Having just recently returned from France I had a stop-in-your-tracks-and-do-a-double-take moment last Saturday when strolling through Cork city. I looked up and spotted a bar called Le Chateau. My tiny mind took a minute or two to register the coincidence and make the dislocation disappear.

Le Chateau had a plaque outside proudly proclaiming it was established in 1793 (34 years after the invention of Guinness) which must make it one of the oldest public houses in Cork, if not the whole of Ireland?

The exterior is quaint and indeed reminiscent of a french tavern but inside the pub had more in common with Dr Who’s Tardis, it was much bigger than you would expect and went quite far back. I hadn’t the time or inclination to sample any of the enticing beverages on sale but the customers sitting outside and watching the drizzle covered world pass by seemed happy enough (although online reviews report encounters with grumpy staff members – in Cork?). It did however leave me hankering for real French taverns of my acquaintance.

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