After having successfully procured both boots and a rain jacket, I had stopped in to talk with Mary, a dear lady whose mission in life is to look after the poor bedraggled international students that wash up in Cork. We had met the week previous, and she was on a mission to find me a permanent place. She took me up with her to talk to some of her friends, then she went to track down more friends while I started calling and emailing some of the various contacts she had scared up for me. I struck out, but last night, the night before we all left for Dublin, she called me triumphantly.
“I think I found a place for you,” she said. “It’s about ten minutes away from campus, fifteen from city centre. Someone just dropped their lease. I’m going to email you the information now.”
The apartment was a shared one (which I was somewhat expecting), although it was designed for four people to share an apartment, rather than two or three (I really didn’t want to live with more than two other people). Still, it was a place, and it was decently priced, so I sent in my information, then started packing to move because, well, the next day was time to head off to Dublin, and we weren’t set to return until late Saturday, and I needed to move on Sunday.
We were set to meet the bus on Saturday at Gaol’s Cross (read: Jail’s Cross), which I had trouble finding due to Google Maps only knowing it by its alter-ego, Gaol Crossing. Fortunately, Leili walked that way every day, so we went with the old fashioned phone call for directions. When I got there, there was still enough room for us to score not one but two rows, meaning each of us got a seat for ourselves and one for our bags (which, if you’ve never had a long bus or plane trip, means you can actually curl up in the fetal position and sleep flat. I learned this on a red eye to West Point about a year ago.). We texted back and forth a bit (talking was out due to the loud mouths sitting in the back row of the bus–more about them later), then finally settled in and listened to our own music in our own little worlds. It is about a three hour bus trip from Cork to Dublin, and we were going to be making a few stops once we got closer in to Dublin. Thus we rested, dozed, and, just as we were all pretty much asleep, had to wake up if we wanted anything from the rest stop we stopped at. It was pretty much like a mall, so of course everyone got out, got something, then we plodded on.
Our first stop was at Trim Castle, which, incidentally, is featured in this film:
Yeah. Apparently they couldn’t find a castle in Scotland.
Anyway, the history of the castle is quite interesting, starting out with Hugh de Lacy building his capital there, and then all sorts of sibling issues and besiegements and other wonderful infighting among the English lead to its eventual decline (which oddly enough, preserved it in a fairly decent condition). It has multiple levels, and the stairs are stone, spiral staircases with uneven distances between each stair. This is quite the pain if you are a visitor, but I suppose for people that climbed the stairs regularly, it would be something you would get used to. The stairs were also handily designed so that, if the castle was attacked, the right-handed assailants would have trouble fighting on their way up, as the stairs turn in such a manner that right handed people are disadvantaged (for once, justice for us lefties! Of course, this advantage is then lost coming down the stairs, so I suppose I will submit that it is all a wash and left-handed people still live in a world that is heavily biased against them).
Once we got to the top, we hung out on a the roof for a while and took in the view. It really is pretty from up there. But Tomas goaded us all back down the stairs, threatening that we would miss lunch if we didn’t hurry, since the bus had to be on time. Next stop, then, would be Newgrange.