Alright…I haven’t exactly been neglecting my blog. I mean, I have, but for good reason. Since the last time I posted I think I’ve lived enough adventure for a lifetime. I have to get out there and do things so I have something to entertain you all with, right? So now that I’ve justified my two month hiatus, let’s get back to it.
I think I left off with RAG Week. I eventually recovered from that week of insanity and moved onto St. Patrick’s day. I’ve learned that no special occasion in Ireland is limited to just one day; St. Patrick’s day warrants another several days of celebration. Two friends from Marist were in Cork for the week and staying with Marlene so we made sure that they got the full Cork experience, complete with live traditional music, the Brog, and of course, a rowdy St. Patrick’s day. I didn’t know exactly what to expect from St. Patrick’s day here but I was pretty excited for the parade. The parades I’ve grown up watching in Albany have always been pretty cool and I was excited to see how it compared to the one in Cork. I was pretty surprised; to be completely honest, I think the Albany St. Patrick’s Day Parade actually blows Cork’s out of the water. It was actually kind of lame. But to be fair, St. Patrick’s Day the way we know it is a very American thing. The parade was mostly groups of people walking in costumes with signs depicting their nationalities…Polish, Chinese, Serbian…it was more of a diversity parade than a celebration of Irish heritage. It was also pretty easy to spot the Americans in the crowd…they were the ones wearing Irish flags as capes, shamrocks painted on their faces, and wearing green head to toe. The actual parade was lame but the rest of the day was pretty great; lots of places had live music and fun celebrations going all day long. St. Patrick’s day is a bank holiday in Ireland so the streets were flooded with people all day long. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen that many people in Cork. It was ridiculous.
The day after St. Patrick’s day Marlene and the visiting Marist girls jetted off to London and I was left alone with my intimidating pile of papers and studying. I spent the next few days not sleeping, chugging coffee, writing thousands of words on Irish culture, and owning my finals. When it was all over I celebrated my 21st birthday! A lot of people have asked me if I would have rather spent my 21st in America, where it “means something” and my answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. Let’s be serious…Poughkeepsie or Cork? Yeah, thought so.
My roommate Colleen and I both had birthdays in the same week so our friends threw a little party for us. They got us a cake and some celebratory wine and I received a “kiss me, its my birthday” pin and a shot glass necklace….all necessary 21st birthday items. It turned out to be a great night; I may have not been able to celebrate with all of my friends and roommates from home but putting all of that aside, it was an absolutely great birthday. What made it even better was that my mom arrived in Cork the very next day, just in time for my actual birthday! She arrived in Cork on Friday morning and I showed her around the city. She constantly freaked about crossing the streets and thought everything about Cork was absolutely precious (she’s right). After a complete tour of the city we decided to find a restaurant for dinner. I did the stupidest thing possible and brought her to Captain America’s, a place where she can get a real Irish culinary experience…not.
The next day was my actual birthday! We headed to Blarney Castle, which was still a lot of fun even though I’d been there before. It was a lot warmer this time and there were some flowers in bloom. We took tons of silly pictures, as my mom and I usually do, and walked around the grounds and castle. She didn’t even scream when she kissed the stone! Very proud. Afterward we wandered around the town a little before heading back to Cork. We decided to go out to dinner for my birthday at a cute little Italian restaurant (I’m really great at choosing anything but Irish restaurants). Turns out every other person in Cork celebrating their birthday also chose to eat there. The piano player played/sang ‘happy birthday’ SIX TIMES that night. Every time he played the opening notes the entire restaurant started laughing. We ended up talking to the family at the table next to us for a while and made friends with one of the waiters who had just come back from New York (and talked our ears off about it). The food was delicious, the wine was great, the people were awesome, and I loved having my mom in Cork for my birthday. Next stop: London!