Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cork Culture Night

The different cities in Ireland have a designated night to celebrate culture in their particular city. Cork's Culture Night took place about three weeks ago (September 20th) and it was really great. For the month that I've been here, I've seen a bunch of different things in Ireland itself, but I had yet to see very much of Cork City outside of the main shopping streets. So I was itching to go to Cork Culture Night. The basic setup is that participating locations around the city stay open much later than they normally would (11 p.m. compared to 6 p.m. mostly) and they offer different things to see and do. For example, the City Hall Atrium was open, several churches were open, the theater was opening (I think they were showing a production) a TON of art galleries participated, as did Cork City Gaol, Michael Collins Barracks, the English Market etc. There were about 90 different locations that people could have visited that night. And it was all free, so you didn't have to pay to visit any of the locations. The city also had a bus service that rode around all night taking people on different routes to the various places, which was also free and incredibly convenient. And, possibly the best part, on the buses there was live, local music. As in musicians with their instruments on the bus playing while the bus takes you to the wherever you are visiting. It was incredible. I went with a friend to a few of the places. We first walked to the Cork Butter Museum (yes, it's an actual thing) which was actually very interesting and cute. The deal with the Butter Museum was that Cork was strong in butter/dairy production years and years ago (I suspect it probably still is to a certain extent), and the museum was dedicated to that. Then we walked to St. Anne's Church, which has the Shandon Bells, but it wasn't open quite yet. We then walked back to the city center and got pizza for dinner. After that, we walked through the English Market and bought some cupcakes and pastries because it was "pick 5 for 5 euro" deal and I'm a sucker for pastries, so we couldn't pass that up. We ended up getting on one of the Culture Buses, intending to go to the Michael Collins Barracks, but they Barracks were closing about 20 minutes after we would have arrived, so we just stayed on the bus. Which was actually perfectly fine because the musicians playing on the bus were great, so we just rode the bus around for awhile. Then we finally got to the Shandon Bells and proceeded to walk up a TON of stairs to get to the very top because the view of the city was supposed to be absolutely spectacular. I was NOT disappointed. We got to ring the Bells on our way up to the very top, which was really cool. When we finally got to the top, the view of the city was incredible. It was dark and the city of Cork was all lit up and it was absolutely gorgeous. So all in all, Cork Culture Night was a really excellent experience and I felt like I got to know the city of Cork a bit better, which was one of my goals while I'm here in Ireland.
                                                           Cork Butter Museum (my picture)
                                Cork City from the top of the Shandon Bell Tower (my picture)
Cork City from the top of the Shandon Bell Tower (my picture)

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