Cork, Ireland is a pretty amazing place to be living in. For starters, everything is within walking distance for the most part, and if it’s not, then there is great public transportation to get around. I love how easy and laid back the city is and how friendly everyone is. If I ever have a question about where something is, I know someone will be willing to help me out in this city. It is full of friendly people who are interested in hearing personally stories.
That leads me to the walk that I took with my friend Sam. Although I probably could have wandered by myself, I decided to go with Sam as we are still getting to know each other as well. I think going through new experiences is the best way to meet and learn about a person. We both live in the same building so we started outside of our building. The goal was to end up in the city center, which we did eventually, but ended up taking some detours. I remember the fresh air smell outside as it had just stopped raining. There were clouds in the sky and it was a little cold outside. We decided to take a detour to a park that is nearby where we live called Fitzgerald Park. This park was full of children and families having a great time playing outside. It reminded me a lot of the park that I grew up going to actually. We stopped to talk to a man who was from Slovakia and has been living in Ireland for 10 years now. He had some great insight with a perspective coming from an outsider who has been living here for a while now. It was great to hear what he had to say about Ireland and Cork in general. It made me think a lot about what Slimbach said, “Our actual entrance into the community requires that we venture out to observe everyday life, interact with strangers, and slowly absorb an alternative reality” (182). I agree with this statement completely because I feel that you have to make an impact while being here. You can’t just live in your own world, you have to go out and experience what the new land has to offer.
As we kept moving a long toward the city center, we passed many shops, pubs, and restaurants. One thing I love about this city is that it feels like many different types of cities in one. It has the classic European side streets that make it feel like you are in a movie in Paris. It has lush green land to make it feel like you are on the countryside. And at rush hour here around 5:00pm, the streets get very busy with traffic making it feel like I am at home in Los Angeles (although a lot less people). Continuing on with our wal
k, we passed a man playing the accordion on the street. We stopped for a minute just to take it all in as this is not exactly something you hear everyday. We finished in the middle of the city and had a great lunch while listening to live music from a festival that was going on that day. This walk taught me so much about the city in general, but also about the people living here which is very important. I hope to take many more walks like this in the future.
The book I read is called, “McCarthy’s Bar” by Pete McCarthy. It is about the journey that Pete takes through Ireland, starting in Cork. He has one rule, which is to never pass a bar with his name on it. For him that means lots of stops and lots of people to talk to. He encounters various situations throughout the book and talks to many different people. I liked it because it gave an inside scoop on Ireland, giving experiences from a different perspective. I also liked reading it while being here in Ireland and having gone to some of the areas he went to like West Cork for instance. It made the situations feel more real to me.
I chose this picture not only because it is so beautiful and one of my favorite places I have seen in Ireland, but also because to me it means that there is beauty far beyond what we can see. We can only see so far, but who knows how amazing it is past where we can see. It just means that there is so much more to learn and experience here and in the world in general and I can’t wait to see more!