Hi there! For this post I’m going to talk a little bit about Kinsale, which is an adorable coastal town about 45 minutes from Cork, and the rest of the time I am going to describe some of the silly things the Irish do (or don’t do).
Alison, Norah and I went to Kinsale this weekend, and the weather couldn’t have been better. We arrived by the local Bus Eirann around noon and spent the rest of the day exploring, going in and out of thrift shops and art galleries, getting Kinsale’s famous fish n’ chips, discovering fish n’ chips aren’t that good, and capped the day off with a hike to Charles Fort. There are a gazillion shades of green in Ireland, and most of them were displayed at Charles Fort, which was situated on a hill overlooking the bay. We met some Spanish au pairs who are also living in Cork who loved our names and accents (“You sound just like the movies!). When we got back to town we decided to catch the bus back and waited patiently where we were dropped off. When we saw the bus coming, we smiled and stared unexpectedly, our smiles only fading when the bus whooshed past us and stopped way down the street. And that’s the story behind the three girls flapping their arms and sprinting behind the Cork-bound 7 o’clock Bus Eirann. We caught up to the bus though and it turned out that he was going to turn around and come back for the people going to Cork, so we were fine. Overall it was the best weekend excursion we’ve had so far.
Now I’m going to completely switch gears and list some of the downright silly things I’ve noticed about Ireland and it’s crazy and wonderful people that I haven’t been able to slip in to other posts.
- Literally EVERYTHING infrastructurally is the opposite, causing everyone who isn’t Irish to look like a fool. I’m 99% sure this is intentional and meant for the amusement of the locals. Example: You want to walk to the store. You’re walking down the sidewalk, hugging the right side, which is how normal people do things. You see someone walking towards you. In America, this is not a problem. They pass you on your left, and you continue hugging the right. In Ireland, the person walking toward you is also hugging the right, which is his left, because NOTHING CAN BE SIMPLE. So you both move to the left, and then to the right again, and then no one knows what to do and you run into the street so that you can get past this fiasco and get hit by Bus Eirann. Next you make it to the store and you aim for the entrance door on the right. WRONG IT’S ON THE LEFT AND YOU CAN’T GET IN. Once in the store, you aim for the escalator. The one going up will be on the right, correct? NO! It’s on the left you nincompoop, and now you’ve tripped and been sucked into the escalator.
- The Irish are just quieter than the rest of us. Perhaps I’m in the same store with all its leftness and my friend Norah is excited about a pair of jeans she sees. In America, she’ll exclaim happily, “Ohmahgawd, look at these jeans!” and the rest of the store will ignore her because they are also busy finding treasures. In Ireland, Norah does the same thing, but the Irish stop and stare, because apparently department stores deserve the same silent reverence that the cathedrals do.
- The Irish are just quieter than the rest of us, except at night. You might find yourself out in Cork at 9:30pm on a Wednesday. Everything is as it should be, and you go to a pub to listen to some live music. When you come out at midnight, the world has been transformed to a ghoulish place. There are four girls crouched in an alley like gargoyles around a pizza, and on another corner a boy’s head dangles outside of a rickshaw on his way home. French fries and vomit are all over the sidewalk. It’s chaos, but there are no police. Then, the next morning, like magic, there is no evidence of the pandemonium the night before. I’m pretty sure this happens every night.
- Everyone in Ireland is friendly and helpful except the reception staff of my apartment complex. As Mallory said, they must have gone on a search to find the worst people in all of Ireland and asked them to work at Vic Lodge. They would be laughable if they weren’t so scary; the backs of their shirts say in bold letters, “We’re here to help!” and then they turn around and their dour faces are the things of nightmares.
- They are obsessed with California. Their shirts, backpacks, decorations, etc. all say “California” with a surfboard or a palm tree or something on them.
But alas, the strangeness of some of the things I’ve seen here are all part of the Irish experience, and none of it takes away from my study abroad trip; nay, it makes it more memorable! I’m having a fabulous time here, and I can’t believe I’ve almost been here for a month! Hope everyone back in the States is doing well!