The coffee culture of Cork city during 2020 has thrived. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, people have been looking for ways to still casually meet up with family and friends. As an essential business, cafes and portable coffee stalls have popped up around the city. Brian came up with creating BORU as an organic mix of waiting to do something different and to be involved in the community.

The BORU building, on Brian Boru street, is a lovely combination of modern and historic. The old stone walls are reminder of the Victorian era and construction. Between him and his step father, they remodelled the place. They put in large South and West facing windows. The two windows give you a lovely birds eye view of what is happening around you on Brian Boru street.

BORU's sign and large window facing South.
BORU facing South


For a such small street, Brian Boru street has a lot of action. Of course, you have the regular professionals going to work or coming home. You have the students heading off to school or coming back home. During, a normal day, you have construction workers, tourists, and other people coming from the train station or going to the station. Now, with all these different types of people going to and from, you can throw in life.

Life has different meanings for each person. Grab a seat in BORU, in the afternoon and watch the show. Sunny days and Wednesdays seem to have a bit more action. Brain, enjoys watching the city come alive. He loves being part of people’s day to day interaction, which is very different from what he started out doing years ago.

Watching the world go by

Brian, started off as a painter. He was running a successful painting business; however, the long hours of working by himself gradually wore on him. Brain, missed the interaction with people and cooking.

He has had a passion and an interest in food for many years. As Brian, mentioned, ”I love being in the kitchen.” He loves knowing that he is providing quality food for those he is feeding. When he was in Thailand, he took up a three month cooking course. After coming back to Ireland, he made a change in careers.

Brain, got involved in the restaurant business. He started working at Starbucks as a barista for eight months. He enjoyed the hustle and learned many practical things that helped him get his next job working with Perry Street Cafe.

Perry Street Cafe, is a popular cafe in Cork, city. Perry Street cafe itself has three locations: Perry Street Cafe, in the city centre, North Point, in Blackpool, and Ringaskiddy. Brain took on a managers role, which resulted in him working long hours and in the various locations. He loved the learning curve, the responsibilities, and the involvement in the community. Regardless, he still wanted something to call his own.

Like Cork, BORU evolved and became organically possible. He talked with his father-in-law about opening a cafe. They both saw the potential of opening up a cafe on Brain Boru street. BORU is in perfect location to have a quick chat and to recaffinate yourself.

You need coffee to make a cafe a cafe. Brian, knows the owners of one of the roasters in town: SOMA Coffee Company, on 23 Tuckey Street. He has watched SOMA’s development from being a cafe to becoming a flow blown coffee roaster supplying coffee to various cafes and businesses in Cork, around Ireland, and to places in Europe. He knew that SOMA provides great service and quality beans, which has resulted in SOMA becoming a popular destination for coffee.

Flat White SOMA coffee

Since BORU has opened, which has been about five months, the cafe has become popular. The cafe has already established a regular clientele base. People love the bright space and the interaction with Brain. As Brain said, “It is all about the customer care. You need to engage with customers and to give each person his/er time to interact and engage with you.”

He goes on to emphasis the importance of remembering people’s names and interests. People want to feel unique and that you are listening to him/er. Essentially, you want to provide that space were a person can come in and feel like they are at home and that s/he belongs. This little recipe will lead to customers coming back and to a memorable experience.

When asked about what makes Cork special or unique, Brain was quick to give some useful insight. First, Cork was established as an island port. The port itself is one of the deepest natural ports in the world. So, the seafaring trade grew naturally, which led to the city growing and developing organically. Initially, the English have had a significant role in the city’s development and trade. As Brain said, “You can see the English’s role in the architecture and development of the city.”

Front Window facing West. The old stone wall mixed with a modern look.

As Cork continues to grow, we look forward to seeing how Brian and BORU will organically develop and change. Brian and his staff are especially warm hearted and welcoming. Drop in for a coffee and a chat. His flat whites are particularly popular. Make sure to check-out BORU on IG and Facebook. Their social media accounts have the most up to date information and specials.