Wednesday 14 August 2019

Plodding round Cork

With thanks to Silversea for this cruise

It turned out to be a fairly bouncy crossing of the Irish Sea last night, and I was glad to have my head down. In the morning, we opened the curtains to the uninspiring sight of a pile of Maersk containers under a grey sky - in a bit of a turn-around from the usual state of affairs, Silver Wind is too small to be allowed to moor at the port of Cobh (pronounced Cove), which is only interested in the big ships with lots of money on board. (And where I went in 2011.) So we're stuck in industrial Ringaskiddy, about a 40 minute drive from Cork.

Despite being still sick, full of aches and pains and with no energy whatsoever - probably not helped by eating only a banana all day - I took the shuttle into Cork to do a dutiful walk around. I was impressed by the neatness of the countryside, suburbs and town, which looked prosperous, but the very first encounter I had was on the street with a forceful young man (admittedly pretty skinny) begging for money to buy something to eat "because Oim stearving, stearving!" I watched him for a bit after shaking him off - he was focused on women of a certain age. I couldn't decide if that was because he thought we looked kind, or gullible. Too bad for him I'm neither.
The centre of Cork is on an island in the middle of the River Lee, which is just as well, as it limits your scope for getting lost - because it has a confusing layout and I couldn't get my head round it at all. Still, I found the famous English Market, which is a hall filled with the usual offerings of food, raw and processed, including an impressive range of local cheeses. Then I just wandered, helped not at all by the useless map we were given on the ship. Shops, churches, cathedral, statues, people, traffic, wide avenues and narrow lanes... I thought of going to the butter museum because, well, butter museum, but ran out of energy and headed back to the ship for yet another nap.

We were down on numbers for Trivial Pursuit and the OH carried the day today (Anne Boleyn, 1940, eardrum). I was mostly just the scribe, though I did manage to get Mercury wrong, which was shaming. We came third again.

And tonight I had room service because I simply couldn't face tidying up and going through all the performance of a restaurant dinner. Instead I stood on the veranda and watched as Cobh slid past with its impressive cathedral and stacks of terraced houses. People lined the docks waving and cheering, and it must have been very like when the Titanic departed from there, its last ever port. Fortunately, we're not tackling an Atlantic crossing - just popping along the coast to Bantry.

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