Even when it rains... Cork’s still beautiful

Student ecologist and writer RICHARD GORDON continues his series this week as he explores the natural beauty within 5km of his home in Cork city. Today he writes about his visits to The Marina/ Passage Railway Greenway, during lockdown
Even when it rains... Cork’s still beautiful

Wooded Canyon. Pictures by Richard Gordon.

HEAVY, heavy rainfall has frequently battered the ground of Cork city over the past weeks.

There were days when barely a crack of cloud opened over the rolling hills of the city. Days when grey skies seemed to stretch out forever. Days when the world around us seemed flat, with no light or shadow to break up the monotone of a dull November haze.

The first day I decided to take a stroll down by the Marina was a day that encapsulated the strange and unrecognisable 2020 we’ve been having. Cork and Kerry were playing in Páirc Uí Chaoimh; a match that would normally draw thousands of spectators to the ground. A game so embedded in the culture, you’d feel it in the air all over the city.

The pubs nearby would have barricades outside them to prevent patrons spilling out into the roads. Small vendors would be selling flags and braided cotton wool of county colours. Red, white, green and gold would be seen everywhere.

But, on this day, it was different. Instead, it was quiet. A modest amount of cars were parked outside the ground and surrounding streets were empty with no sign of a mass gathering nearby. The floodlights were pounding down towards the sod of the pitch, illuminating the dense precipitation filling the atmosphere.

The absent roar of passionate fans filled the stadium seats with hollowness. Instead, just an eerie echo from sideline staff shouting instructions to their players, the referee’s high-pitched whistle and the odd collective yell of triumph or complaint.

A strange feeling indeed to think of an empty stadium surrounding this classic, beloved titanic clash. A few stragglers strolled around, those who dared to brave the rain, but the area felt far more empty than it felt lively.

Nonetheless, life goes on. As we get closer towards the end of this lockdown, normality lies hopeful on the horizon. It’s been wonderful too to see Douglas Village shopping centre open its doors again after the devastating fire it suffered last year. A taste of normality yet to come, and just in time for Christmas.

It shows that no matter how big the problem may seem, with time, diligence and hard work — things can be repaired.

Walking around the Marina and Greenway this time of year has been a treat. Although it’s been difficult to find clearings in the clouds, I managed a few times — otherwise, the umbrella was in hand.

One of Cork’s busier areas to walk around, families are often feeding birds at the Atlantic Pond. As are cyclists peddling down the Greenway and couples power walking along the Marina for some evening exercise. I visited the area every day for ten days. Here’s what I saw…

Location 3: Day 21 - 30 Directions: There are many access points. There is convenient parking just by Páirc Uí Chaoimh – a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Pond.

Chamber of Floodlit Echoes.
Chamber of Floodlit Echoes.

Chamber of Floodlit Echoes

A strange sensation to feel the emptiness of the stadium when two mighty rivals clashed.

 Bridge For Two.
 Bridge For Two.

Bridge For Two

I’m sure this couple has crossed many a bridge together.

Magic at Dundanion Bridge.
Magic at Dundanion Bridge.

Magic at Dundanion Bridge

To think this colour change to the leaves signifies they’re on the way out. With one final burst of vibrancy they say farewell and return to the earth. A young couple stop to admire. How could you not?

 Autumn Anoraks.
 Autumn Anoraks.

Autumn Anoraks

Two young boys out for an autumn stroll in the most perfect attire of the week. Flecks of gold fell from the tree as they walked into this postcard —right on cue.

Wooded Canyon

Lady sees what I see, the light of dusk dusted across the tree canopy.

The Most Golden Hour.
The Most Golden Hour.

The Most Golden Hour

The “golden hour” occurs twice daily. It’s when the sun is low in the sky; either at sunrise or sunset. The light is softer and warmer then. With yellow maple leaves scattered like autumnal confetti, a moment as golden as this is a rare treat indeed.

The Swans of Atlantic Pond.
The Swans of Atlantic Pond.

The Swans of Atlantic Pond

Although the week began with dreary buckets falling from the heavens, it ended with a heavenly moment of avian paradise. A lucky family had the entire pond to themselves, as swans glided with majesty towards them.

* You can catch up on Richard's lockdown series on the links below.

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