It’s the August Bank Holiday weekend and I need a break. I’ve been meaning to come back to Ireland since my first short trip left me wanting more, so this was my chance. I took the day off work and caught an early flight to Dublin, hired a car at the airport and set off for the southeastern corner of the island.
After about two hours of the greenest countryside you can imagine, I left the highway to find Cashel Rock.
Its an ancient hill with a ruined castle and church upon it. I learned it had been the seat of the local kings starting in the 400s and then was gifted to the church in the 1100s. The ruined pile sits picturesquely above a tiny village and keeps a wonderful air of mystery and age about it.
Most unexpectedly, I discovered a Michelin-rated cafe nestled at the foot of the hill. So I paused for a bit of pulled pork and pasta.
I discovered a bee in the sauce and thought for a moment the dish might turn out to be more adventurous than advertised, but I didn’t see any others and decided to chalk it up to errant Nature rather than an edgy palette (and left it on the plate untasted).
From there I drove the rest of the way to Cork, arriving around 6pm. I checked in to the B&B, took a short nap, and set out to explore.
Cork has the reputation of being Ireland’s “second city” after Dublin, and I guess I had higher hopes for it. I was hoping for charm and arty-ness. I found a town that felt a tad shabby and quiet. Not bad, but also not thriving and vibrant–and in that way similar to Dublin. You get the sense that this is not a booming economy.
As evening drew on the city center livened up with restaurant-goers and bar hoppers. I could see the appeal for the groups of young people who were out on the town. But I was happy to grab a burger for dinner and turn in early.