Friday 15 December 2017

Cork fishmonger's net profit up after Queen's visit put his plaice on the map

Queen Elizabeth II meeting fishmonger Pat O’Connell at The English Market in Cork city in 2011
Queen Elizabeth II meeting fishmonger Pat O’Connell at The English Market in Cork city in 2011

Gordon Deegan

The queen's laughing fishmonger said his iconic photo with the British monarch has thrown up a phenomenon of daily hordes of 'snap happy' tourists at his stall who don't buy any of his fish.

Pat O'Connell starred in the most celebrated image of Queen Elizabeth II's visit here in 2011 and the moment continues to be recalled daily at his O'Connell's Fishmongers in the English Market in Cork city.

Mr O'Connell was commenting on new accounts showing that accumulated profits at Kay O'Connell Ltd increased from €707,064 to €791,654 in the 12 months to the end of June 30 last.

Asked how often tourists take photos of him at the stall, Mr O'Connell said: "All day long, every day.

"It gets absolutely insane some days," he added. "The bigger picture is that it is bringing business to the city and tourists to the city and the image has put Cork on the map in a lot of ways."

Mr O'Connell said: "Small little groups are no problem. If you are not too busy, at least you can talk to them. The big problem for the market is when you have two busloads of around 100 people coming in and it impedes on your own customers.

Mr O'Connell said: "We don't have a problem with tourists but we do have a problem when there is 60 of them arriving at the one time and they are all standing together and your local customer can't get at the counter and they are snap snap snapping away.

"It is something we are going to have to address going forward."

Mr O'Connell said the publicity arising from the image of him laughing with the British monarch "has never done anything for business, but it has done an awful for tourism an awful lot for Cork city".

He added: "There are a huge number of tourists that come in but they don't buy fish."

On his business's current fortunes, Mr O'Connell said: "There is a turnaround thank God and now it is a matter of driving it forward."

He said: "We don't cater for tourists. It is a local market and local market produce and that is what we are all about.

Mr O'Connell added: "I have been reared and brought up in the market and understand the ethos and culture of the market and I would be very slow to go down that road. It is something very special."

Irish Independent

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