Today I caught the train to Cobh, and walked alone along its historic promenade among swarms of Spanish students and elderly couples. On a bright and breezy summer’s day – July 4 no less – the town seemed so much more pretty and quaint than I had remembered: window boxes of garish-coloured flowers: daisies and petunias in shades of violet and magenta; shabby shopfronts and pastel walls; those little machines filled with balls of bubblegum and miscellaneous trinkets; children picking ice lollies from the freezer; an old man strumming on a guitar outside the foodmarket. Where I might have thought it dingy or naff in the past, how pleasant a place it seemed to me now.


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