Today, we arrived in Ringaskiddy, in County Cork, Ireland.
It was a bit of a disappointment for several reasons…
Firstly, we were a little late arriving. We were originally due to arrive at 9am, but didn’t get there until 10am. This wouldn’t be a problem if we were going to be there all day. Unfortunately, we had to leave as soon after 2pm as possible, in order to arrive at Cardiff tomorrow morning at our appointed time (tides n’ all that), severely limiting our available time ashore.
Secondly; for some inexplicable reason, the Irish immigration authorities had also decided that everyone on board must be subjected to a face-to-face interview, whether going ashore or not. To allow this to happen in a controlled manner, folks were instructed to present themselves on deck 6 with their excursion ticket (if they were on tours), their white plastic cruise card and their passport, in deck order. This meant folks on tours were to be interviewed first, followed by people from deck 12, descending finally to deck 4 (that would be us, then).
Because of all this, we’d decided not to bother with a shuttle bus ride into Cork city, which would take thirty minutes each way; instead, we decided just to take a walk locally, into Ringaskiddy… as soon as we’d completed our face-to-face interview, of course.
By the time Deck 4 was called, Tracey went off first, to get her passport (because we’d forgotten to pick them up earlier), and have her interview, while I finished up doing some stuff online. On her return, I would then go and have my interview. When Tracey returned, however, she told me not to bother. Just as she’d arrived on Deck 6 for the interview, the Irish Immigration officers had decided they’d had enough, packed up and left; anyone who wanted to go ashore were free to do so.
So, we grabbed our cameras and went ashore…
As we’d entered the harbour earlier, we’d been enamoured by the little town of Cobh on the opposite side, which looked like a really nice, and interesting place. Unfortunately, the quay on that side had been taken up by a Holland America cruise ship (you can’t miss ’em – they look like a giant block of flats), leaving us with Ringaskiddy, which, sadly, isn’t a lot to write home about.
We were docked in a container port, beyond which was a small village, which is currently undergoing a lot of roadworks. On the plus-side, we clocked a pub as we walked, which would be perfect for a quick pint of Guiness on the way back (it being the law n’ all), but little else took our eye.
From the map (maps.me), we’d identified a possible point of interest; a tower of some sorts, located in the middle of a park. To get to it within our time limit, however, we would have needed a suitable shortcut, of which there were none forthcoming… so we walked to the beach (which was equally underwhelming), and then headed back again, towards the ship.
By the time we reached the pub, there wasn’t time to stop for a pint of Guiness, because of us having to get back to the ship to set the craft room up for my class in the afternoon. Then; just as I was still coming to terms with not having a Guinness, we arrived back at the quayside, just as two tour buses also returned back, at the same time, coincidentally, that they decided to re-adjust the gangway, so we ended up standing around for about twenty minutes, jockeying for position in a non-existent queue, in the hopes of getting back on the ship on time.
All-in-all, then, Ringaskiddy was a bit underwhelming and failed to light any sparks of Celtic energy or passion. It’s a shame, because I like Ireland, and Tracey hadn’t been there before. Had we been given a little more time, our walk might have panned out properly, or we could even have walked further and maybe crossed the bridge to Cobh (or even taken the shuttle into Cork). The good news is; we’ll be returning here in September on the Magellan, so we’ll get another crack at it.