frenchpony (frenchpony) wrote,

  • Music:

Galloping Through Ireland! Traipsing Through Cork.

Once the conference was over, I took some time to travel. Because, of course, the only logical thing to do the week before your dissertation is due is to traipse around Ireland! But how could I not? I mean, this was my very first time ever to be in Ireland, and I really wanted to look at it. So I started out in Cork, where I could visit the lovely Dot.

Dot is a real trouper, let me tell you. She got up on her day off, drove into town on a rainy morning, and then walked all over Cork with me. Including some very out-of-the-way places. I should mention at this point, so Dot can laugh at me again, that my biggest accomplishment in Ireland was that I did not get run over. Seriously, none of my traffic instincts function over there, and street signs are just different enough that I can't always tell what they're trying to say. Like . . . is this street a one-way or a two-way? Which way? (Is it even a street? I had a few amusing problems of that kind in Dun Laoghaire.) Fortunately, the tried and trusted clot-of-New-Yorkers method for street crossing works just as well in Ireland as it does in New York.

So the first thing that we did was to tromp up St. Patrick's Hill, which was great fun to a girl who's lived for years on the flat prairies. Once you get almost to the top, you can look around and See Things:

1.  St. Patrick's Hill

I liked the bright blue house, and I felt it deserved its own picture.

2.  Cute Blue House

Just past this curve, we were starting to worry that that would be it for Great Vistas of Cork, when we saw that there was this school that had a parking lot that looked out over the city, and the gate was open. Inside the gate is a little teensy hut inhabited by a little old man who I swear was provided by the Irish Tourist Bureau, because he began to wax lyrical about the city. As he was doing so, this is what you could see from the parking lot:

3.  View of Cork

That's pretty much Cork right there. It's a nice compact kind of place, where you can walk it in a day. We followed the hill around and down and headed back into town, where we talked about chocolate and looked at churches. I made sure to photograph a Real Irish Spring Daffodil:

4.  Irish Daffodil

The downtown is bright and colorful; it's kind of like someone went to Mexico and saw all the tropical colors on the buildings there and said, "This is what's needed to perk up a rainy day in Ireland!" Also, there is a butter museum. We did not go inside, for the glory of a butter museum is mostly in the fact of its existence. But that is definitely a glory.

I can't go to a university town and not go to the university, so we tromped out to University College Cork. The gates of the main campus awaited us:

5.  University Gates

The quads were lovely and green, although the university was on pre-exam break, so the only undergraduates visible were those who were too stoned to move:

6.  University Lawn

7.  An Undergraduate

I think this is the quad that maintains its pristine green lawn because of the rumor that, if you walk on it, you will FAIL YOUR EXAMS! (dramatic scare chord.)

8.  Pass Fail Quad

After we'd looked at the main quads, Dot asked if there was anything else I particularly wanted to see. I think she probably regretted having asked, because of course I'd want to see the music department. Well, it turns out that UCC does not think especially highly of its music students, because the music department isn't actually on campus. In fact, it's about as far off campus as you can get and still qualify as being in the general vicinity. We went and asked about it at the campus center, and the guy working there only sorta kinda knew (I had the feeling that he only sorta kinda knew that there was, in fact, a music department), so we set off with our map. Unfortunately, it wasn't a topographical map, so after walking down the street, through the park, over the bridge, and through the rest of the park, we found ourselves in a scruffy little parking lot containing the psychology department and a greenhouse.

It turned out that, in order to find the music department, we had to walk out the other end of the parking lot, around a hairpin turn, and up a cliff. There, high and lonely, isolated from all the rest of the university, there is St. Vincent's Church:

10.  St. Vincent Church

Across the parking lot (Cork has some interesting parking lots), there is a little blue door that you'd think would lead you to some church function hall. But no! It's the music department! Huzzah!

9.  Music Department

The church has a little statue of St. Vincent de Paul in the parking lot.

11.  St. Vincent Himself

Next to him, and in fact in every parking spot, as Dot discovered, there are . . . markers. We decided that these were probably music students who foolishly walked on the grass.

12.  Fate Of Student

Even after all of this walking, Dot was still laughing, but it was very much time for lunch. And thus to the next post . . .


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