I love Cork at Christmastime! It is bustling with activity, decorated brightly, and filled with the sparkling promise of a happy holiday season. And it’s also the season for my husband’s and my birthdays. Yes, we are December babies. Growing up, neither of us encountered the dreaded trauma of having our birthdays take a backseat to Christmas…until we moved to Cork. In Ireland, holiday parties and gatherings are big business and a phenomenal opportunity for restaurants, pubs, and cafes to be the hosts they’re meant to be. Cork has an enthusiastic food and nightlife culture. Of course, this means that Thursday through Saturday (and some weekdays/nights), favourite restaurants are fully booked.
So this little post is to tell you right now to make your reservations last week. Seriously. I just got confirmation this morning from friends that they can watch our son this coming weekend so hubby and I can go on a date to celebrate our combined birthdays. I rang the restaurant nearest our friend’s home to reserve a table for two. I was told they’re not taking any additional bookings as they have three parties on the books already for that night. Sigh. Though they did say they set aside a few tables for walk-ins on the night so we could try to get a table that way. A glimmer of hope? Perhaps. But I just flash back to last year and my heart sinks that I didn’t plan ahead more.
Flashback to 51 weeks ago when it was my birthday and we got a friend to sit for our son. It was a Thursday so we thought no way we’d need a reservation. I mean, we didn’t mind if we ended up at a pub or less elegant spot. Well, we walked the streets of Cork City for over an hour in the cold without finding a spare table for two. I cried. We went home by way of Tesco and ate sandwiches in bed. So, hinging my hope on a walk-in table being available just makes me think I’m setting myself up for a repeat of last year. Then, I look to next year (a big birthday for me) and wonder if I’ll have a decent birthday party in the month of my birth.
That having been said, I know I’m not alone. I have some fellow December birthday’ers out there and we can make the most of our special days with the people who matter, no matter where that is. Because at the end of the day, isn’t it just important enough that we’re with the ones we love, who love us enough to sit in bed and eat cold sandwiches?
Happy birthday, fellow December babies! Let’s party like it’s November!