When I arrived on the ground in Cork, Ireland, I immediately felt a strange attachment to the place. It was uncanny and uncalled for, especially because I’d only been there 15 minutes and was just walking down a street carrying all my luggage with no specific experiences yet made. But I felt a connection, and now I know why. It’s because Cork, Ireland, IS Hobbiton. Let me explain.
I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan. I won’t go in to serious detail, but I’ve seen every movie/special feature at least 4 times (not exaggerating), I’ve probably watched the Helm’s Deep battle scene upwards of 15 times, and I’m certainly not done watching them. I’ve only just begun. Anyways, Hobbiton has always been my favorite location from the LOTR films. Yes, Rivendell is beautiful and serene, Mordor is eerie and mysterious, Gondor is magnificent—but Hobbiton (within The Shire) is a place that speaks to me on a more meaningful level. It speaks to the homebody in me: the emphasis on good food, good conversation, good friends and enjoying the simplicity of life.
Having said that, the same thing can be applied to why I love Cork, Ireland. I put my feet on the ground and, even in the airport, instinctively knew I’d arrived at my Mecca. Here are some examples of why Cork is Hobbiton.
1. Doors with knobs in the center. (Left, Hobbiton, Right, Cork)
2. Emphasis on the simplicity of life. Refer to my previous blog post True Life: Ireland—Keep It Simple. And this is extracted from the Wiki page on Hobbits: “In his writings, Tolkien depicted Hobbits as fond of an unadventurous, bucolic and simple life of farming, eating, and socializing,”
3. Thriving bars meant to foster good conversation. (Left, Hobbiton, Right, Cork)
4. The Landscape (Left, Hobbiton, Right, Cork.) Just imagine if the picture on the right had little windows peepin’ out of it. Virtually indistinguishable!
5. Revering above all other things the joys of good friends and good drink. (Left, Hobbits, Right, Cork)
As I come up with more photo evidence of the startling connection between these two universes, I’ll share my discoveries with you. But in the meantime, grab a long-stemmed pipe and come here and see them for yourself!