Our core value; Equality

The Quay Co-op was founded in 1982 as a community project by a collective effort of feminist, lesbian & gay, environmental and other alternative groups and individuals. Throughout the years The Quay Co-op has provided a local base for the politics of social movements which is as needed today as it was in the 1980s when Irish society, and its economy, seemed to be going backwards rather than forwards.

Throughout the decades we have seen many one-time hopes become a reality and into the future, we still retain the values of equality that seemed so radical back in 1982. Today we have new campaigns to fight so that future generations may enjoy this planet respectfully.

The Quay Co-op is a wonderful story of vision, determination, hard work, cooperation and a belief that change is possible… little did we realize in the early 80ies as unemployment and poverty bit deep into the fabric of Cork and the poorer communities of the Northside, that new shoots were rising…rising at at city centre level in the Quay Co-op, and rising and growing in the northside of the city, through the work of the Cork Anti Poverty Resource Network . Little did Sean O Brien (rip) and Sile and I realize, that as we reached hands of solidarity and practical support across the city, linking communities on the margins of the city, that both organisations would stand the test of time… and define reality and our world from the Inside Out…”nothing about us, without us”. I am very proud indeed to have been among the first 7 signatories to apply for legal status for the Co-op…may it, and all of the Community Activism we continue to engage in, bear fruit as humanity reaches for higher levels of awareness and consciousness.

In an organic Nutshell:

We are a workers co-operative in Cork that is not only a vegetarian food, health & restaurant business, but is also a space in which many of the social justice campaigns of recent decades were developed and fought. The Quay Co-op was founded in the early 80s for different groups to meet to explore issues such as gay rights, the 1983 anti-abortion amendment, the Criminal Justice Bill and the first Divorce Referendum. Our founders realised that they would need to become commercially viable in order to fund & maintain the original base on Sullivans Quay. To this end, our founders set up a food co-op, a health shop and a vegetarian restaurant.
Over the years a balance always has been found between the campaigning work in which many members were involved and with the day to day work needed to create the funds to keep us up and running. In the years since The Quay Co-op was established, Ireland has undergone massive social and a cultural shift and The Quay Co-op has played an important role in driving those changes. We retains strong interest in food politics which we believe to be the next big fight and we are leaders in the provision of organic vegetarian/vegan wholefood for the city and beyond.
There are just over 50 people working at The Quay Co-op and today it includes our original site in Cork city centre with Vegetarian Deli-Cafe, Health, Wholefood & Eco-Living Store, In-House Bakery (yum!) and our vegetarian food production business. HQ on Sullivan’s Quay is also home to Cork’s first Vegetarian Restaurant which has recently been refurbished and reimagined as ‘Upstairs at The Co-op’. We also have satelite Health, Wholefood & Eco-Living stores in Ballincollig and Carrigaline, along with our Online Store and delivery service by electric van.

The Quay Co-op
Pride in where you Shop


Art Exhibition

View the striking work of Nollaig Dunphy in her art exhibition Upstairs at The Co-op. To learn more, click below:

Our YouTube Channel

Follow Our Story as it unfolds…

Our Green Policy

At the Quay Co-Op, in edition to the past four decades of selling natural eco products & promoting a vegetarian lifestyle, we are always striving to utilise fully sustainable sources & packaging. We review this regularly, and try to push forward with new innovations at all times. As you can imagine, this is always a work in progress. We are constantly placing this on the agenda with our suppliers. We welcome ideas, so please feel free to drop us a line to us on the contact page.


Our food is vegetarian and vegan, and it is sourced locally where possible. We do not use genetically modified produce, and again where possible, we use organic produce in our cooking. We only use free range eggs.


We have made a commitment to reducing our impact on the environment. We encourage customers to bring their own bags when shopping, and those we sell are 100% biodegrable. All our takeaway containers are fully compostable. Our own brand goods are in recyclable packaging.  We are currently researching a move to glass containers for other fresh foods made in house. Many of our suppliers have environmentally sound packaging, including bamboo and potato starch, which often looks like plastic. We are not there yet though, and will continue to push progress.

Energy & Transport

You may have seen our new deliveries van zipping around town. We recently purchased an electric van which is far more environmentally sound and almost silent! We are also looking at changing our lighting to LED which is kinder to the environment.

Recycle In-Store

We have an extensive range of Ecover and Sonett products at our Refill station; including washing up liquid, fabric conditioner, laundry and dishwashing liquids, hand soap and toilet cleaner. We separate and recycle our waste across all parts of the shop, café and restaurant.