What weather to explore Cork…
The train stopped at exactly 12:03 p.m. Out from Cork Kent station, I along with two other guys stepped into what felt like a torrential downpour. When we planned our last-minute trip to Cork, we unfortunately did not take into account the 100% chance of rain they called for that Saturday. And so, within the first three minutes of us walking into town, our sneakers were soaked from the inside out.
On top of not planning for the inclement weather, we quite literally did not plan anything else except for our arrival and departure. Now, were stuck, soaked and cold, in the middle of a new and unfamiliar city. As we continued into town, we had an epiphany: the churches! Surely they had churches we could stop into and admire the architecture? By the literal grace of God, St. Patrick’s church was only a few blocks away from the station.
The alter in St. Patrick’s is so ornate!
Many of the churches in Cork are so well-kept. From the outside bell towers to the wooden pews, everything appeared so meticulously crafted and placed as to assure worshippers that they were praying to their God. The architecture is spectacular! And the bells can be heard all throughout the city. St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral was a personal favorite, although it cost a staggering 7 Euros (6 for student discount) just to enter! It towers over the surrounding landscape like a grey giant over small white and blue dwellings.
St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral is DEFINITELY a must-see!
As we continued our walk around the city, we noticed an odd comparison: Cork reminded us of how Pittsburgh was laid out. For many Americans who have been to Pittsburgh, the mountainous terrain followed by blocks upon blocks of buildings narrowly hugging the riverfront may sound like a familiar sight. Cork, although slightly more flat, still gave off the Appalachian vibe.
We must have church-hopped at least five churches throughout our short time in the city. At the very end of our journey, we wandered back into the midst of town where Joe directed us to Nando’s, a Portuguese restaurant chain. I got to eat some rice, chicken, and these little Portuguese pastries called Pastel de Natas. The meal was incredibly delicious, although I was reminded that I have no spice tolerance after a good number of bites and sampling.
Despite the not-so-ideal weather, Cork was a great last-minute day trip thought up collectively by our bored minds. Even though we spent most of our time indoors in the various churches, we still had a spectacular time learning about the city’s history, layout, and landmarks. For anyone traveling to Cork in the future, there are some tips: 1) do not swim in the river, it looks more polluted than the Chesapeake Bay. 2) Check out all the churches, and 3) Get some dinner at Nando’s!