Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ireland Trip - Day 1

Bethany and her fiancee Eddie met me at the train station in Cork, and after a short bus ride, we ended up at their cozy condominium. They showed me the guest bedroom where I'd be sleeping, then gave me the chance to clean up a bit. I'd been awake at this point for about 23 hours consecutively, but with the chance to freshen up and the fact that the sun was still up (and I was told that the sun actually being visible is a rarity in Ireland, so I shouldn't waste it), I decided to head out with them for a brief walking tour of Cork City.

We ended up at a semi-enclosed market called the English Market, which reminded me very much of International Market Square back home, except with much more 'staples'; plenty of butchers, fishmongers, and vegetable sellers abounded, with only a few touristy-type shops that sold chocolates or other delicacies. My first purchase in Cork proper was a bottle of apple juice laced with blueberry juice, while Eddie picked up pork chops (more like steaks to my eyes), potatoes, and cabbage for that evening's dinner. We stopped briefly at Tesco (the only supermarket in Cork City) to pick up some more staples and snacks, then headed back home.

Dinner was simple and very tasty, and afterward I finally indulged in sleep. Turns out Ireland is an ideal country for sleep, if you find rain relaxing -- by the next morning, a steady drizzle was falling and I ended up sleeping well past noon. Eddie headed into work at about 2pm, and Bethany and I planned to meet him later at the college's Med-Ren group (basically a re-enactment/SCA type group). Bethany took me on a more tourist-oriented walk of Cork City, showing me some of the local architecture, and we stopped in a pub for a drink to rest and wait for the Med-Ren meeting.

Med-Ren basically consisted of a bunch of college folks learning how to wield medieval weaponry -- the spear was on particular display, but some dagger training was also available. I begged out, on the pretence that since I'd had a beer earlier, I shouldn't wield weapons while under the influence of alcohol, so instead I ended up spending much of the evening talking with an amazing Irish woman named Rosheen, who'd been a practicing archaeologist for the better part of two decades and had a seemingly inexhaustable store of tales about things that happened on various dig sites and expeditions, mostly in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. She joined us on another pub trip following the Med-Ren meeting and we ended up eating dinner there (having taken it out from a nearby fish-and-chips place) and talking until midnight.

Back home, back to sleep and the promise of another day.

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