“Other times they take very little. This is such a beautiful city and the foundation is already there to do so much good. Cork has all the makings of a beautiful city. Everyone sees things in different ways and it’s the people who are seeing things for the first time who ask all the questions. Normally, the people who are residents in a city reach a point where they no longer ask any questions.”
Mr Hilditch acknowledged Cork’s historical significance.
“Much of the UK was bombed which meant it lost a lot of history. Many of the replacement buildings were dreadful. Cork didn’t lose anything and still retains so much of its history. What I love about Cork city is how they kept the face of old buildings that now accommodate modern interiors. The shopping centre on Patrick Street is actually really beautiful to look at. The fact that they still kept the face of it rather than let it go to rack and ruin is very positive. It helps make the buildings look more alive.” Other buildings-according to David-could do with some TLC.
The tourist also commented on Cork’s issue with graffiti.
“I’ve never been a fan of graffiti, even if it’s belonging to Banksy.”
Michael Twomey, who was driving the bus that day, described how the lack of public toilets in Cork city is affecting business.
“I have had old ladies on the bus almost crying because they can’t find anywhere to use the bathroom. The public toilets on Grand Parade are no longer in use. It’s a disgrace that, for all the tourists we have travelling in on cruise ships to Cork city, there is not one single public toilet.
Our shortfalls, however, did not seem to deter some passengers including Catherine Coughlan who was travelling with her daughter Laura and granddaughter Katie.
“I was born in Belfast and moved to New York 60 years ago. I’ve been back and forth to Ireland ever since and find Cork to be such a beautiful city.”
Emma and Stephen Dearn from Buckinghamshire were seeing a very different side to Cork city.
Malcolm and Linda Mogford from Somerset were glad to be able to sample some of Cork’s hidden gems.
“The open-top bus is great because it gives us a chance to look at lots of sites in Cork and decide on which parts we’d like to visit. Our favourite thing about Cork so far has probably been the bus driver Michael. He’s a real Irish charmer.”
Belinda Chapman and Judy Tweddall had their own thoughts on the city.
“For me Cork is much smarter than Dublin,” Judy said.
“There are some places in the UK where neighbours don’t even speak to each other, yet people in Cork will talk to a stranger like they are old friends. One thing I really like is that people don’t see you any differently when you are old. Here you are treated as an equal and I love that.” Belinda shared her friend’s sentiment.
10-year-old Claudia Cashin spoke of her first impressions of Cork from a kid’s point of view.
Her grandfather Alan on the other hand was a big fan of the shopping centre.
“It’s got everything,” he said of Merchant’s Quay shopping centre.
“My wife does the shopping though while I prefer to stand outside. I never thought it would be so big and that there would be so much to do.”