Tonight, Cork City opened its doors, literally. Museums, civic centers, theatres, galleries, the gaol (jail), and the observatory welcomed the public. We took a tour of the Cork Butter Museum. Bet you didn’t know that Cork City has a rich history of being a hub of butter exporting. For part of the 1800s, this was evidently the largest butter market in the world.
This afternoon, we visited Church of St. Anne Shandon in downtown Cork City. For €6 per person, visitors can ring the Shandon Bells and climb the winding steps and a ladder (not for anyone with mobility issues) through the bell tower to enjoy a view from the top. St. Anne’s is open until 5 p.m. (Easter through November), but no visitors are admitted after 4:30 p.m. Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to closing for the full experience.
Easter to November 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.*
November t0 Easter 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.*
* Last visitor entry 30 minutes prior to closing.
I learned that it costs more to take a taxi on a Sunday than on a regular weekday. There is evidently a Commission for Taxi Regulation that independently develops and maintains regulatory framework for small public service vehicles, such as taxis, wheelchair accessible taxis, hackneys, and limousines. There is even a website with helpful answers to common consumer questions…
We hiked up the rocky hill beside Lough Hyne. The narrow, muddy, slippery, sometimes obstructed, uphill path challenged us, but at the top the view rewarded us. It was a clear day so we could see beyond Baltimore!
Today, we set out for a long walk around Cork City Centre, though not the usual lively shopping district we visit. We started to walk east through the City Centre along the River Lee until we came across a trail. We followed the trail to the Cork Cricket Club and Fitzgerald Park. We had a spot of tea and enjoyed the gardens in the park, then visited the University College Cork campus. There is an exhibit at the university museum which was a wonderful thing to happen upon – it relates to books as art! At one point, the docent even posed the question to the group (on a tour of the exhibit), “Do you think books will become extinct?” Since that was quite close to my undergraduate thesis topic (The place of the book in the era of the new media), I was tickled to get to learn more about it – and thought it was pretty neat that more than ten years after I wrote that thesis the topic is still lively. We walked home and passed Jackie Lennox’s where we stopped in for dinner. The fish (haddock) and chips are amazing there. The chips actually taste like potatoes!!
The market and grocery store experience is not to be missed when visiting a different country or locale. Cork City is no exception. The English Market has dozens of stalls selling fresh fish, meats, pastas, produce, cheeses, olives, and convenience foods. Convenience foods is fast becoming my new favorite phrase. It is what Americans may consider “semi-homemade” or “from fridge to oven to table” dining. What I was accustomed to seeing in the frozen food aisle is available here unfrozen. Tonight, we will have Chicken Kiev with corn and a side salad. Maybe it is just my first impression and shock that their markets are not 1/3 frozen food aisles, but I must admit I am enthralled. Even the market has fresh-baked loaves galore, including loaves from O’Keeffe’s Bakery.