We arrived at the airport in Cork, Ireland just after 3pm. My watch, which is not smart, indicated it was 7am Arizona time. We’d been awake, with only a catnap or two on the plane, for over 25 hours.
Was Ireland irresistibly interesting enough to keep us alert? We hoped to stay intrigued until evening, get a full night’s sleep and wake up on Irish time. The best laid plans, right?
Click to enlarge any photo.
It started well. The Cork airport was conveniently sized, and baggage collection was simple. The taxi we hailed gave us our first ride in a Tesla! I loved the clear roof, which allowed us to see more of the beauty around us.
And I had to focus on that view, because the driver was (in this American’s experience) on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road. He (rightly) went left at the many round-a-bouts, and I was unnerved. I was extremely thankful for him, though, because if I’d had to rent a car and drive, I would have been an absolute wreck!
The rolling green hills, with the grazing cows and fluffy sheep, reminded me of a verse. It stuck the phrase “cattle on a thousand hills” in my mind. I had to look it up.
“for every animal of the forest is mine,~God, Psalm 50:10, 11
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.”
We arrived at our hotel, a beautiful building by the water. We entered the lobby which was different than hotel lobbies I’ve seen. There was no desk, only a series of podiums. There was no line, just a throng of people.
Eventually, one of the employees behind a podium made eye contact with us and said, “Are you OK?” We were to be asked this question many times during our stay in Ireland, and we came to understand it to be equivalent to our typical question, “May I help you?”
We told her we would like to check in. She asked for our name and handed us a key. That was it! No checking of ID, collection of credit card number, asking about vehicles, children, or pets, or reading of rights.
We weren’t sure if we were fully checked in, but our agent was done with us. She made eye contact with someone else and inquired, “Are you OK?” in their direction. We took our key and headed to the elevator, which they call the “lift”.
We left our bags in our “bedroom” (not just “room”, as I’m accustomed to saying) and went to find food. There was a cheerful spot, with energetic music, on the waterway just outside. We decided to try it.
After a tasty meal, we went to explore. We were in, what I would call, “Downtown Cork”. They called it “Cork City Centre”. We walked for about an hour.
We found the main street through the city centre, called “St. Patrick’s Quay”. (‘Quay’ is pronounced ‘KEY’.) We admired the buildings and the sky. We listened to the intriguing accents of the people hurrying by.
We walked along the River Lee. Don’t you just love that? Many things in Ireland are called by their designation and then their name.
I imagined trumpeters when I read the signs. “Do-do-do-do!” (Read trumpet sounds) “Announcing the River Lee! And County Clare, and the River Shannon!” So Regal!
We got back to our room about 7pm and that was it. We couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. But Cork was calling, and its intrigue got the better of us by 3am. We’d slept 8 hours and we were wide awake!
We figured the town would start to stir at 5ish, so we headed out then. We were about to have an unexpected adventure. If you’ve ever been to Ireland, your thoughts might have already arrived on our folly. God had me primed to learn an irresistibly interesting lesson. I hope you’ll join me next time so I can tell you all about it!
Curious how this Ireland trip came about?
Click here for the introduction post.