Another day is almost done. We really only have six more days in country after today…time is definitely picking up speed, but I think it’s where we are and what we are doing that shapes our perceptions more than being near the end of the trip. A day talking about The Troubles with Jon or Richard seems much longer than a day sightseeing. But that’s not a bad thing at all. We deeply enjoyed those days. It’s just funny how long ago it has been. And how many people here in the republic are shocked that we went to “the North of Ireland.” … “Why would you want to do that?”
Today we visited the naval base and the world’s oldest yacht club … The Commander at the naval base was a spectacular host, we had a wonderful meal at the officers’ club, and promises to get us aboard a ship tomorrow weather permitting!! *crossing fingers*
At The Royal Cork Yacht Club we talked with the General Manager and another employee who gave us the history through current affairs. while it seemed like there were full slips, membership has suffered as a result of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger taking a nap. Or as one of our speakers said, turning into the “Celtic Pussycat”… It’s both obvious and strange to think of the economic flows and devastating ebbs of the economic climate outside our borders. Much like us, Ireland has suffered a “buy now, pay later” false boom with the inevitable collapse of such a system. During the height of the Celtic Tiger, Ireland had 100% employment rate, and housing costs (along with everything else, including minimum wage) on the rise. Large amounts of money lent to underqualified buyers, speculative building and high risk investment properties on the rise… Sound familiar?? Then it crashed.
We went to the Cork Heritage Center, which is actually a really cool museum. We learned more about the famine and emigration from Ireland, as well as a review of the Titanic…again… It is the centenary after all. 😉 There were parts where I started to tear up a bit. The closer you get to the reality of it, the more it just makes you sick. I was really excited and proud to find out that Boston residents took up the cause and raised funds and collected food for the people of Ireland, sending food, money and supplies of about 150k (in the 1800s that was a lot more than it is today). It reaffirmed for me the importance and continued need for humanitarian aid around the globe and t home. 😦
Later, we further explored the redefinition of the term “fast food” … In all honesty, the better part of our trip has been spent waiting for food. It is completely understandable when 17 people roll up and order simultaneously, but when there are five or six of us ordering what we would consider to be fast food, we somewhat expect to be served within 20 or 30 minutes. :/. This is us, with our first world problems. I remained patient, glad I get food, considering the trip earlier in the day, and vowed to keep this in perspective. I hope it lasts after I leave this land.
Needing a bit of a break, some of us participated in a trivia night. Considering everything (being Americans) we did pretty well as a team. We came in 15th place I think…out of 30 teams. Not bad, not bad. We had a music buff, a few of us general knowledge types, and zero representation for sports. However, one question was how many points is a touchdown worth in American football (ha!!) and I correctly answered the missing competitive swim stroke of those listed (answer: freestyle). One question I guessed randomly in an Irish “random” category ended up being right, but we didn’t write it down! Boo. Oh well, we still had a blast and ended up meeting some cool people.
All in all, good times…even if I’m not the hugest fan of Cork.