So, as I sit down to write this, I am still in Cork. It is Friday evening at 7:13PM. Actually, if I were to write this as the Irish do, it is 19:13 – but it is still said as “7:13.” Military time, kilometers per hour, degrees celsius, and always being referred to as, “lad.” This, is me in Ireland. So different, but as the days go by, it becomes more and more normal.
“Thanks, lads. Mind yourself now.” “Thanks a million.” “No worries.”
It is fascinating to think that I’ve been away from Iowa since the 31st of August. Three weeks, today. I’ve done amazingly well living out of my pack. Growing up, I remember I always hated having to live out of a suitcase on vacation. I would always be inclined to unpack it immediately on arrival to my family’s destination. Theoretically, I could unpack my pack upon arrival to my destination in Ireland – but, I have yet to have a permanent destination. The longest I’ve stayed in one town since leaving Iowa on the 31st is three nights. My days on the road will (sort of) come to an end on Monday. I’ve been instructed to arrive to face2face’s head office in Dublin at 10am. “Bring you backpack,” the recruiter said. Will I be in Dublin after Monday? She wasn’t quite sure.
I wish I would have had a chance to sit down and write before now. The days have really gone by quickly. The last time I wrote, I was on a bus, heading towards Tramore. I will try and bring you up to speed in the space that is my journey between Tramore and Cork (Does this make sense? I hope.).
Brian and I arrived in Tramore late Tuesday night. The bus driver was kind enough to drop us off directly outside the Beach Haven Hostel. Beach Haven Hostel. “Stay at our hostel, we’re right on the beaches of Tramore!” This, is at least what I thought when I booked the room. While the hostel was a three or four kilometer walk from the beach, it was a comfortable accommodation. Tramore would be a wonderful town for a traveling family to bring their young children. The beachfront is lined with county fairesk rides, fast food joints, and arcades. Most of these places had closed up shop for the winter. Brian and I ended up spending two nights in Tramore – it was a chance to catch up on some sleep, do some (much needed) laundry, and find myself lost again in a pasture full of bulls, barbed wire and electric fences, and cow manure.
The last night in Tramore, we decided to go on a hike to a peninsula that was three or four miles away from our hostel. It was raining lightly, but I had hostel fever as it had been raining all day. This rocky point contained two, giant, cement structures that were erected to memorialize a ship which crashed in Tramore Bay over 100 years ago. This ship mistook the bay for a neighboring port. Our hike to the Metalman took us on a trail that bordered these cliffs – not a difficult trek, but one that we would have been unable to make in the dark. By the time we left the Metalman, darkness had set in. It was an amazing place to take in, and we ended up staying longer than we should have. We were drawn to the crashing of the waves and the 30 – 40 mile per hour winds. It was amazing to think that I was looking at the same body of water that I swam in months ago during spring break. By the time we decided to head back to Tramore, we had to tactfully make our way through the aforementioned pastures – a trip that would have taken thirty minutes in full light ended up taking us well over an hour.
We caught a lift from Tramore to Cork with a man who was staying at the B&B (Bed and Breakfast) next to our hostel. The day we were doing laundry, we met him and found out he was headed to Cork the next day. Terry, a fire-fighter from New Zealand, was spending a couple months touring Europe. He had spent a little over a week with his daughter and her boyfriend traveling Ireland, but they had since left for London. He was happy to give us a lift. We appreciated the ride, and he appreciated the company. Yesterday evening, we stayed at the same hostel in Cork. Brian and I treated Terry to a quite tasty, but most importantly, economical meal of pasta, beef, and Beamish (Ireland’s other stout, brewed here in Cork).
Today, Brian and I visited the tourist trap that is Blarney Castle. I kissed the Blarney Stone and am now endowed with the gift of gab and great eloquence. Tonight, Brian and I are staying at the Bru Bar and Hostel. I enjoy Cork. Cork is Ireland’s second largest city with approximately 150,000 people. I feel Cork has as much to offer as Dublin yet is free of all the rush that is Dublin. If I had to pick a town to settle in while in Ireland, Cork would stand a fighting chance for being the town.