By Bob Corbett
This day was a mistake, but perhaps an eventful one, however the worthwhile potential of this ride comes tomorrow, not today.
We rose at our normal time and had a lovely breakfast and visit with Marian, and were ready to leave for the bus station for our ride to Cork, a very long ride. Marian saved us a long walk. It turns out the bus passes her house and stops just 1/2 block up the street. We walked up there to wait with another man who was there as well. We were getting on the 10 AM bus.
WE had to go through Limerick, but didn't have to change buses. Then on to Cork, arriving there in mid-afternoon. I had reserved a place to stay just THREE blocks from the bus depot, so it said on-line. What it didn't explain was that block one was to cross the river. Fine, no problem there, it was right outside the bus station. Then, to go STRAIGHT UP two more blocks, a hill that rivaled Big Wade here in Dogtown and us pulling a wheely cart and lugging a backpack. Finally arriving at the top, huffing and puffing big time, we did have a lovely room, a bit more run-down than we had been having, but nice, and the people who ran the place were quite pleasant.
Soon, since it was getting on in the day, we headed back into the center of Cork. This was my third visit to Cork and I just plain don't like the city at all. Not a bit. I was there in the 1980s and didn't like it; John and I were there in 2003 and we hated it; now this trip which just convinced me I never want to go back.
We went first to the tourist center to get our trip figured out for Bantry and the Beare Peninsula. Well what a let down. There was NOTHING possible. Buses didn't run there this off-season, no tours of any sort went there, and they said nearly all attractions and many B&Bs weren't open until the summer. This is an area that just isn't tourist ready year-round. We were not prepared for this and needed time to mull it over.
It was getting on and we needed food. What a horror story that was. We were in the HEART of the town, in the tourist area, in a large walking area where no cars could come. Every imaginable sign of a place where there will be dozens of good pubs and lots of food. HA!!!! Guess again. John and I had run into this same problem 2 years ago. We couldn't find anywhere to eat and neither could Sally and I. We entered places to ask where we could get some normal pub food. People would send us scurrying four or five blocks THAT way, only to find the place closed or not serving food and they would send us elsewhere. My walking log indicates TWO SOLID HOURS of walking around Cork trying to find a place to eat.
We finally found one, and it was okay, not great. However, we just loved it since we were exhausted, starved and frustrated. We ate a great deal and I think that might have been my only 2 Guinness day. Normally I just had one a day with my main meal if I wasn't drinking wine (only at The Old Pier).
By the time we finished eating it was getting dark, and we headed back to our B&B. There, in a fairly spacious room, we laid out the maps and our guide book and all and assessed: what in the world do we want to do? We could get a bus to Bantry Town itself. No problem. But that wasn't the attraction. It was the area, and if nothing was really open and transport wasn't running, then Bantry wasn't very attractive.
After a while we realized what we had to do: Count today as an utterly LOST day and get on the first bus out in the morning and head back up north, doing some other things we wanted to do.
What a silly day, our only real WASTED day of the whole trip. We were very tired after all that walking today, walking circles around the relatively unattractive tourist center of Cork. Finally, the last decision before going to bed, we had decided to head for Ennis and use that as a jumping off place for The Burren. We were asleep very very early, thus rose early to get on the way back north -- nothing much planned yet yet. Just NORTH and to Ennis and The Burren. This turned out to be, for reasons we didn't yet know, one of the best decisions we’d made on the whole trip.
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Bob Corbett firstname.lastname@example.org