Friday, 16 December 2005
Across to Cork, Ireland where I was met by Tony, in preparation for an evening with a few friends. We drove first to the Clarion, which is a new hotel in the centre of the ever changing city. Cork seems really 'European' now, with the extra building, style of new cafes and bars and the quite cosmopolitan mix of people.
Tony and I first went to the Clarion's bar before heading on to the Long Room, where we met the others. Catherine seemed to be in charge and Mark was already experimenting with port and brandy cocktails. I decide to start more gently. Seamus is there, along with Mick, Colm and Ronan and after saying "Hi" all around we get ready to move on to the Ambassadors for dinner. By the time we arrive, Angela has already got the table arranged and we all sit together to enjoy a Chinese meal and catchup on gossip.
Much later, we leave the restaurant and rejoin the busy late night streets of Cork, in our case on the way to the tiny Hi-B bar, upstairs near to a hairdressers and hardly announced except for a well worn mosaic floor square at the entrance. The bar is packed, we start off standing and eventually squish ourselves together around a tiny table to finish the evening. In the morning, I will be on the first plane back to London; in just a few hours.