I’m in the City of Cork, and it’s also the County seat. I arrived yesterday after a three hour train ride. From the train station, I got a taxi and arrived at the Hotel Montenotte. The hotel sits on top of a hill in an upscale neighborhood.
I sat in the lounge writing and answering email messages, and enjoyed a breathtaking view of the city lights from below as it got darker.
I got up late this morning and had breakfast in the restaurant, then checked out, got another taxi and then checked into the Kinlay Hostel.
The taxi driver over the ten minutes it took him to circumvent the city’s rolling hills and busy streets, talked non-stop about what he thought I should see in his city. I couldn’t understand a word he said. And I kept reminding myself we spoke the same kings language. He was a tall, dark haired, mustached man and very serious.
As we were driving I pointed to the sign of the hotel, that he was speeding past, but he replied that he knew where to go. “I’m going to take you to the back of the hotel so you won’t have so many steps.” I understood that and thanked him for his consideration.
So when we got to the back of the place, he backed up into a very long and narrow alleyway over cobble-stones and finally stopped.
When I got my room, I was stunned to find out that it would be on the third floor which was really like a fifth floor. Fifty-five steps up the stairs to my room! A young woman picked up one of my suitcases and helped me to the room, while I had another two bags and my computer bag to hoist up all the steps.
I’m sharing the room with two young women from Spain, a woman from France and one other woman from Antigua.
Tired but rested up a bit, after getting settled, I took off walking down the road in the rain to the busy section of town, and immediately got lost when I wanted to walk back to the hostel. Some nice young man told me that I was close and to keep walking that way…he pointed to the corner of the street, and the bridge that goes over the river Lee.
As I walked back up the street on cobblestone and sidewalks to the hostel I heard the bells and chimes from the Shandon Church. This church is known to allow anyone to play the bells..how fun! I don’t know what the rules are yet, but whoever played at the time, provided good listening music.
Then it was time to find a grocery store, so I continued down the street where someone in the hostel told me I’d find a store. I stopped and asked three guys who were standing, smoking, near a pub. One guy was a large bald man with tattoos, another was about in his 70s, with a red nose and matching red eyes, and the other wore a white apron. When I asked about the store, they all spoke at once. I was happy they all pointed to the direction of the store because I couldn’t understand what they were saying. They appeared to be happy to be asked, however.
People have asked me about the language spoken in Ireland, and to answer that, the language is English and Irish. Nearly everything you see, such as road signs, for example, are written in both languages. Schools teach both languages to children, and most people have knowledge of both. I’ve been told that there are areas in Ireland where only Irish is spoken. Dialects are different, and accents make it easy for an Irish person to tell what area of Ireland the person comes from.
The city, from what I have seen so far is beautiful, with the river Lee running through it. I’ve seen an opera house, the famous and very old English market and many pubs and cafe’s in historical buildings.
It has been raining all day, and not good for photo taking opportunities, so that will have to wait. Maybe tomorrow?