Follow the Giraffe - Fota Wild Life Park

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March 14th 2010
Published: March 21st 2010
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Work has brought me to Cork city and has also given me new opportunities to blog new places without getting on a plane or costing all that much. My days off are now full of plans to see a county I barley know anything about. Last time I set foot down here I was a child and my one memory was visiting Fota Wildlife Park. So where better to start my new adventures around the Rebel County. Cork so far has been excellent. It’s like a big Galway and small Dublin. It has probably got the best shopping street in the country by a long mile and each side street is filled with little café’s and excellent restaurants. We are working our way through the early bird menu’s, where you get three courses for €20. The people are friendly but sometimes I have to ask twice when they talk, as the accent is a bit different and fast! In one restaurant we went to the credit card machine was out of order. The lady, who was very trusting, said we could return another time and pay or whenever we got a chance! You wont find that in many places.

We left Cork city and followed the pictures of Giraffes on the sign posts all the way to the park. My one memory of Fota Wildlife Park many years ago was Ostrich eggs. I remember seeing them and thinking feckin’ hell or whatever way a kid would put it. This time there were no Ostrich’s (that I could see anyway) but the was plenty of other animals. One thing Fota seems to do is only accommodate animals that can fit in to the environment. One of my favorite animals I saw there was Boris the Bison. Boris best days are well behind him but he was clearly leader of his pack, or what ever the word is for a group of Bison. They had a hill to climb to get to where they were been fed and it took him a good few minutes to walk to get to it but when he did arrive the Bison all parted and let him straight into the food. It was like they knew what was best for them.

After feeling sorry for the ageing Boris we moved on and next up were some really stupid comments from both myself and Michelle. I the far distance we could see some Giraffe. One giraffe in particular looked a bit different and I was unsure if it was real. I asked Michelle and she said of course it is you ejit! Next thing a child came flying out of its ass! We both cracked up laughing at what we had saw and soon realized it wasn’t real. We found out later when we got to it that it was a life sized Giraffe that was a slide for children. Michelle better not call me an ejit again! Then it was my turn. When we saw some penguins I turned to Michelle and said to her that they are “better in real life”! She looked at me puzzled and said did you just say that. I’m afraid I did. Even though they were real, what I meant was seeing them in the wild is better. That’s real life!

We did get to see some Llama as well, which reminded us of South America. I commented to Michelle that I was glad I didn’t wear my Llama wool jumper, so as not to offended, but she rightly pointed out that its not like I had ate one. Actually I did and its quite nice with Quinoa! The monkey’s as usual provided the best entertainment. There are plenty of Gibbons here and luckily we got to see a new born. It was funny to watch it play, just like any child would, and be curious about everything and anything. There are not huge amounts of animals here but it is definitely worth a visit. €13.50 to enter isn’t that expensive and it makes for a nice stroll in the day time. They do have Cheetah there and at 4pm every day they have a Cheetah run. This is where they put a dead chicken or rabbit on a high wire and move it across the Cheetah enclosure. It sounds like teasing but it actually helps the Cheetahs maintain some sort of normality. Its all about the chase.
After leaving Fota we went to Cobh for a quick visit. Home to where millions left Ireland in search of a better life and also the last port of call for the famous Titanic. While walking the streets we were given a voucher for free coffee in a local café. The traveler in us just couldn’t resist the temptation of something for free and leapt at the opportunity. We plan to return to Cobh again soon and visit the museums there, depicting the departure of many Irish, most who never saw their homeland again.

So Cork gets off to a good start. My list of places to visit has grown and grown. While we try to rebuild our funds to expand our global travels, Ireland is providing us with the necessary fix that we need. Next up is a visit to Charles Fort. I had never heard of it before and from what I can see it looks pretty impressive.

In a bit. DH

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