BLACK pudding or pig's trotters, Your Majesty?
Some of the country's culinary delights are to be laid on for Queen Elizabeth on her visit to Ireland next week when she tours the 18th Century English Market in Cork city centre on Friday, May 20.
The market is known as a treasure trove for foodies and is famed for staples such as pigs' trotters, 'drisheen' (a type of blood pudding), tripe, farmhouse cheeses, soda breads and virtually every type of fish.
The visit to the market -- which almost burned down 30 years ago -- is being described as the highlight of the queen's itinerary in Cork, where a street party will take place to honour her visit.
More than 25,000 people are expected to gather on St Patrick's Street, where locals will be given a chance to watch the royal proceedings on giant TV screens.
The city council last night described the street party as "a welcome gesture to the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in acknowledgement of the historical significance of the visit and the queen's generous decision to visit the city in her short stay".
The market will be officially closed to the public prior to and during the tour and only select media are being allowed in to witness the monarch's public walkabout.
But traders, all of whom have undergone detailed security screenings, are confident the queen and Prince Philip will sample some of the Irish delicacies on offer.
The market -- founded in 1788 -- now ranks as one of Cork's prime tourist attractions.
Meanwhile, the formerly conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf, whose names mean prince and handsome prince, will soon add Queen Elizabeth II to the long list of VIPs they have met in their short but remarkable lives.
The thriving 15-month-old pair from Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, have been invited to meet the queen by the Tyndall Institute in Cork, which also features on the queen's itinerary.
The queen is set to visit the research facility during her tour of Co Cork.
Hassan and Hussein and their parents Angie and Azzedine Benhaffaf will be among a select number of people who will meet the monarch on April 20.
Ahead of the queen's trip to Cork, she will get a chance to see a best-of-Irish fashion show at the National Convention Centre in Dublin on Thursday.
A striking basket weave mohawk headpiece will be viewed by the queen from among the items on show.
Galway-born Joanne Hynes collaborated with Connemara basket weaver Joe Hogan to create four headpieces for her autumn-winter 2011 collection.
The headpieces were designed specifically for Year of Craft 2011 which marks the 40th anniversary of craft in Ireland.
They were showcased at London Fashion Week in February, but now the queen will see them on show alongside fashion designed by Paul Costelloe and John Rocha.
But last night the basket headpiece was on show among a host of fashion talent from west of the Shannon at the stylish 'Glamour at the G' event in Galway's G Hotel.
Matt Doody, who recently won the Kerry Fashion Weekend's top award, unveiled his keenly awaited new collection at the hotel.
Doody, who dresses VIP clients like Amy Huberman and Kathryn Thomas, designed a bespoke, asymmetric, one-shoulder, high-waisted wrap evening dress exclusively for the event.
Money raised on the evening went to three local charities -- the NBCRI, Cancer Care West and the ISPCC.