Christmas in Dublin is very quiet. All public transport is not running and almost all shops are closed. Last year we went to Amsterdam for the Christmas week. This year we went to Cork, dropping by Cobh and Kinsale. People in the office have been saying that I should visit Cork. It has a different vibe from Dublin
We stopped by Cobh first for lunch, it was too early to check into our hotel in Cork. The main attraction of Cobh is the Titanic Museum and to take a picture of the “house of cards”. Cobh was the last stop for Titanic before is sank. The Museum is a guided tour with limited slots and fixed time. We did not booked a ticket earlier and the next slot was 1 hour away so we decided to give it a miss. We walked down the hill along the front doors of the house of cards. It was a proper hike.
It was dinner by the time we drove up to Cork. We went around town looking for a restaurant to eat. Went to 5-6 restaurants and it is full. They cannot seat us without a reservation. At the end we had Asian food as we are already very hungry and disappointed. There is a main road in Cork that is connected to small alleys. There’s plenty of shops and a few old fashioned malls in Cork.
On the second day, after the visit to Fota Wildlife Park, we dropped by the famous Cork English Market. It is supposed to be the main attraction in Cork. We were already later that day and just make a quick walk around the market. I say it has a Penang Chowrasta market vibe but a lot cleaner. Wife said it looks nothing like Chowrasta.
Fota Wildlife Park
We spent a good 4 hours in Fota Wildlife Park. The park, more like a Zoo is HUGE and with multiple paths to take. The park took the effort to mark “recommended route” in huge signboard. So following that sign board will take you to the most optimal route in the park. The park starts with animals in Savannah. Then it goes to the Asian Sanctuary. I think that is the best exhibit in the zoo. There red pandas, rhinos and tiger. I also feel the have a huge collection of apes and lemurs. Since the park is huge, the animals have a lot of space in their enclosure. Weather was nice when we were there so really did not feel the 4 hours of walking.
In the park, there’s also a ride that takes people around the zoo. It’s €1 per person if you want to go half the park, or €2 per person to take the ride back to the starting point. We took the ride half way, then regretted since we have to walk back to see the Asian Sanctuary animals and walk back again.
It was already dark (due to the short days) when we arrived in Kinsale. Kinsale is known for their colorful buildings, so better if we would have been there in the day. I read there is a award winning Malaysian Restaurant called Malay Kitchen. Depending on how you walk in, the restaurant is at the end of a courtyard or the end of a tiny narrow backlane. Lady manning the counter is definitely Malaysian as I spoke to her in Malay. The nasi goreng has good sambal taste Char Kueh Teow is average. She also has some malay dishes, so we ordered beef in soy and pepper sauce.
Driving from Kinsale back to the highway in the dark is a challenge. Roads are not lit and there’s not much traffic near Kinsale. Most roads in Ireland are not lit and is a single lane road.