewing box. It’s interesting to read about Cork history as you wander around the venue. We’re particularly looking forward to the cinema screenings which will be starting up in May. We’d love to hear other people’s opinions of the new building; feel free to leave a comment.

March Musings..

Yup it’s March and we’ve been musing..a nice spot of alliteration there that only happens in March or May!

These past few weeks we’ve been chatting quite a bit about movies, particularly in¬†light of the recent Oscars. Quite a few of us saw The King’s Speech and we all agreed¬†that it was a very enjoyable film, and that Geoffrey Rush certainly deserved as much praise as Colin Firth for bringing such great humour to the story. Gemma can also recommend viewing both True Grit (watch it and ask yourself why Hailee¬†Steinfeld was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and not Best Actress?), and The Fighter, which boasts very impressive performances from both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Laura did see Black Swan but it definitely wasn’t a favourite of hers; The Kings Speech is her film of choice when it comes to recent releases.

Some of us are looking forward to¬†Edward Fox’s one-man¬†show, ‘Trollope’ which comes to the Everyman Palace in April. The Day of the Jackal star will be playing the part of novelist Anthony Trollope. No doubt we’ll be blogging our reactions once we see it.

Gardening without a garden

It’s also that time of the year when one or other of us are always on our Spring holiday week. Spring cleaning and trips to London are just some of the things on our agenda..

Laura would also like to take up some gardening, but is lacking one essential item…so any tips on non-garden gardening would be welcome. We’re thinking window boxes and watering cans!

More Musings..January 2011

Hello, World..Christmas and New Year was a busy time for all of us here. We’re well and truly into the New Year now and looking forward to the new challenges and surprises that await us. Something we have discussed in the past is the site 43Things, which is a good place to start if you’re looking to make some New Year’s Resolutions. It’s even more fun to browse other people’s lists of things they would like to achieve, whether it’s knitting a scarf or learning the tango.

Having never watched The West Wing when it aired on T.V., one of us here decided to borrow a boxset and came in the next day raving about how good it

Josh from The West Wing as played by Bradley Whitford.

is..needless to say we are all now OBSESESSED, and flying through the series like there’s no tomorrow. We are trying to figure out what makes Josh (Bradley Whitford) so attractive; any comment on this matter are welcome!

Gemma’s favourite episodes so far are ‘Noel’, and ‘The Stackhouse Filibuster’, while Laura really enjoyed ‘In Excelsis Deo’.

It’s a good time of year for getting into boxsets, with us all still in hibernation mode. And there’s plenty to see in the cinemas too, especially in the run-up to the Oscars season. We’re looking forward to The King’s Speech, Black Swan and the Coen Brother’s remake of True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges.

Doh, Reh , Me, Fah, Soh, La, Te, Doh....

Laura is continuing to study music this year. If anybody has ever studied music…”Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle” will mean something to you. You can hear Laura chanting this around the shop these days. Meanwhile Joe is learning how to play the guitar. Gemma’s current project is less musically inclined but exciting nonetheless as she is redecorating her bedroom…handy when you work in a bed-linen store!

November Musings…

November is drawing to a close, and this month saw another Cork Film Festival come and go. Gemma attended the opening film, Never Let Me Go, which was an adaptation of the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, who also wrote the well-known The Remains of the Day.¬† It stars Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield (the next Spiderman), as three friends who grew up together at an English boarding school of sorts. Why they are there and what their futures hold is something very out of the ordinary; you just have to go see the movie to find out. It’s a lovely film, with beautiful colours, but prepare yourself for sentimental moments.

This time of the year, we are inevitably turning our thoughts to Christmas, and we’ve been discussing what our favourite

Scrooge has to face the Christmas ghosts.

Christmas film is. The Muppets Christmas Carol is still very high up on the list, aswell as Prancer, It’s a Wonderful Life and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We all enjoy A Christmas Carol, but what version is another story. Aside from the obvious Muppet’s version, Gemma likes Scrooge (1951) with Alistair Sim, while Laura likes Scrooged (1988) with Bill Murray. Recently we both watched the Jim Carrey ¬†version of Disney’s A Christmas Carol, which was also fantastic, and wonderfully animated. It’s a tad scary for young children though..

Meanwhile favourite Christmas songs include Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland), Walk Out to Winter (Aztec Camera), Fairytale of New York (The Pogues), in fact any jingly Christmas song is acceptable! Another song which recently came to our attention is the Fleet Foxes song called White Winter Hymnal. It’s just such a magical tune, and the accompanying video is fascinating.

Christmas poems were also a topic for discussion. We like Robert Frost’s Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, and Patrick Kavanagh’s A Christmas Childhood. In case you’re not familiar with the Robert Frost poem, here’s a sample:

 

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Here’s a short film that we came across on Youtube, which is inspired by this poem. Enjoy!


In other news, Laura is looking forward to going to see Hairspray at the Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin next week and has been busy practising all the songs, so she’s well prepared. Gemma also purchased tickets for the Bon Jovi concert which takes places next June at the RDS. We’re also looking forward to seeing Damien Dempsey in Cyprus Avenue this December. Yum yum!