Down at the fag-end of Cork city’s docks there’s a nondescript bar. Go in there most times and you’ll find it devoid of customers, atmosphere, anything. Just a wooden floor and some cheap chairs and tables. You drink your pint, read your paper and head off elsewhere. Yet venture in at weekends and you could be in a different time and place. Venture in on the Saturday night of a long (public holiday) weekend and you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else for your kicks. It’s busy getting on for 10 and good music is playing. You go in because you’re thirsty, Charlie’s Bar back down  the road was impossibly noisy and packed and anyway this is the last bar out this way.

Idle Hour, Cork

There are several barmen busy behind the small bar so you get served quickly enough once you manage to squeeze in at the counter. You look around and the crowd ranges from 18 to 80, all in good humour. The music is well chosen and no one is leaving, in fact they keep coming in. The temperature rises, the music is turned up imperceptibly by notches as the evening wears on. The pints go down well, you converse shoutingly with complete strangers. From time to time you disappear downstairs to the jacks and reappear to find everybody roaring out the words to the songs. The younger ones are up dancing on the tables. The staff work on, sweating and pouring and keeping the party going. It’s chaos but it works.

Then suddenly you’re out on the roadside – it’s gone 1am, cold and silent, and you wonder where the evening went.

The pic is another by Jedrzej Niezgoda during the afternoon of a big rugby match.

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