“Is Our Building on Fire?”- Cork, Irel
Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
9Trip End Jul 21, 2011
After our two rousing nights in Dublin, we jumped on a bus to Ireland's second largest city, Cork. The bus ride from Dublin to Cork is around 3 ½ hours… or 4 ½ hours if your rookie bus driver hasn’t quite figured out his route yet. Cork looks an awful lot like Dublin with the exception that it is not as big and the view around Cork is exceptional. After arriving in Cork we checked into Sheila’s House hostel, which was very nice and then we went to see the city. This took about 2 hours by foot… Cork is not very large at all. The highlights include a nice shopping district, and many war memorials, where we looked for Meades and Murphys . Out of the estimated 60 people from Cork that fought in a war, we only found 1 Murphy and sadly no Meades, despite the name’s roots. From there we went back to our hostel to cook some pasta in our ridiculously large and well-equipped kitchen
The next morning, we planned on going to a local market to get some breakfast and then visit one of the area’s many castles. After waking and taking showers (no free breakfast L) we heard and noticed the fire trucks lining up outside of our building. We also noticed that the firemen were beginning to suit up for a full-fledged fire fight. Growing in interest, we stuck our heads out to hear the pleads of an elderly woman, as smoked poured from her window. This peaked our interest and now wondering if we should be concerned for our own safety we asked a passing fireman if we needed to evacuate our building. The fireman responded in what might as well have been Gaelic, although his general tone suggested we didn’t have anything to worry about. Then that same firefighter got into full gear, oxygen tank and all, and bravely charged into the building. At the same time, others started unrolling a large inflatable landing pad. Before heading out, we passed the smoke victims being treated in our lobby to ask the front desk if there was any cause for concern. The kind man informed us that the fire was nearly 3 doors down (our building was attached) and will not be a problem.
Reassured, we headed for one of the oldest public markets in the world
Once we arrived at our train stop we searched for any signs of a near-by castle… if it were not for the help of a passing local we would still be searching. It wasn’t until you reached a round-about , almost a mile down the road (still raining) that you found a sign pointing you in the right direction. Another two miles past the round-about we finally arrived at Barryscourt Castle, drenched. We warmed up by the fire with a cup of tea and a few rounds of rummy (Patrick now winning with a 400 point lead) while waiting for our tour. We found the castle to be fascinating. The mere fact that this building was already in ruins before the Mayflower hit Plymouth Rock puts things in an interesting perspective. Determined not to have to walk back to the train station in the rain, we analyzed our fellow tour members to see who would make the best candidate for a ride. The first group was a family of 7 who piled out of a 4 door compact car, so they were out. This left us with an interesting couple composed of a young, blonde twenty-something, and a fat, balding middle-aged man. Despite our kind gestures to take their picture, and always insisting that they go ahead of us, they didn’t warm up to us for a second
Along the way, we stopped in at a pub to find out the train schedule and grab a pint of Murphy’s. It was here that we made friends with Michael O’Brien and John O’Toole. We talked with them steady for nearly 2-hours with conversations ranging from the Irish potato famine to why Pink is better than Lady Gaga. Michael was retired and as far as we know, now a regular bar patron. He also finds time to make scale models of castles and collect keychains. John was… well a gambler of sorts and that’s all we really know for John. We struggled to understand him due to the fact his accent was over the top and he 'talked’ with an amazing ability to never move his teeth. We speculated that he was a retired ventriloquist. After we figured out the train schedule, we promised John to send him a keychain from our respected states and went on our way.
We loved our time in Ireland and were sad to leave. There seemed to be a strong association between the Irish and Americans. Everywhere we went the locals were curious to know where in the United States we were from and after finding out, rattled off all of the facts they knew about our areas. They were excited for us to be in Ireland and very welcoming. Our intertwined history gives the Irish a deep sense of connection to the United States. It was a great homecoming and we are interested to see what Paris has to offer!
Thank you loyal readers!
Ryan and Patrick