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A Visit to Cork

Dinner in Cork – April 2007
We’re invited out to dinner
We were invited out to dinner with friends. They called for us at the hotel and first, there’s a bit of time, let’s go to a bar. So we walk to one of their favourites and I have a pint of Beamish stout as that’s the local brew, but no one else seems to drinking Beamish – disgraceful. Busy bar with people of all ages, we join a table of youngish people speaking Spanish.
Then to the restaurant which was very good quality, French-style, I had a timbale of salt cod Irish-style and then three of us had breast of guinea fowl for mains, Michael opting for a lamb steak with a kind of puff-pastry crust which he said had been flavoured with mint, possibly his choice was the classier one, though ours was very good, and anyway, the French don’t eat mint with lamb – possibly they do more so now, but Asterix the Gaul says they don’t. Service, French style, was quite slow and along the way we got through two bottles of Lebanese red wine. Then it came to dessert and Michael said to the waitress, do you have a dessert wine at all? And so it was glasses of sweet dessert wine. And then when we eventually left at about 11.30 the female half of our hosts suggested that we’d need a nightcap and she thought the bar next door was still serving, so she went in and checked and sure it was, and so along came another bottle of red wine and four glasses, not cheap, €27, and after a walk by the River Lee, watching a heron fishing in the darkness, and bumping into some friends of our friends and a chat at about 1am, we eventually got to bed at about 1.30.
In Ireland, go with the orange white and green
In Ireland, it’s like Italy, you just have to go with the flow. The main difference is that in Ireland this flow seems inevitably to be accompanied by a vast amount of booze. The other difference is that whereas Ireland’s flag is orange, white and green, Italy’s is red, white and green. The main similarity is that the place operates in a state of surprisingly efficient chaos. And they both begin with I. As does India, whose flag is also orange, white and green and where also there’s no avoiding the chaos. So now we know, it’s the flag and the initial letter what does it.


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