Hello Going Expat people,
As you know, sometimes I enjoy telling you about my travels, not as a travel blogger but as an average traveler, so to speak.
Recently, in December 2023 I was in County Cork for a weekend and it was my second experience in Ireland. In fact, a few years ago, I had already visited Dublin.
Two very different journeys but with similarities.
The trip to Dublin was a weekend (way back in October 2021) among friends, we all live in different places and when possible we like to make reunions visiting new places, like the one in Marseille for example.
The trip to Cork instead was a couple weekend where we also met friends in the area of Youghal, also belonging to County Cork.
The cities between them did not seem so different, nice but they did not strike me that much, if not for some elements of which I speak in a moment. They still have that decadent charm that doesn’t leave you indifferent.
Surely the thing that struck me most on both occasions was the natural kindness of the Irish. I have never met so many genuinely kind people.
What have I visited in Dublin?
Unfortunately, in Dublin I missed the opportunity to visit certain places because they were closed as a result of the Corona Virus pandemic. In fact, this trip dates back to October 2021 when the pandemic had subsided and people began to travel again, albeit with great caution, negative tests on the hand and masks.
I miss, therefore, to visit the James Joyce Center and the Writer Museum.
What I saw and recommend:
- Phoenix Park – give it a day because it is very big, you can get there by public transport and you can rent bikes there. If you’re lucky, you’ll see Fallow Deer
- Castle and State Apartments – the castle was built in 1204 but burned down in the 17th century, what remains is only 1 tower out of 4 and the apartments, but it is really worth it. The entrance for adults costs €8.
- The iconic Temple Bar and its first street with all the Irish pubs where you can enjoy a good Guinness and listen to typical music.
- The Cathedral of Saint Patrick: beautiful! Also outside the church, around the walls you can read many info about the various Irish writers
- Trinity college that deserves an article in its own right because it is something wonderful with the library, or exactly the Long Room, where are stored about 200 thousand books, a series of busts of philosophers and writers and an oak harp of the fifteenth century. On Instagram I dedicated an album to this lovely place. The entrance costs €18 and you can download the Visit Trinity app for the audio guide. Inside Trinity College you will also find the Book of Kell, a real work of art dating back to 800. It is a book about the 4 gospels, written by Irish monks.
- Ha’ Penny Bridge refers to the half penny that was required as a toll in the past to cross it. It is located in the city center and you will surely cross it several times, but you will not have to pay any duty!
- The statue of Molly Malone, known for a typical song, became the symbol of the city. The woman seems to have been a fishmonger by day and a prostitute by night. The well-displayed busty breasts underscore her double life.
- The statue of the homeless Jesus, very particular, located in front of Saint Andrew Church.
What to see in Cork?
Cork was a weekend in December, characterized by rain and gray skies, but this did not stop us and in a single day we visited many things of the city.
The fact that Cork is very small, makes it easy to reach everything on foot:
- English Market – it was our first step around lunch, a real closed market, very nice but small. The wooden structure makes it super cozy and the bar upstairs serves really delicious food!
- Elizabeth Fort – a leap into the 17th century, a walk on the walls with a decent view of the city. Very interesting is the exhibition about women who were imprisoned, even for very small thefts, and sent to serve their sentence for 7 years in Australia. Many of them, once served, could not return because they were poor. Today they are considered the founding mothers of Australia.
- San Fin Barre’s Cathedral – majestic! Although I’m not inclined to pay to visit churches, considering that in Italy you don’t even pay to enter San Pietro in the Vatican, in this case I would have liked because it looks really amazing. Unfortunately, however, there were works for the Christmas decorations and it was not possible to enter.
- Fitzgerald Park – we ended up in this park mostly to see Daly’s Bridge, perhaps better known as The Shakey Bridge. In theory it should tremble at the passage of anyone, but in reality the movement is minimal and almost imperceptible. If you are walking in a group on the bridge, you probably notice it more. Anyway it is a work of 1926/27 and it is a suspension bridge, so it certainly has its charm regardless.
- Cork City Gaol a structure as beautiful as disturbing. It was a prison for both men and women and children, the stories that have followed are certainly not the best. Really very interesting, I suggest not to miss the guided tour (at a cost of € 8). We were lucky, when we entered we met this group of colleagues who had booked and paid for 20, as team activities, but 2 people at the last could not go and then they invited us to participate in the guided tour with them.
- Marina Market – probably has to define a hipster space to meet for food to take to the various stands, and a good beer. A very cheerful, lively and energetic place. Just pay attention to the time if you want to go for dinner, because it closes at 20:00.
The county of Cork.
As I said, we not only visited the city of Cork, but we ventured a bit in his county thanks to friends who live in that area.
We then visited the towns of Cobh and Youghal, really nice and characteristic, but unfortunately the climate did not meet us and we could not fully experience them. I recommend a stroll around those towns in summer. Surely the sea and bright colors with the sun, give their best.
Have you ever been to Ireland? Do you have anything else to add to the things I’ve seen?
Thank you and till the next time.