Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.

Today has been a long day!  After spending last night sampling some of the best Cork made beers (Beamish and Murphy’s  Stouts – Not much Guinness on offer down here ;)) and watching a confusing episode of LOST, I was up bright and early at 7:00am :O  It was okay as I had slept wonderfully, with only two nice canadians in my room there was no snoring, no loud drunks at 4am or anything to disturb me…but 7am is still early.  Especially when it was pouring with rain! (Maybe I spoke too soon about how I was experience brilliant weather in Ireland :P)

Anyway I headed off at 7:30 as my pre-booked tour was supposed to depart at 8:00am.  Notice how I used the word “supposed”.  When I arrived the bus driver and bus were there.  I got aboard….and then the bus wouldn’t start.  It was dead.  After a somewhat humorous couple of minutes listening to the driver phone “the boss” and explain that the bus was “F**cked,” it was decided I would come back tomorrow as the bus wasn’t going anywhere for today at least.  This was fine with me as although it meant I was up early for no reason, I could quite easily swap what I had planned for tomorrow and do that today instead.

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After going back to bed for an hour or so, I was out being the best tourist I can be.  My first stop was St Anne’s Church.  Cork is full of churches and St Anne’s is the most iconic, with its 4 sided clock tower (that supposedly tells slightly different times on each side haha).  I paid my 5 Euros and started my assent up the tower.  On the first floor you had the opportunity to ring the church bells and they even provide music for you to play across the city of Cork.  Of course, I had to choose “The Final Countdown” by Europe and at 10am I was ringing those bells like an animal lol.  I then proceeded up to the top of the 40m tower (including through a section that made you feel part Indiana Jones and part Bill Lawry as you had to climb through TINY holes, climb up IMPOSSIBLE wooden ladders and through masses of pidgeons until you reached the top and could go out for a view of Cork.  It was a great view and gave an impressive perspective of the city and its surroundings.  Thankfully by this time the weather had cleared.   After a quick look around the church itself (it was weird how a church that wasn’t too different on first look from those I have avoided in Australia…was 300 years old on closer inspection), I was off to Jail and I did not collect 200 dollars.

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Cork Jail is an imposing building with beautiful grounds.  It looks more mansion than Jail from the outside, but as you go inside and start the audio tour you see that it must’ve been quite a horrific place.  Closed in 1923 and opened in the early 1800s, the audio tour and wax figures gave a good overview of the jail’s history including some stories of the staff and prisoners.  The best part was the Audio-Visual display that ran 15mins in one of the wings and included music, wax figures, a projection of recreations/actors and slides of drawings of the era.  One thing you take away is that firstly….women and children were not immune from horrific treatment.   One real life prisoner story was about a boy of 9, jailed for 5 years with twice weekly lashings for stealing 2 brass handles…his 5th conviction!  Also, you seem to walk away thinking that the worst thing a lot of people did was be born poor. Yes there were rapists and murderers, but a women being jailed for 12 months for stealing food….you can’t help but feel sorry for them.

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After a pub lunch and another pint of Beamish, I undertook another city walking tour.  They are awesome ways of getting a comprehensive city history for someone like me who is historically minded.  Once again I was the only person on the tour, but John took me through most of the city, explaining it in detail from Irish through Vikings, Normans, etc all the way through 1900s.  What was really interesting is that the city is built of ex-marsh lands and islands.  The reasons the main roads curve naturally and are quite wide is that up until recent history they were waterways.  The Amsterdam of Ireland was one description John gave….but overall after 2 hours of in depth and occasional funny touring of the city my fiver + generous tip just didn’t seem to be adequate for what I had got from the experience.

So  that’s it for today.  I am buggered.  I will watch some sport, read a paper, grab dinner and a pint and hopefully…the bus starts tomorrow haha

April 7, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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