A Travellerspoint blog

Day 2: Put A Cork In It! (sorry)

in which your author and his trusted companion navigate both the treacherous deep south of Ireland and the treacherous maybe plague bug

semi-overcast 40 °F

Like Day 2, this entry – which also represents Day 1 of 2014 – will be* short and sweet gritty. We began at Laura's in Dublin, still a bit wrecked from jetlag, sleeping in way past the fervent desires of our pre-trip itinerary. The major goal for the day would be to procure our rental car and drive it to Cork, about three hours to the south. Since I had stayed up until 5am Dublin time the previous night, I was still not quite rested, yet more important, by the morning began showing alarming signs of having full-on caught whatever bug my brother Dan had passed on during the ride to the ride from Massachusetts to JFK airport. Body aches, sore throat, raspy voice; and though we had done a fine job mixing water in with our Guinness on New Year's, my immune system was clearly weakened. We had some breakfast including porridge, Irish yogurt, and lovely Irish bread Laura had left out for us – I've found that one of the great charms of this country is that even the store-bought bread is textured and beautiful – and set out for the Budget rental car office which was about a twenty minute walk past the Royal Canal made famous by this classic Dubliners song (or if you must the recent Justin Timberlake version which like much of his work is actually better than it should be.) It's nice to connect the thin threads between the area where we were staying and the Auld Triangle prison, pub, and song.

The car rental experience is about as fraught with near-tension as you might expect it to be (oh hello, $1000+ credit card "security deposit" mentioned only in the fine print) though our Polish clerk is helpful and gets us set up in our small black bug which we instantly and incorrectly suspect to be a dreaded manual transmission. We decide to rent a GPD system (he cuts us a deal) which has become an essential. My first tentative passage down THE WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET in Dublin is shaky at best and not aided at all by the driver behind us honking because of how slow I'm driving. Turns are an endeavor.

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I spot a large market on the right side of the street and it takes about fifteen minutes just to turn left into a neighborhood, negotiate those mostly one-way roads and , and make our way back to it. I buy all manner of liquids including OJ and hot tea and cold green tea and Cadbury caramel bars (ok, not a liquid) and also some Irish version of Theraflu called "Hot Berry Panadol" which I instantly prepare with hot water. Amy recommends we have some food at Bodkin's Bar next door (I am only realizing at this very moment that I don't know where my leftover burrito ended up) and the youngish bartender tells me I can't bring in coffee from outside and I eek out "Oh, it's Theraflu (he has no idea what that is) and I'm very sick and it's not coffee and..." and he just sort of nods and we now have an agreement. I order a surprisingly delicious burrito with soy chorizo (how that option was made available in a random pub in Ireland I've no idea) and Amy sketches me as I eat, titling it something like "Jason... Near Death." My friends are fiercely talented, yo.

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Eventually I get us out of the city, and though I'm in such a sad state, the ever-terrific conversation with Amy – one of the most consistently intellectually curious people I know – manages to keep me up. We listen to one fantastic Irish trad CD I purchased in York, PA last 4th of July on repeat about four times. My bladder is on overdrive given the constant intake of liquids and we stop three times at surprisingly jam-packed rest centers – Amy is fascinated by the sensational headlines of the local newspapers. She takes over the wheel with about an hour left and finds the left-side thing equally intimidating, though we're on a divided highway so it's somewhat easier until we get into the city.

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We find our way to the sleepy seaside neighborhood we're to stay at in Cork and locate our Airbnb house – it's dreary, drizzling, and somewhat chilly and we're both very tired after the significant drive. The screenshot below is but one of four which I took of directions in case our GPS didn't work – we are finding the lack of internet access a persistently vexing issue, and in a way I don't remember experiencing on prior trips. Can I italicize and bold that?

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Our host is a 40-something lovely blonde Cork-born woman named Caitriona who lives with her pre-teen son Andrew. She's got a real-deal Cork dialect – full-bodied, sharp and intense, and certainly a quick-talker. We chat for twenty minutes or so and I show her the record album cover from Cork ca. 1900 that I've brought from home, originally picked up at a Goodwill in Brockton, MA. (More on this in tomorrow's post.) She makes an offhand remark  – quite funny to Amy – about the appeal of American reality shows like STORAGE WARS: "in the US you bid on a storage facility for somebody else's old stuff and you get valuable items but in Ireland nobody would do that!" Snort.

Though I'm exhausted I recognize this blog ain't gonna write itself so I stay up composing my first post while Amy goes for a midnight run through Cork. She takes almost an hour and returns just as I'm starting to get slightly worried. Through no fault of anyone's save for this nasty bug which I incorrectly predict has already reached its most intense stage, I don't sleep well. Here we are the following morning:

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And that's all from sunny Kilkenny, where we are off to explore a medieval castle and then finally meet up with Dan and Graci in Dublin! (Yes, I tend to write these entries days afterward in other towns...)

  • I seem to have yet to master the art of the short blog post. Who was that 19th century man of letters who wrote something like "This is a long letter because I didn't have time to write you a short one?" That's my fella.

Posted by coolmcjazz 04:58 Archived in Ireland Tagged cork

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Love the blog posts. Very entertaining. Hope you're feeling better.

by Patty Scott

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