Here is the second part of my Irish adventure.
This weekend I finally found the way to go to Fota House and Arboretum from Fota Island Resort, walking. I spent approximately 50 minutes walking from the Cork Hotel to go there, but I took the longer and more scenic route around the Resort, otherwise it usually takes just 15 minutes apparently. The Arboretum is really nice, full of lush vegetation where you can view squirrels, birds, ducks, flowers, rare trees and exotic plants. It is free to visit Gardens and the Arboretum; you just have to pay a small charge for the parking. I learned that those gardens were the property of the Smith-Barry family that used to live in the Barryscourt Castle located in Carrigtwohill. Actually the main function room in Fota Island Hotel is called the Smith-Barry Suite, after them; which I saw set for a wedding for over 300 people last weekend – Wow what an amazing Cork Wedding Venue !! Next time I hope I will go to visit Barryscourt Castle which will open on the 24th May. The motto of the family was “Boutez en avant” and means “advance boldly”. Fota Island Resort has the same motto on the main gates.
On Saturday I went out with my roommates to Cork City. We wanted to go to the Bailey but we could not get inside unless we were 21 years old, it was the same for Soho, so we went to Long Island. I drank Guinness again to be in good health of course. It is strange that nightclubs close at 2 a.m. because in France they usually close at 6 a.m. and we can go to most pubs and clubs at 18.
On Monday I spent the whole afternoon shopping with one of my neighbours. Even for a Bank Holiday almost all shops were opened and there were a lot of people on the streets. We went to a big tourist’s shop called Carroll’s to buy some Guinness tee-shirts, jewellery and course some chocolate. I am sure that lots of people will probably have thought that I should have got rid of my Irish stereotypes by now, but I have a good idea that Ireland is hopefully not just that. Next time I will avoid going inside touristic shops, I really would like to visit Cork City Gaol in order to know more about the history and heritage of the City.
Last week I noticed that a football team was playing at the Fota Island Training Facility. I was told that they were part of the Cork GAA football team. I also learned that they were famous in Ireland, but that they were not paid for playing football and that they are also working during the week. In France I think that most of the sport people are paid overall if they belong to a famous team that appears on television.