|Alisa takes to the streets dancing|
It is the right of any youth visiting Ireland to experience the nightlife, whether it is in their nature to normally do so or not. I will confess to being old for my age. A late night is midnight, when I begin to turn into a pumpkin.
Typically I wouldn’t even think of staying out that late on a weekday and would much rather cuddle up with a book or some knitting with an old black and white… yes I am a grandma in a young woman’s body. But, I am in Ireland and I will not concede to my usual desires, for this is the land of The Pub. Or rather, as I am finding, the club-type pub.
Since my arrival I have visited many of the local establishments, expecting to find dim lit bars, smelling of dark wood and yeasty beer and dotted with huddled groups chatting and laughing amongst themselves. And I am happy to report I have not been disappointed. The traditional pub of the American imagination does exist. However, it lives as an endangered species, hiding in the outer regions of town central, tucked into alleyways. These are the places I gravitate towards, naturally, but due to their scarcity I find much of my time spent in a mutt-breed of bar that combines the image of a traditional Irish pub with the atmosphere of a modern urban club.
These club-type pubs sit neither on the side of old-style bar or trendy club but straddle the line, almost awkwardly at times. Bars decked out to suit the image of an old pub blast hip-hop, rap, and pop, with strobe lights and disco-balls whirling around rooms packed with students. Some places separate their spaces providing a more pub like atmosphere downstairs and keep the dancing and Raver-Pop music to an upstairs unit with a whole other bar for those with a more club-like taste. But, none of these really suits even the most urbanized image of Cork I can conjure.
Read more columns from the Gaelic Girls here
Gaelic Girl Tessa: You say 'bum a fag' I say 'have a cigarette' - lost in translation & struggling with Irish English
Gaelic Girl Alisa: Irish ‘Cake Faces’ girls plaster on makeup
Gaelic Girl Hannah: I’m an American shopaholic let loose in Cork City
And then, there are the club-type pubs that provide a pub-like bar and dance floor but play unusual selections like Avril Lavigne (circa 2000), Fleetwood Mac and The Cranberries… not that I have any objections to these selections by any means! In fact, thanks to the powers that be for the genius that hired that DJ! This is the kind of club I would have expected to find in Ireland.
A mix of 90’s grunge, classic rock, and the traditional feeling of a pub seems, to me, the most apt blend of Irish culture as far as I have experienced it. The other club-type pubs pumping out Hollywood rappers and Metropolitan pop stars fizz with an awkward uniformity, a tragic globalization and desire to fit in with some foreign idea of glamour as opposed to standing up for its own unique image.
I may be an odd representative of the young woman visiting Ireland. I never enjoyed clubbing back in the states, I don’t don six-inch heels every time I go out, and I spend less than ten minutes on my hair. I am, in fact, a bit of a California bohemian-hippie… just a bit. But, perhaps I am not so unusual in my expectations. Americans, having been fed images of a wild countryside, a quaint people and the sounds of such groups as The Pogues, U2, and Flogging Molly, may have been expecting, like me, more of the traditional pub, the grungy youth, the Rock & Roll, and less of the flashy, club-like settings.
Regardless of expectations, it is the club-type pub that stays true to Irish culture, both the traditional and modern types that I enjoy and I will continue to enjoy for the duration of my visit. Praise to these club-type pubs that stand out against the glittered and glamoured! You are the image of Ireland brought to life in the modern night! And I will abandon my grandmotherly tendencies to support you with my patronage (particularly since bar hours in Cork typically end at midnight).