Ireland – It’s an Irresistibly Interesting Island of Intrigue: Arrival!

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.

A map of Ireland with an arrow pointed at Cork
Cork is in the southern part of Ireland. Can you see the gold arrow?

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.

Cows grazing in a grassy field
View of the Irish countryside near the Cork airport. See the cows? We learned that agriculture is the #1 industry in Ireland.

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,
    and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the insects in the fields are mine.”

~God, Psalm 50:10, 11

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.

Are you ok?

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”.

A sign inside an elevator
“Lift” is quicker to say than “Elevator”, but “Bedroom” seems less convenient than “Room”!

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.

Irish street sign
The street signs were on corner buildings, not on poles. I was lost and confused until I figured that out.

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!

A river and sky
River Lee runs through Cork city center.

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.


22 replies on “Ireland – It’s an Irresistibly Interesting Island of Intrigue: Arrival!”

It is so good to get a perspective on Ireland from a first-time visitor. I miss so much these days because of over-familiarity. When I’ve flown into Cork with work in the past I have usually stayed at one of the airport hotels and then been collected in the morning so I have rarely experienced the city centre. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in Ireland.

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Thank you for reading! I know the feeling- kids are fun that way too because you get to see the world through their fresh eyes. I must admit though- you have been blessed to have the opportunity to have become over-familiar with such a beautiful place!

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All my trips to the south have been work related, but I have been able to travel all over so have seen a lot of Ireland. The roads have improved significantly in recent years and that has helped with the getting around!

My wife and I managed a few days just outside Belfast in NI when we had to go over for a funeral a few years ago. We did get to travel about and visited the Titanic Exhibition and got to see the Giant’s Causeway. I’d love to have a holiday in the south – predicting the weather is always the challenge. It’s bad enough here in the UK at times but Ireland seems to catch a lot more wind and rain than we do.

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We drove through that part of Cork to go to an amazing seafood restaurant. I’ll have to see if I remember the name. The driving got us, too! My husband drove us and another couple, and the round-a-bouts were so hard — especially when he wanted to go our normal direction! I can’t wait to hear more about Cork.

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Oh my goodness- your husband was so brave to drive! The round-a-bouts were the worst. I’d be chatting and then, in my peripheral vision, see us turn left into them and panic would rise up. We’re headed into on-coming traffic! And then I’d remember and be ok… but even as I was just typing that, I felt it welling up. Yikes! Haha!

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Mamlava, I am on pins and needles waiting for the next installment!! This is more exciting than a Michael Crichton novel!!!! 😀
But 25 HOURS awake!? With an 11-hour flight from Phoenix to Heathrow and 1 hour 15 minutes to Cork, how did you wind up at 25 hours? Did that include a 12+-hour layover in Heathrow? But you said yesterday you only had 90 minutes between flights?
❤️&🙏, c.a.

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We woke up at 5:45am on the day of our departure, as we do every morning. We left the house around noon and had about a 2 1/2 hour drive to the airport. We figured out parking and checked in 3 hours before our 6pm flight, as suggested. And the rest, you know! (Your math is sharp! God has given you a quick wit and a sharp mind!)

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Ahh, okay, so it’s that early morning wake up that added 6 hours 15 minutes that really hurt!
When Anita and I travel overseas, about five to seven days before we depart, we start adjusting our schedule one hour or so per day towards the time of our destination. It usually makes the adjustment less severe, but still not completely. Try it, and next time SLEEP IN the day of your departure!! 😎
❤️&🙏, c.a.

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