On The Buses: Old school friends like to meet up for a chat

On The Buses: Old school friends like to meet up for a chat
On The Buses. Meabh, Roisin and Hugh O'Connor Picture: Eddie O'Hare

OLD friends and little school-goers were on the 215 route this week on their way to Mahon.

Siblings Roisín, aged 10, Méabh, aged 8, and Hugh O’Connor, aged 7, were on their way home from a busy day at school when we met them on the bus.

The O’Connor children said they had a good day in school at the Cork Educate Together school and were looking forward to going home for their dinner and out to play.

Roisín was still revelling from her birthday party celebrations last week. She had a party with all her friends and got lots of great presents including the Guinness Book of World Records 2018.

Méabh said she had an easy day as her teacher had been out sick and Hugh simply said his day had been “fine.”

Next on the bus was Luiz Alvaranga, from Brazil, heading off to work in Sorrento restaurant, Mahon Point.

Luiz Alvaranga: Studying English.
Luiz Alvaranga: Studying English.

Luiz works there part-time while in Ireland studying English. He is currently doing a Masters in Languages in Brazil.

He plans to stay here until February before returning to Brazil for a month and then heading to Portugal to study there as well.

Luiz said he is enjoying his time in Ireland.

“I have been here three months and I have done a number or tourist trips. I have been to the Cliffs of Moher, Blackrock Observatory Castle and Limerick.

“Ireland is very beautiful, you do not have this type of scenery in Brazil, the green is very different there.”

Also on the bus were two former school friends Marie O’Donovan and Pam Ryan. Marie and Pam met each other again after many years apart in Lough Derg.

“We were both in Lough Derg and we started chatting and we realised we lived very close to each other.”

Marie, who is from Ballinlough, comes into town twice a week to go to Mass and to meet up with friends.

School friends Pam Ryan and Marie O’Donovan.
School friends Pam Ryan and Marie O’Donovan.

When we met her on the bus, she had just come from lunch in Debenhams with six school friends. “We have been meeting up for the past 25 years. For a number of years we were all too busy with children to meet up every week, but now that we have a bit of time to ourselves, we meet every week.”

Pam, from Blackrock, said she comes into town four to five times a week.

“I love coming into town. I often come in and get my lunch and then I walk around and do some window shopping. It keeps me happy. I love the bus for getting into town, it is so handy.”

Pam said her favourite place in town was Cork Coffee Roasters.

“I love coming in getting a coffee and a scone, they have lovely coffee.”

Pam also likes Nash 19 and M&S.

Another coffee fan was Gearoid Power, a scribe at UCC. Gearoid, who has a degree in Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals, takes notes for disabled students by attending class alongside them.

Every day he gets the 7.30am bus from Ballinlough into town.

“When I get to town I pop into Vanilla for a coffee before getting the 208 bus to Western Gate building.”

Gearoid said his job was “tough but interesting.”

Gearoid Power: Works as a scribe.
Gearoid Power: Works as a scribe.

“I’m there to take notes, I don’t like to disturb the people I am note taking for and I am not really supposed to talk to anyone else. I write the notes as if I am a teaching assistant. I try to make them as clear and simple as possible.”

Before heading back to the office, the Evening Echo stopped for a quick chat with the bus driver, Tim O’Donovan who was finishing up his shift.

“I have been a bus driver for the past five years, it is a grand job,” Tim told the Evening Echo. He was currently driving a new bus from a fresh fleet of VWDs that had arrived in Cork.

“It is beautiful to drive, It has a carrying capacity of 81 seated and 13 standing. The 215 is an extremely busy route because of all the companies in Mahon, It is a thriving area.”

Tim also said there were a few regulars who always said hello to him and it was nice to see familiar faces on the route.

As well as driving buses around Cork city, Tim also looks after the scoreboards at Páirc Uí Rinn and Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“It’s great fun, I have been doing it for 35 years now.”

Bus driver Tim O'Donovan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Bus driver Tim O'Donovan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Tim said the odd time the odd score does end up going up on the scoreboard.

“It can happen easily, I remember one time Kilkenny were eight goals and two points up after a minute — and I couldn’t understand why the ref was going mad blowing the whistle!”

Tim said looking after the scoreboards is a great way to relax after work. “I really enjoy it.”

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