Cork is Ireland’s third most populous city — slightly bigger than Madison, and also a university town. It was initially established as a monastic settlement by St. Finnbar, for whom the cathedral here is named. it was granted a charter by King John in 1185 and, along with much of the southwest, has long been a bastion for rebels and rebelliousness. the Cork harbor is the second largest natural harbor in the world, after that in Sydney.
Cork is also home to a sizable university and classes had begun the day before we arrived. we went out for a drink in a pub in the center of town and it turned out that on Mondays they have pub quizzes! as big fans of such activities, Nicolette and I ponied up and got to participate. the other teams came up with quite an array of names, some witty, some scandalous, some corny, and some not so much. it didn’t bode well that the first question (given as a throw-away easy one) stumped us entirely. (who did Cork beat to advance in the GAA finals? the match happened two days earlier; Cork beat Tyrone.) we certainly didn’t win anything, up against Irish college students, passionate about their trivia and armed with iPhones, but we had a great time and generally impressed ourselves with the corners of our brains from which we extracted answers.
just as the quiz was wrapping up, a horde of students walked in; we learned from one of them that classes, in fact, began that Monday. and all these students, wandering in to a pub at at half ten, eleven o’clock on a Monday (when bar time is half eleven or midnight …), not only were they American (one was wearing his Greek letters — dead giveaway), but they were from the University of San Diego. Nicolette travels thousands of miles to get away from life in San Diego, and we end up at a bar with a gaggle of San Diego students.
but never fear, none of my other pub experiences involved Americans on such a massive or undesired scale. 🙂