Cork, Ireland – August 18-20, 2008: DAY ONE
Our Ryanair flight to Ireland was comfortable and on time this time (as opposed to the one leaving Germany) and as usual, not one to be a great chatty travel companion, Matt was asleep as soon as they started the engines and barely lifted off the ground.
Not one to let a photo opportunity pass me by I decided to document what it’s like to travel with Matt on an airplane by taking photos much to the amusement of the lady across the aisle from us. He didn’t even flinch when they came around with the snack cart either. That should say something. I mean what man doesn’t wake up when there’s food involved?
A few minutes before landing the clouds parted just enough to give us a view of Ireland below us and then the view made way for clouds and rain as we landed. At last I would be visiting the place where my mother’s family came from…County Cork, Ireland. Unfortunately not much is known about our family when they were in Ireland but I wanted to feel the vibes of my Irish side in person and at last that was about to happen.
After landing we got our luggage and headed to the airport connection to Sheila’s Hostel in downtown Cork where we were staying. We were let off at the bus stop and told to walk to the next corner, York Street, and turn left and that Sheila’s was at the end of the street.
Turning on to York Street we were faced with a steep incline of a street that reminded us of the streets of San Francisco except this time we had baggage!! We both took a deep breath and hiked up the hill leg muscles screaming the whole way.
As we came to the top of the hill we saw Sheila’s right to the right of us in all its blue glory. At last we had arrived and the hard part was over. Leaving on Wednesday would be all down hill. Checking in they greeted us with lovely Irish hospitality and informed us our room was 305 and it was a private room as we had requested.
Taking our room key we headed to our home for the next two days and discovered that 305 was on the third floor (actually forth by American standards) and there was no lift (that’s elevator for those of you who don’t know). So we took a deep breath picked up our bags and hiked the steep stairs to our room.
After a bit of a rest we realized that we were really hungry and needed to find a nice place to eat soon. So we headed out down the hill and across the bridge on St. Patrick’s Street to the City Center where our bus driver said we would find tons of places to eat down the little alleyways and that all were good. We finally decided on a little hole in the wall place where we were told by several older Irish regulars who were coming out that it was the best place to eat. Upon entering the restaurant on the second floor the smells that greeted us told me that we were not lead astray. I felt like I was home in my mom’s house and she was making dinner. It was so perfectly a home cooked meal and we loved every bite of it.
After being brought back to regular energy levels by the wonderful food we set out to have a look around Cork City for a bit. The city is not really inspiring by any stretch of the imagination but that’s expected considering that it’s been really a port city where they built ships and such and you can see in the pictures above that there are still ships in the harbor there.
After a bit of a look around in the City Center we decided to head back to the hostel in order to get ready to meet a chiropractor in Douglas Village which is a little village about 15 minutes away from the City Center.
On the way back to the hostel we detoured to see Trinity Presbyterian Church which is an old church whose steeple is viewable from our room at the hostel. It’s a nice old church with that historical charm that us Americans find so endearing.
Then it was back up that San Francisco hill to clean up and get ready for our meeting with Doug in Douglas Village.
Once ready the receptionist told us the quickest way to get there is by taxi and she called a cab for us as we waited outside for him to come.
The cab driver was a really nice gentleman who kindly asked us to put on our seat belts as it was the law in Ireland. He also stated that a seat belt is a peculiar thing because it’s too late to reach for it when you really need it. He later informed us as we waited at the stop light that the motorcycle Garda (police) next to us had the job of checking that everyone in the vehicle had his or her seat belt on. We watched in awe as he made no effort to hide the fact that he was checking everyone’s seat belt in the car next to him as well as inside our cab. The cab driver also mentioned that the one that doesn’t wear the seat belt is the one who actually gets the ticket in Ireland so it’s financially feasible to keep it on as well.
Arriving in Douglas Village Matt and I looked around and got a good feeling for the Village. We found Doug’s Chiropractic practice easily enough and went in to meet him. Doug is a Canadian Chiropractor who has been living in Ireland for about nine years and he built his practice from scratch about seven years ago and is now looking to sell it.
I can not state more strongly how beautiful and perfect he made his practice. Everything from the system he uses (WLP for those chiropractors out there) to the aesthetics of the place…the lighting, the soft music, the smells, the materials used in the office (woods and stones, very earthy things) made this a place of comfort and refuge from the work day or dreary weather outside. It was absolutely amazing in my opinion. Very well done, unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures because it was a kind of a business type meeting and I didn’t think it appropriate.
Doug himself is an amazing, goal oriented, Tony Robbins type of person who believes that if you are going to do something you should do it as perfectly as you can and constantly work on making it better. So why, you might ask, is he selling this masterpiece that by the way is really successful? Well, he’s done what a lot of amazing, goal oriented, Tony Robbins type of people do when they go full tilt for so long….they burn out.
He wants time to pursue other things in his life for a while like maybe having a relationship and children and pursuing a course of Music Production and travel more. We tried to talk him out of selling his baby and think about the other possibilities that might let him do all that stuff without giving up his masterpiece. He said for now he will continue to look for a buyer but if he changes his mind he’ll let us know.
After our meeting with Doug we all agreed that we would meet the next night at the Thai restaurant below his practice around 8 p.m. and off we went in a cab back to the hostel.
When we arrived back in Cork City Center Matt and I decided we would stop in at a local pub for a pint of something and to soak in the essence of Ireland. I had a Murphy’s which is the Cork equivalent of Guinness. Guinness is brewed in Dublin and Murphy’s is brewed in Cork so of course I had to try the local brew. Quite tasty and satisfying I must say. Matt opted for a pint of Bulmer’s which is an Irish Cider brewed from apples. It’s really tasty…like drinking fizzy apple juice with a kick.
After that we headed up the hill and the four flights of stairs to our private room at the hostel for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we were going to Blarney Castle and we must be rested.
Stay tuned for our trip to Blarney Castle.