Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cork and Limerick

Tuesday, County Cork, Ireland.

Here's how I do it.  Once I'm checked in I look at the local Boozer, or "What's On" magazine and if they're not available do an internet search to find a local pub or restaurant that sounds interesting.  Make myself a cheat sheet or just jot down a couple of names and addresses (instead of carrying around the tourist book).  Instead of taking a cab there, I hoof it.  First, I need the exercise after sitting in a car or in an office all day and second, It gives me the chance to learn the lay of the land (as long as I don't get lost).  As many of you know, I'm comfortable walking for hours if it seems like there might be something interesting around that next corner.....

Add to that the fact that there's a lot of turnover these days with local pubs so sometimes what you read ends up being different than what you find.

Another consideration (that I always manage to forget) is that unlike the States, most bars don't serve food.  Or, if they do it's only for a short period of time (i.e. 12:00-2:00 and 6:00-8:00).  The dynamic that this creates for a foreign traveller is that you walk into a bar, order a beer, ask for a menu to find out they don't serve food.  So you go to the next bar that has a menu out front (after finishing the beer you ordered), order a beer, ask for a menu to find out they're not serving food anymore.  This is how you end up having 3-4 pints and a bag of peanuts for dinner.  Hey, if it was good enough for monks, it's good enough for me!

To start, I went looking for a restaurant called Jaques afterward I figured I go to a bar called An Sailpin Fanach known for local music.  Couldn't find Jaques, so soldiered on to An Sailpin.  Well they weren't open yet but The Oval across the street was.
Entry is through 2 half width french doors, only one of which opens.  Then there's a heavy red velvet curtain you have to push through.  Glasses fogged up, I make it to the bar and order the first handle I see, a Guinness.  That's when you heard the needle scratch off of the record and silence.  Looking around I notice that there are lots of couples clustered around candle lit tables; girl-girl, guy-guy, girl-girl-girl, guy-guy-guy-guy.  "One of these things is not like the others" and that one thing is me.  Nice bar you fags have here!

Next door, Canty's looks like the stereotypical Irish Pub and it is. 

Over at An Sailpin Fanach the band still had not arrived so I called a truce at 9:30.  I had to be up early the next day for 2 customer visits.  Just enough time to shoot back to the hotel for a bite and bed.

Across the street (it's a "T" intersection) is the Counting House which is under renovation.  This was a 17th century brewery.  They also sold Porter from London and when the shipment was held up they decided to brew their own.  The result was Beamish.

I found Jaques on the way back (1 street over) and guess what?  They weren't serving dinner any longer.

Sainte Fin Barre's Cathedral.

Dams on the river Lee.  Cork is an island in the middle of the river.  Some of the river is beautiful and other parts (within downtown) are purely industrial.  I appears though that they're trying to reclaim some of the industrial building and renovate them into cool shops but at this point, with the Irish economy things could go either way.

The bridge between Camden's Quay and Merchant's Quay (on the island).

The UK and Republic of Ireland (√Čire) have an annoying law that requires them to dispense liquor in 35ml jiggers and then into your glass.  A good bar will dispense over your glass and continue pouring simultaneously from both from the bottle and the jigger into your glass.  A hotel bar delivers this when asked for a whiskey and soda.  Just enough to color the bottom.
In an unexpected upturn to dinner in the hotel bar... The woman sitting next to me (with her boyfriend) coughed and sharted!  Loudly!  You want to know how I know?  Because it was loud and totally unexpected, and after the prerequisite 1 minute wait she went to the bathroom to check things out.  To make things even better she came back, sat down and said "can we just forget that happened"?  Not a chance in hell, especially if you keep bringing it back up.  You know you sharted, I know you sharted and your man definitely knows that you sharted. 
I can tell you one more thing.  That thing that you though you were going to end your evening doing?  Not going to happen, no way, no how.  Now take your greasy ass home and take a shower.
She spent the rest of dinner looking around to see if anyone would acknowledge the event (why do people prolong the embarrassment like that?).  I couldn't help giggling to myself, thinking about this blog update.

Wednesday, Limerick, Ireland

Not really in Limerick, but on the way.  Tough to drive a stick and snap a photo but I tried.

Settled at the hotel I decided to strike out to parts West for dinner.  There's a bar in a 300 year old Granary called the Club House and a local bar with sawdust on the floors called Nancy Blake's which is known for local music.
Well, I can't find the Club House and in the process get completely lost.  Vanity and the decision not to bring the guide book (and map) has come back to bite me squarely on the ass.  You know you're lost when you find yourself walking along the backside of a prison!  Even if the prison's secure and even if they don't release felons from the front gates (lousy assumptions because it isn't and they do!) good people don't buy houses by prisons!
Just before I took this photo I saw a shadowy figure and a dog under the street lamps coming towards me.  Much to my relief it was a pensioner and a Spaniel, not Bill Sykes and his mean Terrier.

I finally stopped into a pub for directions (and a pint).  Turns out I'd walked through and then around the city.  I ended up parallel to my hotel about 6 block North.  The good folks at the Saint George set me straight after a Guinness.

4 blocks West, one block South and I found Nancy's.

Big tented garden out back where the bands play (and where the patron's can still smoke legally, kind of).

Band setting up.

Irish dinner, Guinness and a cigarette.
Having seen much of Limerick I think that I'm going to pull up stakes a day early and head straight up to Dublin after the customer visit.
Initially I planned for two days in Limerick so I wouldn't feel rushed to get on the road.  On workdays I don't get out before dark anyway so it's not ideal to see the sights (unless those sights serve beer).  Instead I'll shoot North, get settled a day early, work from the hotel and not have to go anywhere.

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  1. Really, a picture of a rainbow in Ireland??? As if us Americans didn't already have the preconcieved notion that it's always St. Patrick's Day and everyone runs around drunk on green beer every single day of the week. Did you happen to snap a picture of the pot of gold or the leprechan? I was told all leprechans are all originally from Ireland

  2. 35 ml"s is a shot???? The birthplace of wiskey and they will only give you 35ml's. Ok then just make it a 140 and charge me for 70. Cheap Irish bastards. Chris P. The above was me too

  3. I'm going to see if they have lucky charms for breakfast too.

  4. One of my Irish counterparts, Aiden O'Gorman didn't get the green clovers and puple diamonds reference. Thought taking pictures of rainbows and leprechauns was funny though.