The Music is Rad and the Lights are Pretty
One of the aspects that has allowed for me to really integrate myself into the culture of Cork is its vibrant music scene. I’m a public relations officer for UCC’s Live Music Society, so that has introduced me to loads of local acts (and also all of my Irish friends). Every couple weeks we hold showcases in a venue called Cyprus Avenue downtown in the city center. They feature bands from all sorts of genres and some of them are extremely talented. The coolest part is being in a room of only about thirty people and hearing quality bands that could some day have their big break. Last week, I went with a couple friends to see Tradiohead, a group that does Radiohead covers with Irish traditional instruments. The lead singer was terrible, but it was a great experience all the same and one I probably couldn’t have had anywhere else. Guinness Jazz Weekend was pretty incredible in October. Thousands of people came together to listen and play jazz for four days straight. There was seriously music everywhere, all the time that weekend.
I’ve learned in Ireland that I’m going to continue to have adventures and be exposed to new things every single day, even though I’m living in Western Europe, which could seem not a significant adjustment from U.S. My adventure today was handing in a paper for my Introduction to Irish Traditional Music class. That might not appear to be very exciting, but bear with me. UCC’s Music Building is located off campus and has become a bit of a joke, “Ah you have to walk all the way to the music building, I’m so sorry.” As someone who gets stressed about punctuality and finding unfamiliar places, I had been thinking about handing in the paper for days. I looked on Google Maps about 4 times, double checked the secretary’s office hours, and started walking about 2.5 hours before it was due (it should only take 20min to get there). I don’t have a smartphone, so it was up to my memory to find this place. I just had to walk through the park, across the river, and take a right and I should get there. Easy enough right? In the midst of my stress, I realized what a beautiful walk it was. The leaves were colorful, I crossed an old creaky bridge, and suddenly had the best view of Cork City. Once I crossed the river, I began walking on Sunday’s Well Road, hoping to see a big “UCC MUSIC BUILDING” sign right away. That didn’t happen. I kept walking for a good 10 minutes and still no sign of this infamously far away building. I began to panic (even though I still had 2 hours) and was in the middle of texting some friends in the class when I heard music coming out of a gorgeous church-like building. I wandered inside, and yes this was the UCC Music Building. No sign on the outside of course.
On Sunday night, there was the annual Christmas Light Ceremony in Cork. It was scheduled to happen at precisely 6:30pm, but typical Ireland, it was delayed. The main street in town was entirely filled with people singing Christmas carols, with children on their shoulders. Finally they turned the lights on and it was the coolest.