Throughout my trip I've been told again and again that the best way to see Ireland is by car. So, after a bit of deliberation, I decide to heed this advice, and once out of the ferry I pick up the last rental car at the station. It turns out to be really a great car, a Nissan Micra, and I have to agree, it's the way to go. On the way out of the ferry terminal I zip past a couple hitchhikers holding up a sign to Cork. Figuring the company couldn't hurt I hit the breaks and slide to a halt, and they quickly climb in.
One of the pair I actually saw wandering around Cherbourg the previous night, and the other I didn't recognize but apparently was an Irish lad returning home after a long stint overseas. We three headed off the narrow roads, toward Cork, the Irish lad's home town.
When we get there, he's so kind as to offer us lunch with his family, which turns into a free couch on which to sleep, and even free use of his apartment in town the next night. All in all, that paid off very well.
The picture is of this boy's apartment, which had undergone renovations in his absence. When he left, his hill-top room had a huge picture window overlooking the countryside - I can imagine it would have been an incredible view. However, one of the neighbors is really into keeping things as they were, and apparently the window was added to the original structure by someone with too many good ideas. Correcting for this, the neighbor sued the landlord into restoring the original look. Acceding to this lawsuit-happy neighbor, the landlord removed the beautiful window and installed a door. A door that, because he isn't really a carpenter but instead an ex-Hollywood set designer, is so cheap that when I stepped on the base it cracked in half. Of course people weren't actually meant to step there (it was only supposed to look like you could step there), because the door is actually nailed shut. Which I guess makes sense, seeing as how the door doesn't lead anywhere - the stairwell was removed long ago (apparently the lawsuit didn't demand replacing the stairwell, however).
As you can see, it's a huge improvement, and does a great deal to restore the feel of an old Irish town, wouldn't you agree?