Cork Heritage Open Day 2016

Cork Heritage Day 2016

A entire day dedicated to the national historical and artistic heritage of Cork will be held on the 20th of August 2016.

Over 42 buildings will open their doors to the public on this day only. Cork City Hall, Freemason’s Hall, Cork Opera House, Elisabeth Fort … are only few of the amazing buildings our beautiful city of Cork has to offer. Not to be missed!

A series of guided walking tours, heritage events, exhibitions, talks and children’s events will also take place.  All events are free.

For further information please visit the website

The full list of events can be find here: Cork Heritage Open Day Brochure 2016


Digital Marketing

Does anyone understand digital marketing? The answer is no, because no one understands what works and what doesn’t work or why it works or why it doesn’t work. We have an understanding of the mechanics of digital marketing, but it is the sort of subject that would take a lifetime of learning, understanding and constant education because the techniques and tools are forever changing along with the customers. The customer is changing, they are wiser than before, more aware and able to communicate more directly that before. And this will continue to be the case even more so into the future.

JOHN_LEWIS_Christm_3486537bJohn Lewis (retail outlet) has found a formula that works for them. They have developed a formula of telling a story , family, giving, caring, love etc. People love a story, whether they are looking at a cave wall thousands of years ago, told it in person or reading it in a book, some stories we can heard a hundred times and they never get old. We are storytelling people and look to share our experiences of life through the medium. Video is just a different way of doing the same thing we have been doing for thousands of years, telling a story, start, middle and end,  some make us laugh, some cry, some scare us or excite us and some make us think about the world. The important thing is that it makes us feel something .

New media means that the customer can now communicate with the company. Communication is the main point, communication about your product or service, and now the marketer has a direct line to the customer to know what they think, whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, that depends on the feedback.

Digital marketing is interesting because it is changing all the time, the different methods are changing. It is communicative, social thing, it’s personal while being mass audience. We like the idea of the changes that will come and where that will bring us. Monetisation is not the only driver for social media, people power means that popularity moves and shifts over time (remember Bebo), Snapchat, Instagram while popular to the masses will be useless to the marketer if it can’t be monetised. Different social media apps are popular for different respective age groups.

Of course Facebook is the ultimate prying eye integrating into our lives and knows everything about you, and we willing to give up the information and surrender to the constant questions Facebook asks of us, our favourite music/football team/food etc. it wants to know our friends, invade our phonebook, your email address etc. all in aid of more knowledge.



The traditional above the line and below the line have been ripped apart by digital marketing, before mass advertising was the domain of the rich and bigger companies on TV, newspapers etc. now the small business can take out adverts on Facebook, Google ads, Twitter etc. and now for a much smaller budget can create and edit adverts to suit a more targeted audience. Is there such a thing as above and below the line advertising anymore? Or are the differences gone thanks to digital marketing. I don’t think anything is gone, we now simply have marketing across the board and in order to have a rounded campaign you may need the different methods at different time of the year to target different audience. Different products or services come across better on different mediums; a holistic approach may be the best method, a see what works for your company over time. The future is bright for digital marketing as more people move their lives on-line and therefore can be targeted through different methods and I think in the future the methods will get broader, more complex, more detailed and more personal.

rs_1024x759-160408155358-1024.Cookie-Monster-iphone-tt-040816aDigital marketing and social media is like the Cookie Monster, always hungry for more. We keep feeding the monster and it always wants more. It doesn’t matter whether you are feeding a crumb, one cookie or a pack, social media demands more informatio
n and take as much as you are will to give, the page is never full and the pen never runs out of ink, a remorseless hunger for information and our willingness to give it out. The question is, are we the cookie? or the monster? We are both, we feed and are fed. We give the cookies to different social medium with our own information and we are monster as consumers.

Our E-Learning Platform

There are a lot of very useful apps you can use for helping you to improve your English. Even ten minutes a day will make a big difference to your progress. Apps are a helpful aid for learning English in a structured manner and allow you to learn whenever and wherever you have a spare moment.

While nothing beats the experience of sitting in a Cork English College class room learning English, building for your future by learning a new skill. We here at CEC believe that learning shouldn’t be confined to just the classroom. We have been teaching English since 1978 and we strive to be innovators and industry leaders in education.

In keeping with this theme and being the only Quality English college in Cork, here at CEC we pride ourselves on providing our students with the best possible English language learning experience. We are always looking for new ways to help deliver that experience and are very proud to offer our students access to our new E-Learning platform.

  • E-learning is an online education centre which supports your learning in the classroom and helps you to make the most of your language skills.
  • It can also be used to help you prepare for your course here at CEC as once you register with us, within 24 hours you have access to our E-learning platform.
  • Not only do you have access before the beginning of your course you have total access during your time with us and three months after your time with us has come to an end.
  • Our platform provides you with a structured learning plan that you can opt to follow after you finish your course with us.
  • We also use the E-learning platform so you get more class time when you arrive on your first day here in CEC.
  • Once registered with us we ask students to carry out their level test on line to ascertain their level so that students can be placed in classes (max 10 per class) matching their level.
  • This means that when you pay for general English 20 hours class time, you get general English 20 hours class time.

Front Desk




GEL – download the app for your CEC E-Learning account, available on Android and Apple. You can continue with your study plan or do the assignments your teacher sets you, request appointments or check out the school activities. E-learning is perfect for anyone who wants to begin a self-study programme even before they arrive in Cork. Students who appreciate the freedom to access extra practice activities whenever and wherever they would like. Language learners who want a specific exercise to help improve their reading, listening or grammar. Those who want to continue self-study after they leave CEC. Students who want to truly maximise their language learning.

GeL:Aims English Grammar

Gel: Aims English Grammar is one of the most comprehensive grammar study and practice apps available. With content covering beginner through upper-intermediate (CEFR A1-B2), it is a great English reference library to help you study or prepare for exams: IELTS, TOEIC, Cambridge exams such as FCE, CAE, CPE or Oxford University Press placement tests

Other apps that may complement our apps would be:



Price: Free


The focus of this app for learning English is English words. It uses some creative, funny ways to help you remember what words mean. Interestingly, Memrise courses are designed by users. So you can see how other English learners learnt these same words you’re learning. With Memrise, you have a fun and easy way to remember words that seem foreign to you. Also, you can also keep track of what you’ve learnt. This way, if you forget what a word means, or forget what words you’ve learnt, you can just go back and have a look.


iOS /Android

Price: Free


Duolingo is designed to help you learn English quickly. In each lesson, Duolingo teaches you about seven new words based on a topic – like education, school, science and adjectives. There are exercises you have to do in each lesson. For example, you might have to match new words with a picture, you might have to translate an English phrase back to your native language, and you might have to repeat an English phrase. One of the best English language apps today – high recommended for English beginners.

Please download our apps for an added experience while studying at Cork English College.



Preparing for IELTS, E-learning feature

Our CEC E-Learning Platform is one of the newest features in a long line of innovative ideas from IELTS_logoCEC. We provide students with a 24/7 service to help them improve their English and gain even more from their experience in CEC.

As we are always looking to lead the way in teaching English Ireland  I am writing to you now to let you know about our latest feature on the platform. This is our brand new Prepare for IELTS feature.  We are the only IELTS Exam centre in the south of Ireland If any of your clients intend to take the IELTS exam, this recent addition to the e-learning platform will be of significant interest to them.

  • A unique diagnostic system which analyses student performance in reading and listening and offers targeted work based on their weaknesses.
  • 30 full mock exams of materials: 15 Academic and 15 General.
  • 1,400 model writing answers and a structured planning system which trains the student to structure their answer and then compare and contrast it across multiple IELTS bands.
  • Speaking practice which offers interactive exercises which analyse real-life student performance in speaking exams, raising awareness of pitfalls and opportunities.
  • Interactive videos to systematically increase exam awareness and training strategies.
  • A student tracker page displaying student progress visually in terms of both paper type and skills.

Christmas Traditions in Ireland

Candle on the window

How do you celebrate Christmas in your country? Here are a few Irish Christmas traditions!


The Late Late Toy Show

A long- standing Irish Christmas tradition, the Late Late Toy Show is seen by many as the beginning of Christmas. The show is broadcast on Irish television at the beginning of December every year and it is a night that Irish families gather around their front rooms with excited children who are allowed to stay up late on this ‘special’ night.  The show features children from all over the country who have the chance to test and review new toys on the market. Lots of children also perform songs and other talents on the night.


Christmas Greetings

From early December, you will probably hear people wishing each other a ‘Merry Christmas’ or the Irish version ‘Nollaig Shona Duit’ which is pronounced as ‘null-ig hun-a dit’. Impress your Irish friends and give it a go!


The Candle in the Window

During December, you may notice that many houses in Ireland have a lighted candle or candle decoration in the window. This tradition began as a symbol for welcoming Mary and Joseph as they traveled and sought shelter. It also signified a safe place for priests to perform mass as during the Penal Times this was not allowed.



Traditionally, decorations are put up on 8th December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Most households will have a Christmas tree decorated with lights, tinsel and baubles, a holly wreath on the front door and other green, red and gold decorations scattered around the house. People originally started putting holly wreaths on doors as holly was the one plant that flourished at this time of year, meaning that even the poor could decorate their houses at Christmastime.


Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve

This is a huge social gathering where family, friends, and neighbours come together and celebrate Christmas. Christmas carols will usually be sung by a choir who are often accompanied by live music.  The tradition of midnight Mass in Ireland is a great place to catch up with old friends and family who may have come home to celebrate Christmas.


Christmas Morning Swim

A Christmas tradition that is only for the bravest of souls, the annual Christmas morning swim is something that has been very popular in Ireland for many decades. At the Forty Foot swimming area near Dun Laoghair  in County Dublin, large numbers brave the cold weather and form an orderly queue to jump into the very cold Irish Sea. Many people who take part are also raising money for various charities.


The Panto

An annual outing for many families, the Christmas Pantomime is a show that children and parents alike look forward to all year. Centred around a well-known story or fairy tale, the ‘Panto’ as it is called usually involves lots of music, laughter and audience participation. A combination of slapstick comedy and topical humour means that the Panto can be enjoyed by the grown-ups just as much as the children!


Christmas Dinner

Probably the biggest meals you will eat all year, the typical Irish Christmas dinner consists of roast turkey, stuffing, ham, gravy, and vegetables such as brussel sprouts, peas and carrots and finished off with typical Christmas deserts such as pudding or trifle, a layer of spongy jelly with custard and cream. Most families cook so much food that there is enough food left over to be reheated again the following day, St Stephen’s Day and you will also probably be offered a turkey sandwich in every house you go into for days afterwards!


Women’s Little Christmas (Nollaig na mBan)

The 6th January, or the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorates the arrival of the three Kings or Wise Men at the crib. It is seen as the last day of Christmas in Ireland and is the time when all seasonal decorations are usually taken down. Doing it any earlier or later will bring bad luck, so the superstition goes, unless you leave them up for a full twelve months!

This day is also known as Women’s Little Christmas or ‘Nollaig na mBan’ pronounced ‘null-ig nu mon’. Traditionally, the woman of the house was given a day off after the twelve days of cooking and acting the hostess. Instead, the men would take over family responsibilities while the women went out with their friends. This still happens today and is probably the only day of the year when bars and restaurants are full of groups of women with very few men to be found. See you out there girls!


Whether you are in Ireland or elsewhere this festive season, the team at CEC would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy and Peaceful New Year!

We re-open for classes on 4th January 2016, see you all next year!

Tim’s intern experience at CEC

Read about Tim’s intern experience at CEC here. We miss you Tim, especially for all the tall jobs!!

Tim - Intern at CEC

My name is Tim and I started my experience in the college on the 21st of september because this internship was a voluntary part of my apprenticeship in wholesale and foreign trade here in germany. I was a student at the CEC for one week and started to work here immediately afterwards. I had no expectations because this internship was nothing like my job in germany but it was one of the best experiences i ever made.

Everyone was friendly and they made sure i felt comfortable all the time. I had a lot of different tasks during my four weeks at the college from opening buildings to help create the certificates for the students. I worked in a great team with three more interns and we had to split up the daily work between us equally. We had to do tasks for the academic office and the reception as well. We had to develop organisation skills and to be part of a team.There were of course a few routine administrative duties but every day was different because there was a wide spectrum of tasks.

My colleagues were really wonderful and they were the best part of this internship, because they made it really easy for me to settle in and really difficult for me to leave.

This experience will help me in my future life for sure and I am really grateful that i had this opportunity to work at CEC.

Tim Efken, Germany

Get you CEC experience started today!
Email or call us on 021-4551508, we’re happy to help!

Christmas in Cork

10 Things to Do before you leave Cork

Are you going home for Christmas? Here is a few suggestions of things to do before you leave Cork!

  1. Fota Wildlife Park & Fota House and Gardens

FOTA Wildlife Park
Unleash your wild side at Fota Wildlife park; take a stroll alongside the several species of animals roaming freely around the park, grab a coffee in the park café or hop on the train around the park if you are feeling lazy. Don’t forget to take a walk around Fota House and Gardens, lose yourself in the grandeur of this beautiful regency style house and gardens, and it’s Free!!


  1. Kinsale and Charles Fort

If you love food then this is the place to be! Kinsale is often hailed as the ‘foodie’ capital of Ireland, boasting numerous eateries that offer all types of food at every price point. As it’s on the coast, Kinsale is especially famous for seafood so try a seafood chowder, a plate of oysters or a traditional Fish ‘n Chips. If you fancy some fresh air head over to Charles Fort, just 3km from Kinsale village. As one of the largest military installations in the country, Charles Fort has been associated with some of the most momentous events in Irish history. It is also a great place for taking photos of the spectacular views over the bay or even a picnic if the weather is good!


  1. The Comedy Club

This is the place to be if you fancy a fun evening out! Put your level of English to the ultimate test- take a trip to Cork’s famous Comedy Club on Coburg Street and see how many of the jokes you can understand! This small venue has been called the ‘best comedy club in Ireland’ by famous comedian Tommy Tiernan and is the perfect place to forget your troubles and ‘have a laugh’ as the Irish say!


  1. Weekend Farmers Markets

Farmer Market
A weekend tradition for many, the Irish farmers markets have become even more popular in recent years. Soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the music, taste local produce and practise your English all at the one time! Douglas Farmers Market is on every Saturday from 10am -2pm and Blackrock Farmers Market in on Sundays 10am- 2pm.


  1. Inchydoney Beach and Hotel

Blow away the cobwebs on Inchydoney beach, just a few minutes drive from the beautiful town of Clonakility in West Cork. After a bracing walk on the beach, pop in to the hotel bar and warm up with a pot of Irish tea or some of the delicious food on the menu. Even the views from the bar are breathtaking!



  1. Curraheen Greyhound Track

Greyhound racing
If you fancy a night with a difference, check out Curraheen Greyhound Track and try your luck. You can place a bet and cheer on you dog, you might even win some money! Or simply soak up the atmosphere in this wonderful venue and get a taster of the old Irish tradition of dog racing!


  1. UCC and the Glucksman Museum

Open to the public and free of charge, UCC is home to one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Cork. The beautiful stone-faced quadrangle ‘The Quad’  was built in the 1840’s. The style of this building has been referred to as Perpendicular Gothic, Tudor Gothic and Victorian Gothic. But make sure you don’t walk through the centre of  The Quad lawn, it’s bad luck unless you have just graduated!

While you are there, make sure you take a trip into the Glucksman Gallery, a beautiful example of modern architecture which is in direct contrast to the traditional style of The Quad. Exhibitions change all the time so its always dropping by to see what’s new.


  1. Cork on Ice

Cork on Ice
In the run up to Christmastime, Cork on Ice (next to Mahon Point) is a must for many Corkonians. Get your skates on and show off those skills (or hold on to the sides and drag yourself along like a lot of people!). Either way, give it a go and get into the Christmas spirit!


  1. The Big Ferris Wheel

Ferry Wheel Cork
As part of the Christmas celebrations, the Grand Parade is the temporary home of the Big Ferris Wheel. What better way to see the city than from the top?! But make sure you wrap up, it’s chilly at the top!


  1. The Pub

Pub Night Pub Night
After all that activity, what better way to warm up than in one of the city’s traditional pubs? If you want to see a ‘real’ Irish pub, we recommend The Oval Bar on South Main Street, The Mutton Lane Inn just off Patrick’s Street or The Hi-B across from the Post Office on Oliver Plunkett Street. Just make sure you don’t use your mobile phone in The Hi-B, they’re banned so that people actually have to TALK to each other. Lots of practising your English there then!!!



The History of Halloween

Celtic cross

Did you know that the now-popular Halloween festival is actually over 2,000 years old? The Celts, who lived in Ireland, the UK and northern France used to celebrate their new year on November 1st . The last day of October marked the end of summer and the beginning of the cold, dark winters, a time which often brought death to families through illness. People believed that the boundary between the living and the dead became blurred on the night before the 1st of November. On this night, they believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth to cause trouble for the living and destroy crops. For this reason, they celebrated what was then called ‘Samhain’, a word that is still used in the Irish language today. Celts thought that the presence of otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids (Celtic priests) to make predictions about the future and so it was common for fortune telling to take place on this night. This was something that people often found to be a comfort during the long, dark winters.

Celebrations also involved huge bonfires, when people would gather to burn crops and animals as a sacrifice to the spirits. This was also when the tradition of wearing costumes started, as people would dress up to ward off the spirits of the dead.

Many years later, in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III decreed that November 1st would be All Saints Day, the day to honour all saints and martyrs. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later became known as Halloween. By the 9th century, when Christianity had started to spread to Celtic lands, the traditions of ‘Samhain’ and Halloween started to blend together.

Over time, Halloween festivities have evolved into the celebrations we know today. Children and adults dress up in ‘scary’ costumes and often hold social gatherings with Halloween games for the children. Children go from door to door saying ‘Trick or Treat’, hoping to receive sweets, chocolates and nuts from the houses they call to. The ‘trick’ is a (normally idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given to them. In the UK and Ireland, the tradition of going house-to-house collecting food at Halloween goes back at least as far as the 16th century. In 19th century Britain and Ireland, there are many accounts of people going house-to-house in costume at Halloween, reciting verses in exchange for food, and sometimes warning of misfortune if they were not welcomed. While going house-to-house in costume has remained popular, the custom of saying “trick or treat” has only recently become common.

In Ireland, most households still have a ‘barmbrack’, a special bread that is made for Halloween. Barmbrack is traditionally baked with various objects inside the bread and is still used as a kind of fortune telling game.  In the past, the barmbrack would contain a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. Depending on the item that a person received in their slice of the bread, there was a different meaning. If the person received the pea, it was believed that they would not marry that year; the stick, they would have an unhappy marriage; the cloth or rag, they would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, they would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be wed within the year. Nowadays, the typical barmbracks still contains a toy ring which signifies marriage in the near future.

So there you have it, Halloween actually started here! Will you celebrate Halloween this year? Wear your costume to school this Friday and give your classmates a scare!!!!

The CEC Halloween Party is on Friday night so come along and ‘get in the spirit’!

Cork Guinness Jazz Festival 2015

Guinness Cork Jazz 2015

Are you going ‘Jazzing’ this year…?

Ireland’s biggest Jazz Festival, the Cork Guinness Jazz Festival, takes place this year between 22nd and 26th October 2015. The Festival has been running since 1978 and in that time has attracted more than 1 million visitors to the city. This year, over 40,000 people are expected to fill the city’s bars, restaurants, cafés, galleries, hotels and guesthouses, all in search of that ‘Cork Jazz’ experience.

With more than 1000 musicians from 30 countries performing in over 80 venues, this year’s festival is sure to be vibrant, energetic and dynamic. In the past, well-known musicians and singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Hancock have played at this festival on the River Lee. This year, a carefully selected mix of musicians will see the 80 venues at bursting point as they fill our ears and hearts with an eclectic variety of music. While Jazz music is the main focus of the festival, there is a selection of different types of artists that will satisfy everyone’s musical taste buds.

Acts this year include Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow, Stacey Kent, Bob Geldof & the Boomtown Rats, The Drifters, Peter King & Urban Jazz, Booka Brass and The Coronas to name but a few. A full list is available on

If it is your first time at the Cork Guinness Jazz Festival, The Metropole Hotel comes highly recommended as the perfect place to get your first taste of what it’s all about. The epicentre of the Jazz Festival (and where it all started), The Metropole opens several rooms for the weekend, each one featuring a different band or type of music.

Several other events are taking place across the city such as free workshops and masterclasses in the state-of-the-art Cork School of Music, Rock and Groove Workshops, Family Jazz Concerts and Singers Open Mic Sessions.

If you don’t have time to go to one of the venues, you won’t miss the music as even the streets of  Cork fill with music for the weekend.  A special outdoor stage will be set up in the Opera House Plaza and four street bands are set to play on the streets of the city over the weekend. While swaying to the music you can grab a coffee and a bite at the outdoor food market on Emmett Place. Or jump on the free Jazz Bus Tour and take in the sights to the sound of a top European marching band! With so many free and reasonably priced musical events taking place, there is no excuse not to get out there and go ‘jazzing’!

So get out there and enjoy it!!!!

Jazz at CEC

2014 Jazz session at CEC.

Ciao for now Lily!

Another one of our fantastic interns, Lily Sobrero, finished up recently. Read about her experience with us here!

CEC Internship

My name is Lily and I began my experience in the college 12 weeks ago because I got a scholarship for a post-diploma work experience. I spent my first two weeks in the college as a student then I started working and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I did not have any expectation, I wanted to work giving my best, to learn as much as possible and of course to practice my English and improve my fluency.

First of all I have been guided and accompanied by the Academic Team and the Reception staff, they have been patient and helped me to get used to the working routine.
Working for the College I learned how to organise the amount of daily work managing with emergencies, problems and last minute requirements. What I enjoyed the most was learning new tasks during the internship. Indeed I carried out jobs for the Academic department and for the Reception as well, I took responsibilities for the daily post, the certificates, the student cards and the books. I achieved organisation skills, stored files in the “Dark side”, opened buildings and even prepared the coffee. I worked at Reception as well and it was a great experience learning how to deal with the customers’ requirements, answering the phone and helping the staff.

The most important element that made my experience so remarkable is the hospitality and the availability of all the staff, their way to be so friendly with me helped me a lot to settle in. Alternating with hardworking moments there were relaxed situations for a laugh or a joke and I believe it is the best ambience to work in.