Cork City appeared to me in a dream. Flying out with the intention of staying ten days led to me living there for two years. Here is the story of how Cork City captured my heart, written from the point of view of a true Italian….
The call of Ireland
My Irish luck began with a dream. I’d be walking around an Irish farm with donkeys, sheep and suddenly I would see the whole thing. The vision at last: myself, never happier, playing the drums on a rusty stage in front of a bunch of people gently moving from side to side to the music, though I couldn’t hear a sound. Night after night I would find myself back in that dream. I had a friend of mine in Ireland, so I booked a return flight to Cork and I thought to myself: “In ten days I’ll come back to Italy…”
Cork City’s contagious vibes
I had just landed and I found myself on a massive stage, which the city had turned itself into, in order to break a record. They did it! On September 10th 2005, 7,664 participants (foreigners and Corkonians) took part in the largest Irish dance, an event organised by the Cork City Council. Such a unique celebration gives you an idea of how intriguing Cork City is or, at least, will heighten your curiosity. It was only my first day in the city and I was already amazed by a feeling of joy and well being. It seemed to be an easy place to fall in love with. This feeling of lightness kept filling my whole body throughout my stay. Despite its small size (according to the European and world standards), the lively atmosphere, the extreme friendliness, the high quality of life, the high salaries (compared to other EU countries) the restaurants, the brilliant nightlife, the dynamic approach to art and music, the pub culture, the bicycle paths and having most places at walking distance, all make Cork City worth a visit.
Finding a job was easy
I easily found a job after less than ten days. I couldn’t speak any English which didn’t matter since I started to work for the Italian market in a huge call centre. The company offered me to stay in a hotel, so I had a week to find a place to live in. I posted an ad on “daft.ie” and in two days I was in my own room. In the meantime the company looked after my bureaucratic needs and provided me with a Personal Public Service Number. Finding a job had never been so easy!
A stunning year of celebration / the dream comes through
At the beginning of 2005, Cork City officially began its year as Capital of Culture. I arrived in September and the atmosphere was still fantastic. There were four months left for that wonderful year to finish and they were still celebrating. I had left the real world behind me and from now on everything was possible. I spent two outstanding years in Cork City (I was supposed to spend only ten days in Ireland…) during which I worked in a call centre, I found the love of my life, I met some special people from all over the world who decided to settle and pursue a career, I played in a band, doing gigs all over the island and, most of all, I walked around an Irish farm, I played the drums on a rusty stage in front of a bunch of people gently moving from side to side to the music. Yeah somehow I magically did it! This rustic setting was identical to the one I dreamt of while still in Italy, except for the music which I could now hear and sounded like the missing link between Hank Williams and the Dead Kennedys. The vision I had was right: myself, never happier, playing the drums with that excellent band. Therefore I hereby declare: “Ireland is the place of opportunities! For those wanting to build up a career and for those who dream, Cork City is certainly the place to be!”
One man’s experience can’t speak for another
You may have read “The Woman and the Fat Hen” and “The Raven and the Swan” by Aesop. The first fable goes like this: A woman owned a hen that laid an egg every morning. Since the hen’s eggs were of excellent quality, they sold for a good price. So, at one point, the woman thought to herself, “If I double my hen’s allowance of barley, she’ll lay twice a day.” Therefore, she put her plan to work, and the hen became so fat and contented that it stopped laying altogether. The second fable goes like this: A raven was jealous of a swan’s white feathers, and he thought that her beauty was due to the water in which she lived. Therefore, he deserted the altars, where he used to find his livelihood, and flew to the ponds and streams. After arriving, he plumed himself and washed his coat, but it was all in vain. His feathers remained as black as ever, and he himself perished because he could not find his customary food. The two fables morals are respectively: “Relying on statistics does not always produce results” and “Change of scene cannot bring about a change of nature”. If you’re a wizened traveller you may already know these two main rules.