City Girl Guide: What’s new in Cork City

If you like a larger City Girl Guide of Cork comment below. OR an even Larger City Girl Guide to Ireland–that is something I love to try but would take a lot of time–comment below letting me know what you would like to see.

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I always say a lot can happen in a day. I also said how Cork needed a doughnut shop well in my 5 months away from Cork not only did a lot happen they got a doughnut shop–TWO! You could prob hear my frustration. There was not much new in Cork, my favorite places were still there and it still rained a lot. It’s Ireland. But no worries I saw that the door changed, I saw the new sign and I noticed the new menu in Silly Goose. Because details and little things are what I pay attention to.

First, lets talk about the doughnuts. There are two: Huckleberry’s Doughnuts & Oh My Donut. I kept hearing about them because I kept telling people about my frustration “the IMG_8720minute I leave they get doughnut shops”. And I have gotten not so happy reviews on them–there over price, the doughnuts are all the same, and one places get their doughnuts made by one of the grocery stores. It’s like walking into the English Market and buying over price fruit they got from Tescos (true). So, I wasn’t too keen on wanting to spend 4 euros for a doughnut that wasn’t even made in the shop. But, after having a doughnut-themed cake in Silly Goose –the ice cream really helped, and need food the next morning; me and my bet friend bit our stubbornness (mine lets be honest) and went into Oh My Donut.  I’m a classy girl who just wants a plain chocolate doughnut–which they didn’t have so I went with a plain doughnut to my surprise had jelly in it–I wasn’t pleased.IMG_8569

Local doughnuts are a trend, even here, there are some popping up–and I wouldn’t call myself a doughnut girl–I usually get doughnuts when I’m starving for food. So, I couldn’t be a doughnut review person–what I will say if it’s going to be a hype thing it better be worth it.

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The next new thing are the shops . The new building around the English market and Patrick’s Street, is getting close-to being finished  No one really knows what’s going to be in there for businesses or shops. Can definitely say Forever 21 is not coming to Cork? Which to be fair, I’m over the cheap, not even well-made, bad ethics shop anyways. I’d stick with Penny’s. I am getting really into ethical fashion and buying lasting pieces. Another shop which is across the way from the new high-rise building (it’s probably 10 floors), is Sostrene Grene (the sisters Grene). Which is a little bit like Tigger but I say a little bit more for the mid-twenties and mothers. This place is like  IKEA without the furniture. Look at the pictures below to see more:

I love shops like these, they make me want to buy a loft and just go nuts!

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Building being built is on the left in reflection

Having all these new things pop up in Cork is always a good thing, so many abandon buildings and Cork is a great city that deserves it. These new building and business coming to Cork hopefully means a vibrant, things to do, variety, kids have places to go and things to do, and maybe outside of homes will look nicer (because if you ever walk around Cork, or really any city in Ireland you see outside of homes are no flower gardens–and that has a lot to do with housing and renting laws they have–I don’t know much but I’ve listened and experienced.)

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetThe one thing that worries me about all these new things is losing what I love about Cork which is how Irish and true Irish it really is. There’s a few tourist shops and pubs that are gear towards tourist but that’s it, I’m also worried about having it become Americanized, no TGIF or Hardrock cafe’s please. This also means its up and coming people will want to live there–meaning rent will go up, which I am experience in Minnesota to be a real pain in the bum of economics. And you know a lot of this is just how life works and how countries evolved. But, don’t forget your roots.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetOverall I was quite excited for all the new things Cork had, the new menu at Silly Goose, to the new art around, and the shops. I will say the big advertising and selling point for things is to make it “Instagram able” and me being 25 years old knowing how far we come, cringed yet gets excited towards that word.

I’m excited about the things Cork had and I wonder what they well have when I come back as long as Monday club is still there, the drinks are still good I’ll be happy and there is no TGIFs.

 

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Hidden Places of Cork

If you are someone who likes to find the hidden places you never really see, the places that are not always all over Instagram. Someone who needs a  place to just sit and be this post is for you. I am someone who just loves to wonder, I’m very adventures and I find myself in the most random places. I also am someone who just needs to take a moment and while living in Ireland for two years I found that really helped me.

hiddenplacesofcorkSo, if you are ever in Cork and want to see some unusual and off-beat places in your travels or if you live there and want to just know of a place this list is for you!  Most are in Cork city others are on in the county of Cork but I say exactly where they are.

IMG_3793Jumping the fence: I found this place when I was living in college buildings on my walk to the gym, the walking path near the Kingsley hotel. There is this fence that you can easily jump that takes you right by the river, and near a small little damn. There are other people around fishing. I usually liked going there in the evening to sit watch the water move and take some time to myself.

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetSecret places of Gtown: In Garretstown is a beach outside of Kinsale, through Ballinspittle and it is a pretty cool beach, one to walk. But there are a lot of hidden, or open places. There is this small patch of a “cliff” don’t really know what to call it but it’s way up high with open space all around it, and its right near the staircase, you just climb up to get there. There is also hidden staircase between the two beach. That takes you down to another beach which during high tide is not there, but if you climb on some rocks off the side of the staircase you are able to sit. there is also this little grass patch on a “peace” of land where I use to lay in the sun with Scruff after our walks. I found a lot of hidden places in Garretstown, some are harder to explain exactly where. So, if you ever make it down there, go exploring, especially during the low tide.

0488F29E-4358-4F2B-8F5D-533B8ED2D3FDCave: I found this at the second beach in Garretstown. It’s on one of the cliffs walking paths, you just got to keep going until you see this open “beach rock” area that is “none existence” during the high tide. But when you go down there, it’s so LARGE and your voice echoes. It’s a great place just to be and feels so small.

Processed with Rookie CamRandom apartment building: When living in the college housing I kept seeing this old building–people said it’s hunted  that nothing is up there. So one day I took a long walk to the place to go see. Never realize this part of Cork excited I found that it was an apartment building, that still needed some work, but had a great view of the city.

09A195E7-045F-4EB3-8769-4CADCC167482White Bridge: Now in Fitzgerald park you might see this white bridge, it’s through the skate park and the walking path takes you right into the city. But there is this spot where you, of course, hop the fence and get closer to the river. There garbage everywhere and signs of people probably hanging out there at night, and a lot of these spots are probably that but I go during the day. So no issue.

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A far drive
: This is outside of Bantry, in a small town called Glengarriff. There is this little woods park, that has boat tours taking you to the islands out on the water. When went it was off season so there were no boats, but it honestly felt abandoned little dock in the woods. I really liked this area because it reminded me of being a kid running around the woods. I felt like Peter Pan.

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Not So Hidden but great escape: Elizabeth Fort, on top of Cork away from the city sit the historical Elizabeth Fort. For more information about the fort check out there site. I like going there because its not only something to do, you get a great view of the city and sometimes you need to just sit back take in the view.

 

I found there are a lot of places in Cork that no one really knows of, or only locals know of. I found them while walking the streets, I could try to tell you them all but then it’ll get confusing especially if you haven’t been there before. I say if you are traveling, visiting a city, or going on a road trip stop and pull over to the side and adventure off. Spot the off beat path that only a few people have been willing to take and take it, it might lead you to the most amazing hidden places of the world.

 

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Happy St Patrick’s day: A list of what you should know about Ireland from my Irish friends

I am not Irish at all, I would tell people.

IMG_8530In recent research of my dad looking into my grandpa’s family background, we apparently have roots. I have like a grain size of Irish in me–yeah I’m still not Irish. Before moving I didn’t know much about Ireland except there were no snakes. I wasn’t even sure if they would have my shampoo. I soon realize how silly I was.

As I lived over there I found myself learning more about Ireland and the culture by being able to live with an Irish family, making friends with Irish and hanging and participating in what I referred to as “do what the Irish do”. So I could tell you exactly what you should know about Ireland but I thought it would be a better than my perspective and ask my Irish friends what people specifically America’s should know about Ireland. And today being St. Patrick’s day- where according to my dad everyone is Irish here’s a list of things to learn and know about Ireland.

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Leprechauns are NOT real
Don’t just go to Dublin- there is more outside of Dublin
Need to go to the countryside
The idea in people’s head isn’t real
Social Drinkers
St Paddy’s day NOT Patty–St. Patricks or Paddies day
more graves than births
we are great craic
very friendly
GAA is a big thing here-Gaelic athletic association of Ireland
Hurling is number one sport they have county teams that don’t get paid but are like professional players.
Some schools play Field Hockey
Gaelic is Irish there is no Irish and Gaelic.Because you have Scottish and Welsh Gaelic too!
They have to learn Gaelic in school
Primary school is elementary school
We say “like” a lot, especially at the end.
Breeding Horses

Laid Back

MMA  grew in popularity cause of Conor McGregor
We love just having a good time.
Everything is in Gaelic and in English for example road signs, signs for the bathroom etc. So when coming to Ireland expect to see Gaelic.
Name’s–how many times names are miss pronounce. Here are some examples of names and how to say them: Caoimhe (“Qwee-va”) Sinéad(shin + aid”), Aisling (ASH-ling)–my firends name and I just call her Ash cause I get it wrong, Aoife(EE – f ah), Seán(sh-aw-n ), Eoin/Eoghan(Oh-un), Saoirse (seer-sha)

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I did write once a St. Patrick post but that is now deleted. My experience with Paddies day has always been filled with memories and drink. And I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick’s day. If you are in Ireland for the day, go to a local pub and sit in there for hours (best experience I ever had). It’s my first year in a long time not in Ireland for today and I know its going to be very different. I hope you liked today’s blog post I really wanted to write this especially from my friends perspective.

Like and Comment letting me know or if you have any questions. Or if Irish and like to add something:)

Be kind and don’t forget to follow A City Girl Story on Instagram, Facebook, and Boglovin.

 

sláinte,

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Disclaimer: for the possibility of someone seeing the negative in this. I want to write this because for the first times I was living there I was told “you think this don’t you” and I could feel the frustration in my friends about the stereotypes or what people think is Irish or Ireland, thus I wrote this to clearr up the stereotypes and what people might not realize.

My Story: I left my heart in the place I am not from.

 

Travel wasn’t something new to me but living abroad, doing it all on my own was new. I had no connection to Ireland. I choose it because it was the only place close enough to travel to where they spoke English. But, once there I was able to find myself.

905733_10153569957578463_1303521142866637654_oTwo years ago I took the biggest risk of my life and moved myself to Ireland. I’d been there before studying abroad, seeing all the top tourist spots which included the Cliffs of Moher, Guinness factory, and the Ring of Kerry. Scared shitless with no clue what I was going to experience I took a chance on the place I did not know.

I wanted not to just live in Ireland but experience Ireland fully. And I did. The two years I lived there I got more out of it than I would have gotten out of living back home for the rest of my life. I lived in Cork, the second largest city in Ireland and what a lot of people from Cork would call the real capital of Ireland. Cork is a small city with a festival happening, what seemed to be, every weekend. I especially enjoyed Jazz Festival at the end of October. Each street is unique with its own look  and you really get a neighborhood feeling to each area of Cork. 

13244237_10154011599858463_610501070930410632_oI’ve taken many road trips by car or by bus around Ireland. One day when I was living outside Kinsale I decided to take a trip up to Galway. It was going to take me three buses and a lot of waiting around but I would be there by dinner time. Sitting in the bus station waiting for my bus I felt at home, I was doing something I knew what to do. I watched as a variety of people, locals and tourists, came on and off the buses. There were several homeless people hanging out at the bus; I’d seen them before. Sitting there I realized that this city had character just like any metropolitan city. You wouldn’t expect this when you think of Ireland. My first expectation for Ireland back in 2013 was from the movie PS I Love You; I expected a lot of green, and no snakes. But as I traveled around, took my courses, and spent time in Ireland I realized there was so much more to this place than the view.

But the view wasn’t bad either. If you are ever in Ireland you would know what I am talking about; the rolling green hills, seeing such a distance with clouds hanging above. It wasn’t in the middle of now where it was in the middle of somewhere. And even in the middle of a city you would notice it too. Climbing to the top of Patrick hill you not only see the city but in the distance the horizen with a view of pink sky as the sun set.

13458707_10154096826648463_3534706272630644938_o…Finding myself…

One night, after an evening out with friends, all dressed up, our make-up still in tack, our hair ruined by the rain, our six inch heels now in our hands, we were bare foot heading down the street.  Never had I put on heels or thought I would get this dressed up but here I was enjoying every minute of it.  There was something inside of me growing. I was becoming someone different, someone I was always supposed to become. As we sat on the curb waiting for the taxi to come I realized this was what it meant to feel like one’s self.

I began to find myself, as I walked around Cork, and sitting where the sea meets the shore. On a boat ride to an island with no cell service, making friends with dogs, walking dirt roads. Laughing with strangers who weren’t even strangers.  I had been a girl who was never known by her name, yet in the local Centra and in the pubs they knew my name. I now had my places to go, the city was my castle.

13522698_10154117420373463_5671095346358497523_oI was finally living for the first time in my life. You could find me in a garden on a swing set with my feet flying in the air. Going for spins around the parish. Running for village queen. On a bus driving across the country with One Republic playing in my ear while I watched sheep graze in the fields. None of it was getting old. I was falling for those eyes that looked at me. Finding self love. In a pub making out or out for the bants. Making memories and chasing sunsets with long time friends. Sitting on my own in a park. Climbing the highest point.  If I never came we would have never met, but my life without them seemed impossible now. I found myself in every inch of Ireland.

But…. I also left my heart back in Ireland. Leaving behind all those memories and people, the places, everything I had seen. It was like my whole self was taken away from me when I left them behind.  I lost myself in the place I was found.

And now after 5 months later I am going back.
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A walk through Cork City




Walking down The Cornmarket Street midday, the sun is out and so is everyone else. Cork is filled with characters; everywhere you go, on every street, there is something and someone different and interesting to see. I pass Lidl where a variety of people are coming in and out, there are a few people visiting catching up on their lives. There are two men in nice slacks, standing next to a stand full of  religious pamphlets. I keep walking, passing one of the many local breweries, Rising Sons, where I meet a Newfoundland dog. I pick up a little chat with its owner, talking about how to pronounce Newfoundland and how I prefer big fluffy dogs or small ones like her chihuahua on the table. I say thank you and keep on walking. The daily little market is just closing up, people are out cleaning and walking around. I stand waiting to cross the street to head across the walking bridge. Theres a man next to me dressed all in leather, he must be warm but it’s not humid here, I thought. The light changes and I cross the street, looking back the man is still standing there. I go across the walking the bridge. Once on the other side of the bridge I go up the steps to the Shannon area where there are a few younger adults, around my age, in track suits chatting away, enjoying the nice weather. I turn to walk along the river towards Patrick Hill.


Cork doesn’t have neighbourhoods; it has streets. And each one is different with a variety of things to do. Take Opera Lane, it’s the high street for shopping. Oliver Plunket, the 2016 top street winner, has a variety of Irish themed pubs, small local shopping and is where a lot of tourists go. But there are other local streets like North Mall that has small little pubs and places to eat. 

As I look across the River I see the Opera House, the large TOPSHOP sign, and most of Cork city. The sun blinds me as I admire the city I love. Cork is completely Irish with local chippers and pubs. Its a city of its own; it is filled with culture with local theatres like the Everyman and festivals almost every weekend. Jazz Festival is coming up, the most popular and top festival in Cork; everyone around Ireland and the world comes to it. Every pub, every venue, every place has something going on. 


A lot of people come to Ireland and will only visit Dublin. And Dublin is a character in itself, but just like other major tourist cities like New York, London, Paris, its not only busy, but it meets tourist standards. Cork is starting to become more tourist friendly and meet the standards by having Starbucks on every corner, but the locals aren’t having it. They still love the indie, hipster, all Irish places, which keeps Cork, Cork.


I get along the streets perfectly fine, I get no trouble from anyone. I am also quick, knowing exactly where to go and where to avoid the crowds. I know how long the lights will take and when to take a chance. I move swiftly along the edge to get around a group of people taking up most of the walking path, making sure not to get hit by a car. But, I trust enough that I wouldn’t.  Running across the street to the Spar, grabbing a few drinks I head back to my hotel room to get ready for my one last night in Cork. 

The night life in Cork is as interesting as the day life, so many people, each street offering its own kind of night. There’s a little hidden away pub on Patrick street, very low key, very dark and hipster. I’ve gone to it once and have passed it many times. There are also historical pubs like the Oval, and dance clubs like Havanas, Voodoo (not my scenes), and new places popping up all the time with the new late night roof top bar Tip Top that is next to Bishop Park. 

I get back to my room looking out over the top of the city I just walked through, wishing more people would see and experience Cork the way I’ve seen it. People should take a minute and get away from the tourist streets, and take a walk around the city see to see it for the first time maybe. Or sit outside at one of the many local pubs and breweries enjoying a midday pint or something to eat. Go to the theatre or sit outside the local library with a 99 and people watch because there are a variety of people to watch. 

All dressed I put on my high heels and go out to spend my last night in a city I know and love. 








What I liked about doing a masters at UCC.


Okay, the thesis is handed in. Can I know say exactly how I feel about going to UCC, in Ireland and if it was worth it?

Well, there will not be any bad things said. Education is important, even though I struggle it is still important and I feel like the things I’ve done, the opportunities I had, and what I’ve learned was worth it. And I would have not gotten those things if I didn’t get my masters from UCC. Before I even started I remember people asking me why are you going there? What are you going to do after? Here are the answers you are looking for.



The Program:

The program is fairly new to UCC. And of course there were a few things I questioned, like why is this required and why isn’t there more to do with this. Nothing is perfect. But it wasn’t geared towards only fiction and what people may think of when going into creative writing. If you are wondering if I was going to write books for the rest of my life. The answer is no. I took a variety of classes like writing for media and for radio, and also food writing. They all allowed me to see what writing in all forms can involve, which I liked because although I really love writing stories, the career I want is in writing in media, advertisement and creating content.  I learned I enjoy creative writing in media. 


To just say it because I know people will ask- even the TSA guy asked why couldn’t you nanny in America-why didn’t I do my masters in America?  I couldn’t do it in America because there was no program like this. I wanted a program that fit my writing skills, my writing ability, and what I wanted to do with apply my major and minor. I did not find an MA creative writing program in America that did that; they were in other programs but I didn’t have the portfolio or the background to apply for those.




University College Cork:


The thing I liked about UCC besides the buildings were the opportunities it provided. I was thinking today about how at some universities a lot of the tuition goes to sports. And even though UCC, even UL, have sports teams there was no home coming, there was rarely excitement for the game. I didn’t even know if there was a match to attend; you either had to know people or be on the team to know when a match was on. I liked how UCC was focused learning, getting involved with society that were your intreats/field, though it did have social events like rage week. (UL I liked better with RAGE week because it had activities on campus).  I like they had not only a school newspaper, but school run magazines and online platforms that I used and connected with. There were a lot of clubs that brought a lot to the campus like evening talks from bloggers, writers. And others besides writing and media but those were the events that stood out to me. 


While at UCC I used my resources and went to the library often to read and write. I got involved the way I know how- I didn’t do athletics but I joined societies, the photography club for instance. I wrote a few articles for the Journal societies website. I also was an editor for the literature journal, and did my placement at a conference that was held at UCC. 
The department were very friendly, the lectures were there and approachable. We only had 22 people but my lectures wanted to know us and go for a pint.  
I will say this the office hours were not good closed for three hour lunch break?

Ireland/Cork:


There were other programs in Ireland I considered but like I said UCC’s creative writing program was the perfect one for me, but having it in Cork was also a main reason. Cork was also near the family I worked for and had become my family away from home. Cork was a city I knew and liked living in. Ireland had become a place I loved and had developed a deep connection to. Back in 2013 I said I would attend grad school in Ireland and I did.  I won’t go on because I could go on.  I couldn’t think of anywhere else that was perfect. 
 I would highly suggest doing a masters if can abroad because it will not only make you stand apart but allow you to get something more then just a university education. you get a world education as well.

All in all

I put myself out there when attending UCC not only in writing and networking but also in Ireland itself. I felt like watching other people in similar situations I felt like I was doing it right , maybe for me, I was doing what the Irish do, becoming Irish. I was’t just learning or traveling, I wasn’t staying in one group, I wasn’t following. I was doing me and it pay off- even my friend told me that I wasn’t like others that come that I got involved in more ways then one.
I highly suggest doing a masters, going a broad and if at UCC you wont be disappointed. just make sure you put yourself out there.
xox
kole

Cork Like: Places in Cork you probably didn’t know about.

 

I am at fault at this as well, going to the same places you always go. It’s just following what you usually do; you’re use to it and have gotten to know the people. But, there are some great places in Cork City and the around area that you should try. I know I’ve mentioned a few of these places but not in depth. This is a really random list but these are the places I’ve gone to and wish I had gone to more often.

 


The Courtyard of Sober Lane:
I didn’t know about this place until one day I went on a sunny Sunday evening for a casual pint. My course mate recommended it so I goggled it. It looked like a place that wouldn’t actually exist, it seemed very digital. I couldn’t think of where it could possible fit in Cork City. But there it was in a small little court yard, with a pizza hut, umbrellas, and picnic tables. It can get quite busy but it can also be very quiet. It’s away from all the other places in Cork, down a small street on the edge of the river. I love this place especially when you just want to sit and chat when I don’t really want to deal with craziness.

Public Library:

This might be a weird one to be on my list. But I like libraries. It’s not even the books that get me, it’s the way it looks, and how they make me feel. I like how you can just sit and relax while in a library. And a lot of the libraries in America have become so modern that I feel they have lost this feeling. Where this one’s completely like what a library should be with its 90’s look on top of new technology. I have been going to the UCC library all year, so when I finally went into the public library I just loved it. The windows on the 2nd floor are great to sit and work near because of the natural lighting and a great view of the city and the people. It’s a great place to just sit and do some work without having to spend money at a coffee shop.

Traveling Bookshop:

We know all about Waterston and Easons. But if you go down Washington Street, over the Wandesford Quay, right next to the car park sits a cute book shop. It is filled with classic books and unique ones as well. The shop fits it’s name because visiting it makes you feel that you not only are traveling to different places but through time as well. It seems like a book shop that would have been around in the 20s when literature was at its peak. It’s a writers and a readers dream shop.

 

Poet’s Corner Cafe(Kinsale):

Now this is away from Cork, out in Kinsale, but it is worth the trip. Kinsale is known for its places to eat. But I have to say the friendliest place in Kinsale is the Poet’s Cafe. The owners are so nice, and the coffee is priced reasonably (you can get a stamp card, too), and most important there are books everywhere. It’s small, but the atmosphere and the service make you feel like you are home. It is my favorite place I have been  in all of Kinsale.

 

Tip Top:
It’s a night club and I usually don’t go for trendy places. And I know what you are saying, pubs like Reardon’s are trendy and we can have a debate on that. Tip Top is a new late night bar next to the city park; it looks over it. Is an actual rooftop pub that isn’t just a smoking area. It’s cute, quaint, and is typically packed. I really liked it the times I went. It has good music. The DJ is a big fan of Snoop Dog. Despite being packed, it’s a really cool place that I enjoyed a lot. They have swing benches, too! Try it out!