Third Year History/English Trip

English / History Field Trip January 2017

By Aidan Booth, Third Year

We awoke at twenty past seven on a dull Monday morning. We hurried downstairs, grabbed breakfast and rushed onto the bus for eight o’clock. After about an hour and a half, we were in Cork city. After a little confusion, (a few beeps and shouts from other drivers…) the bus driver found the correct entrance to Cork City Gaol.

I was a little disappointed by the fact that there were no real prisoners there, but I soon got over this. The current prisoners at Cork City Gaol are made of wax! Our tour guide told a little of the life stories of some of the Gaol’s previous inmates and told us what went on in particular cells. The cells were small and cold with only a piece of thin cloth on top a timber board for a bed. The prisoners worked all day and were given hardly any food. After a look around the prison, we headed on to our next excursion.

We were all a bit peckish at this stage and so decided to whip out the packed lunches. We strolled down the hill, across the ‘Shaky Bridge’ to a near-by park where we had our lunch and played a bit of soccer, before looking in the nearby Cork City Museum.

The performance of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ was awaiting us, so we trudged through the city with our tired legs. When our bus driver drove past us, we tried to flag him down for a lift. I was delighted for about five seconds until Ms. Foley said ‘No, we are walking!’ I couldn’t wait to just sit down and watch the play. I found the nearest Centra and loaded up with food before taking my seat in the Firkin Crane Theatre.

The first thing I noticed was that the actors were not wearing period costume and there was no discernible set which disappointed me, but what really struck me was that the director had cast ‘Antonio’ (the eponymous merchant) as a girl. There were only about six actors in total and it lasted about an hour and a half. Overall, it was not as good as I had hoped but I was impressed by the actress who played Portia!

At the end of the play, we participated in a workshop. There were some ‘banger’ questions from Cormac Fallon which the actors found difficult to answer which greatly entertained us all! Why the director cast ‘Antonio’ as a girl is still a mystery…

After we left the theatre, we stopped in ‘Dino’s takeaway for the ‘best chips in Cork’

Thank you to Ms Foley, Mr Duffy and Ms O’Brien for facilitating the trip.

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