Sunday, 9 September 2012

Week Three: Butter and Bells

Today we adventured around Cork, exploring two sights in the city: one a must-see for any visitor, and one recommended to us by the Loyola students who studied in Cork last semester. We went to ring the Shandon Bells and to the Cork Butter Museum. Compelling as the Cork Butter Museum may seem, this is the one that was recommended to us by our friends from home as something that we couldn’t live in Cork for four months without seeing, and at the very least we would get a good laugh. With an entrance fee of €2, that was reduced to €1 when the man working at the reception desk saw that there were seven of us, and a décor dating back longer than any ever should, the Butter Museum was quite an experience. We watched a twenty minute video on the production, selling, and consumption of Kerry Gold Butter. We saw genuine bog-butter, butter that has been preserved for hundreds of years in a peat bog. All in all it took us about a half an hour to thoroughly examine every inch of the museum, but it was well worth the price of admission. To the girls who studied in Cork last semester, thank you for the recommendation. The Cork Butter Museum was a once in a lifetime experience, and we loved it, ridiculous as it was. On a serious note, the butter in Ireland is the best butter I have ever had, and I think I will be forever comparing America’s sub-par butter to the delicious Kerry Gold that we’ve experienced here in Cork. After the Butter Museum, we walked over to the Shandon Bells. These are the bells at the top of a clock-tower at the Church of St. Anne, which is just across the river and up the hill from our apartment. After getting our tickets, we were handed big earmuff-like objects to block out the noise of the bells. Because, to get to the top of the tower, you actually have to climb through the space where the bells are and if you aren’t wearing this protective gear, you could lose your hearing if the bells were rung while you were in the room with them. After this initial warning, there was no more mention of this. No signs that said to put them on at any point. No warnings about the bells. So we climb the stairs to the first level, where the bells are actually played. Next to the pulleys is a song-book with many popular tunes, including Amazing Grace and the Wedding March. We tried our hand at a few of these, and then made our way up to the top, literally climbing through the bells to get to the tower above them. At the top, however, was the most beautiful view of the city. You could see the country in the distance, and all of the city buildings closer to us. This was also my first (of many I’m sure) experience in Cork that tested my ability to handle my fear of heights (which is pretty intense) but it was well worth it and I would definitely recommend the Shandon Bells and the Cork Butter Museum to anyone visiting or living in Cork. Suffice it to say, this would never happen in America, but that’s what I love about it. This day, the trip to the Butter Museum, the climbing through a bell tower to see the most beautiful view of Cork, was a purely Irish, purely Cork experience, one that we never would have been able to have at home. 

No comments:

Post a Comment