This past Sunday we took our first independent day trip! Look at us. Growing up in Ireland. Our trip two weekends ago to the Cliffs of Moher was on a guided tour bus, so this weekend we decided to trust ourselves and plan one on our own. And believe it or not, we were successful for the most part! The Cobh crew included Maggie, Laura N., Taylor, myself, and a newly-made friend from Norway…I asked her to pronounce her name for a second time, but I couldn’t even give you a good guess as to what it was, let alone how to spell it. She approached us after getting off of the train all on her lonesome and after that, the 5 of us spent the day together in Cobh. It was freezing, but a lovely city nonetheless.
Since it was up to us, we definitely didn’t leave before the crack of dawn. We left around 10:15 am. We knew the general direction of the train station and knew the train left at 11:00. Luckily you never really need to know the directions, because the locals on the sidewalk are basically your personal GPS. When we needed additional directions, we simply stopped an elderly man on his morning stroll through Cork and he had no problem telling us where we needed to go. We actually made it there on time with about 4 minutes to spare! Bought our train tickets on an electronic machine and were good to go. €7.70 roundtrip to Cobh.
We were in Cobh about a half an hour later…just in time for Catholic mass at St. Colman’s Cathedral. A magnificent cathedral. I am not Catholic, but the other three girls are…so at least 75% of us knew what to do/say. Growing up in a non-traditional, non-denominational church, the Catholic format was much different than what I am use to, but it was a great experience nonetheless. I’ve gathered that it is rather impossible to heat a cathedral of that size…so I was grateful for my hat, gloves, and coat. None of the congregation unbundled. They were well prepared. Oh and on the hike up the hill to the cathedral we were able to see some wonderful views of the city and sea. And out of no where appeared this cute cat! So friendly. I held him. He purred.
After mass we headed to the Titanic Experience. A Titanic museum/interactive tour. I have never watched the Titanic, nor do I plan on doing so, but it was fascinating in a somber way. The museum is located in the original White Star Ticket Office in the city center which was originally known as Queenstown. 123 passengers boarded the Titanic from the Queenstown port on April 11th, 1912. We each received a replica ticket with “our” name on it. Each of us were one of the 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic that day. I was Delia McDermott. Age 31. At the end of the experience and museum we found out whether or not we survived and additional information if any was known. One of the best museums I have been to. I’ve never been a huge history person, but when you’re literally in the same exact place that the history you’re learning about took place, it’s impossible not to appreciate it.
After the museum we headed straight for some lunch. It was crazy cold out. The extra wind off the coast, on top of the winter weather, was brutal. We walked a bit and stopped at a cute little Bistro. We were about the only people in the restaurant, which alludes to nothing. It was one of my best meals I’ve had thus far. Philly steak panini with some peppers and sauce, and vegetable soup (their standard soup). We have chicken noodle, they have puréed vegetable. Everywhere. Oh and I tried some tea. Being in Europe, I’ve decided I have to start liking either tea or coffee. And after tasting this black coffee, I’m pretty sure it just tastes like slightly tainted hot water and looks like something I would dye my Easter eggs in. I will persevere.
After lunch we walked around a bit and headed back to the train station. The train was leaving on the half hour. We thought. Stood out by the tracks waiting. Met some girls from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut (also studying at UCC). They thought the train would be there soon too. Nope. It never came. We found out that it has a different schedule on Sundays. But lucky for us, the next one was coming in about an hour. Oh and there were absolutely no people around to ask. No information desk. Nothing. So we went into the neighboring Cobh Heritage Centre which was full of little touristy shops…and bathrooms. So we were good to go! And I found a tin whistle there for €5.95. So that was perfect.