Day 2 recap: bus tour. Tired feet. Drank Guinness. Ewwww.
Yesterday was our last day in Dublin, so we woke up bright and early to catch the train to Cork. Very early. Very bright, because the sun rises at around five in Ireland. We had enough time for an Irish breakfast, then we had to wheel our luggage to the train station, which was thankfully just across the street, where we caught a train for Cork City.
I miss Dublin already. Don't get me wrong; Cork is a lovely city. It is quaint and picturesque while still somehow maintaining the amenities of a larger city. But for me, it can't compete with the combination of the modern and the medieval, the urban and the suburban in Dublin.
I was worried about the train ride, because I've never taken a long train ride and will worry at anything that stands still long enough. But it was an absolute dear. It was rougher than I expected but in a pleasant way. The hardest part was staying awake; it had quite a lulling effect.
It only took two or so hours to Cork, where we wandered fruitlessly for a while before breaking down and hiring a taxi driver to find our hotel. We're staying in the oldest hotel in Cork, and it's a real beauty.
We had heard rumors of a medieval food fair called the English Market. After getting lost for the fourth time in three days, we had lunch at a beautiful cafe. It had vaulted medieval roofs and oregano bread. It was like a brief visitation from Heaven.
(By the way, all the pictures are on my instagram at aruvidich, if you want to see them.)
We spent a few lazy hours shopping for gifts for our family. I got my parents-- HA! You thought I would give it away, didn't you, Mom and Dad? You've got to be quicker than that!
Suffice it to say we had a lot of fun.
Because my grandmother and I are both Catholics, we got directions to the nearest Catholic church, the Holy Trinity. It's as pretty as a frosted cake. We spent many happy minutes toddling around it, trying gate after scary-rusted-chained-shut-gate before conceding that perhaps the church was not open for business. The non-Catholics may not realize this, but that is quite radical for one of our churches.
I flagged down a passing man, who inexplicably carried a sheet of paper that said "existentialism" under one arm and inquired about an alternative church.
"If you turn right, go a hundred yards, then turn right, the left (I zoned out around here and cannot recall this part clearly), you can go to St. Augusta's," he said in his delightful accent. "And if you can't find it, that just means your religious experience may be more spiritual than ritual."
Believe it or not from the quality of those directions, we could not find it. We excitedly tracked down a church-like building we had seen, only to discover it was a coffee shop. Oh, well. Honest mistake.
But on our way back, we somehow ran into another church, Sts. Paul and Peter. And it was Catholic!
It was one of those beautiful, hushed churches with medieval finishes, a raised lectern, and a holy, almost haunted ambience. We had just missed the last Mass, so we settled down to pray. It's one of those blessed places where it's easy to speak with God.
A fellow parishioner approached us, and we beamed at him, filled with the grace of God. He did not smile back.
"Sorry to rush you ladies,"he said, "but the church is closing now."
And that, dear readers, is God saying: give up!
(Just kidding. Obviously.)
Thoroughly chastened, we returned to the hotel bar for drinks. I ordered an I'm-eighteen-so-it's-legal-I-promise Irish coffee and got carded. Grandma had wine and was not. We split a creme brulee and happily concluded our third day in Ireland.