We took a bus through and beyond Cork City. In short, Ireland was exactly how I imagined it to be: green, green and more green, with rivers and rolling hills. It was beautiful, and I can see why so many Irish felt pride over their homeland after immigrating from Ireland. In a small seaside village, I walked through narrow ancient streets surrounded by stone and wooden homes, all well-tended. On a hill over the village, was a 1000 year old churh, with a mixture of new marble headstones intermingling with stone markers so old the engravings were long gone. I wandered into a local cafe, where several tables of Irish talked amongst themselves. I ordered a coffee to go, and a scone with cranberries, and I learned later that scones are traditional but usually mixed with raisins. The cost was 3 Euros, and when I gave him 5 and told him to keep the change the keeper put in an extra scone for me. Needless to say, the scones were fabulous. I also got an ice cream cone, and learned the traditional cones are 99 cones, which are soft served ice cream with a stick of chocolate atop. Needless to say, this was also delicious 🙂
We rode into the port town, where a towering cathedral lorded over a small village. I’d learned Guinness was not pasteurized in Ireland, so we tried both Guinness and Murphys. In both pubs we went into, the locals were very friendly and genuine. As we drank a guinness, a man came o ut to check his cell phone, stating his lady frequently called in him to make sure he wasn’t in the pub.
I loved Ireland. I loved the people, the land and the tales. It honestly was everything I expected it to be — and I loved it.