Cork Gaol – The Ultimate Timeout

It’s become a bit of a tradition for us to take the hop-on hop-off buses when we visit a new city. As I’ve mentioned in the past they’ve proven to be a good way to get around and by definition they tend to stop at many of the places you might want to visit. Besides, who doesn’t like driving around in an open-topped double decker with the wind in your hair. 


Of course, sometimes you need to sacrifice the freedom of your own seat in order to get a decent view.


Despite our appreciation for hop-on hop-off buses, as I mentioned, Cork is a pretty walkable town. The result being that we didn’t do a lot of hopping. We enjoyed the tour around town but our real goal was a visit to the Gaol.

Closed in 1923, I’m sure it was a scary place to be sent when it was in use. Now though, the grounds at the entrance are quite pleasant and when you arrive hand-in-hand with a toddler it’s not quite so bad. 


The Goal offers a self guided tour. Essentially you can read little tidbits of history from a pamphlet at different markers while slightly creepy mannequins play the part of prisoners and guards. 


I’m not sure if it was the eyeballs at the Blarney Castle, but Ella was convinced some woman with a camera was following us. 


Ella’s a pretty well behaved kid, but even she needs the occasional timeout. What better place than a prison cell. 


Of course, when she’s really acting up, who doesn’t dream of outting their kid in a pillory. 


The tour didn’t take long at all, which suited Ella just fine. She was far more interested in the rocks in the gravel walkway than the prison itself. Unfortunately, for her at least, we cut the rock inspection short to catch an earlier than expected bus and headed back downtown. 

After strolling around town for a little while, we came across a group of twenty-somethings who were juggling. Ella is a big fan of juggling. After standing and watching for a while, she decided they were good enough to deserve her full attention so she sat and joined them for the show. 


We decided to go to Greenes restaurant for dinner. Not far from our apartment, it seems to be a sister restaurant to Issac’s where we had eaten the night before; both are connected to the Issacs Hotel.  

With several “best places to eat” award stickers in the window we figured it was worth a shot. It also had a small waterfall in the courtyard of the restaurant, complete with fake ducks floating in the water. How could that not be good?

Side bar, since I forgot to mention it in my previous post. Highlight of the previous night’s dinner? Asking Ella if she wanted to try some duck and her responding by smiling wildly, quacking and flapping her wings. Fortunately, she did not connect the dots. 

Back to Greenes. We arrived just before they opened at 6:00pm so they asked us to have a seat in the bar area to wait. Fresh off the excitement of juggling, Ella was in no mood for sitting still. Worse, they brought out a high chair and we had the nerve to suggest she not sit in it until we actually had our table. As is the only logical reaction to this series of events, Ella lost her s**t. The grumpy old couple waiting with us seemed none too impressed. 

When we did get our table, Ella wanted to show them that there were no hard feelings. As we passed their table she paused, looked at them and dropped a crumpled up pamphlet for the Cork Leisureplex that she had snagged from the lobby. Clearly she felt they needed to hit the Leisureplex for some lighthearted bowling to take the edge off. 

The food at Greens was fairly good, though not really worth writing home about…so I won’t. I was a little surprised that they charged us around $10 for Ella’s mini risotto, but it was tasty. 

The table next to us had a couple who were there on their first night out without their three kids in 5 years. After eyeing Ella for a few minutes, the woman eventually said, “Forgive me, but I have to say something. Is she always this good?” We laughed and said that we were very lucky, which we are. Of course, we also know that the grumpy couple behind us likely wouldn’t agree. To be fair, Ella had sat quietly for nearly two-hours while we kept her fed and entertained. It’s a lot of work making sure that others have a pleasant and relaxing dinner.

By this point we were ready for a rest so we headed back to the apartment for bath and bedtime.

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