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Adventure in Kinsale

Today’s blog was contributed by choir member, Milena Gligić.


I am in love with the music that I get to sing with St. James’ Choir, particularly the music of Jim Buonemani that I believe should be on everyone’s choral playlist! I feel like every concert that we sing is as much for us as for the audience and that’s the true beauty of music making.

Our last concert before heading out to Galway was at the gorgeous St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral in Cork, which reminded me so much of Notre Dame in Paris. The cathedral dates from the 7th century, but in the 19th century it was reconstructed in French Gothic style, hence the resemblance, I suppose.

After our performance, Ian, Luisa and myself went through the colorful English Market in Cork, and bought some gourmet chocolates. Then we found a place in a park nearby where we had snacks accompanied by serious, deep and life changing conversations. To top it off, Ian added some lively improvisations on his mandolin, in Irish style, of course. This tour became an opportunity for us all to get to know each other outside of the context of St. James’ in Los Angeles. It has been a truly wonderful experience so far. People are opening up and I feel like we’ll be much closer when we come back to LA.

The most fun part of the day started when the three of us decided to go and explore the town of Kinsale, south of Cork. We got on the bus and an hour later we arrived in this colorful town on the water.

First we went into a nearby gift shop and the Polish lady that worked there was so nice to give us a map and suggest the we should go and check out the Charles Fort. That was a 30min walk, she said, and on the way there, there is a beautiful restaurant with great food. Even though it was gloomy outside and the rain had started to drizzle, that didn’t stop our adventurous spirit and we started our journey.

At some point I jokingly said that maybe we’ll meet a good soul on our way back that would give us a ride and spare us the long walk in the rain. “Ask and it will be given to you.” As we were checking out a possible shortcut on the road, a car stopped next to us, a lady came out and asked what we were looking for. We said that we were going towards the Fort. She told us that it’s already closed, but that there is a nice restaurant on the way there. We said that that’s exactly where we were going and asked how long the walk is. “Maybe 20min”, she said. We thanked her and the man driving the car, and started walking further, but they stopped next to us again and offered us a ride. How wonderful and unexpected (or was it?)! We sat in the back seat and had a few minutes of nice conversation with the true Kinsale locals. They arrived to their destination and sent us on our way further.

This was my favorite moment in Ireland thus far. The overall impression I get from Irish people is that they are warm, genuine, hospitable and willing to go out of their way to help a stranger. I have not yet seen a single person get upset or annoyed and there is no: “you have to” or “you can’t”. I also love their sense of humor, which is, like my own, extremely sarcastic! They love to laugh and make jokes about everything. I feel like I’ve found my land! 🙂

We finally arrived to this beautiful restaurant, Bulman. The view of the sea was wonderful and we decided to go for it and order what our hearts wished for.

After the dinner we stopped by to check out the Charles Fort which, even on the outside walls, turned out magnificent. This is the view at 9:20pm, by the way!

We walked back to the bus stop with our hearts and stomachs full, knowing that this is one of the spontaneous adventures we’ll remember and appreciate for the rest of our lives.