Alrighty! It has been far too long since I have written a post. My apologies! I guess I have been too busy studying and bettering my education (I am an angel). Anyhoo, 2 weekends ago I went to Cobh and Midleton, both of which are cute towns not too far from Cork by train, but both are small enough that they didn’t need more than a day of exploring. Last weekend Alison, Norah and I hiked up to St. Kevin’s Asylum, which I can see from my bedroom window and stands on a hill overlooking Cork, looking like the beginning of a horror film. Black birds circle it in a sinister sky almost 100% of the time. So naturally we decided to do what anyone in an actual horror film would do: hike to it! (But unlike horror film characters we did this in the daylight). Here’s some background: http://www.abandonedireland.com/skv.html. To our great outward disappointment and inward relief, the building is no longer accessible since huge metal sheets block every door and first-level window. But we got to wander around the asylum and look into upper-level windows as best we could, which still had tattered curtains in them. We were also able to get into a tunnel which was used to transport the crazies to the chapel and to the regular hospital, which is the longest building in Ireland ans half of which is cushy apartments while the other half is still derelict and undergoing construction. It was a fabulous time.
This weekend I noticed that the UCC sailing club was having a beginner’s day, so I thought I would go. I set my alarm for 6am, and when it went off the next morning I decided that I would rather sleep. But then I stared at the wall for twenty minutes wondering if I had made the right decision, and since by this point I was fairly awake I decided to go after all. The facebook page said to bring warm clothes and water. Then I walked to the city center to catch a bus to Kinsale, which is where we’d be sailing. Here’s a fun Ireland fact: nothing is awake before 9am, especially on a Saturday morning. This might be in part because it doesn’t get light until almost 8am this time of year, but is probably more because everyone was drinking the night before (Except me Grandma Sal) so I had the whole city to myself. When I got to Kinsale at 9 (it takes about an hour to walk to the bus station and another hour to get to Kinsale) there was hardly anybody there, because “The lads were running late” so the growing group of beginners such as myself continued to play horrible icebreaker games until the lads finally showed up around 10. Ireland is fairly laid back about punctuality. When they asked where our life jackets were, they were shocked to find that none of us (we were mainly exchange students) had thought to pack life jackets when we were packing our semesters into one suitcase. It ended up being fine as we just switched off life jackets with whoever happened to be in a boat. After the “the lads” (the experienced people) got the sails up and the boats down to the water, half of us went on a big boat to get into the little sail boats and the rest of us, myself included, went on the dock to watch. They had told us to bring warm clothes, but I foolishly brought only a hoodie and sweatpants. It was freezing. Luckily some of the lads had brought extra jackets and lent me one, which was a huge blessing. While on the dock I met a girl from Belgium and a couple from North Carolina, so that was cool. When it was my turn to be shipped out to the middle of the bay to transfer into one of the sailboats, I got in with a lad who was at the helm (all of the beginners were paired with experienced people who worked the rudder or “roadher” in an Irish accent, and they called us the crew which I thought was funny since these were two-man boats). Anyway as soon as I got in the boy started naming a thousand boat-terms, and I nodded along, muttering the occasional “mmhmm.” Midway through this lecture he asked, “so, do you speak English?” which was just a tad embarrassing since English is indeed my native tongue and chosen major. So I said something like “Yes sorry I do, I just don’t know these particular boat words” and he said “okay, I’m Jack.” “Jackie,” I said, introducing myself. “No, Jack.” he said. So basically that’s how that went.
Anyway, sailing was really fun despite the cold and horrible awkwardness with which I conversed. My job was simply to pull different ropes and switch sides of the boat when I was told. It was a little exhausting anyway though, and I went to bed almost as soon as I got home (around 5pm) and got up around 10. So now It’s 11:45 and my sleep schedule is a little funky, but I think I can get back to sleep. Also, I don’t have any photos of me sailing which is a bummer, but I didn’t want my phone to get wet. Also there really wasnt a time to take a sailing selfie. So I’ve put up pictures of the insane asylum instead. Oh well. next weekend we’re going to the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, so expect another blog post then!