The Cork Butter Museum

To answer your first question - yes - a museum dedicated to nothing but butter. And, to answer the second - no - they don't provide you with toast or any free samples. 

The Butter Museum doesn't hold back on what it is - there's no interactive displays or exhibits, nothing for the kids - just simply everything you ever wanted to know about butter. 

At one time, the Cork Butter market was the largest market for....well, butter....in the entire world. 

When visiting the museum, you first get to watch a film about....wait for it......YES, BUTTER!!! Because I make documentaries, I was probably more interested than the normal viewer and picked up a few tidbits about the nationalization of the Irish Butter Industry. But if butter isn't your thing, you'd probably find it a bit of a snoozefest. As a matter of fact, if butter isn't your thing you're most definitely in the wrong place. 

 

 

Richard III Car Park

Old timey town hall. 

Old timey town hall. 

So this post is a few months old after the sightseeing involved...but better late than never I guess. While pursuing some hard digging investigative journalism pursuits, I had time to explore some of the sights of Leicester down in, what is known in Scotland, as "Englandshire."

First off let me say that it's a bit of a hellish drive. The Scotland outside Edinburgh and the northern part of England are pretty boring. There's not a whole lot there once go to into and then out of Newcastle. However, once you hit Leeds, the cities come flying at you fast and furious.

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In Leicester, the highlight was the Richard III Visitor Center (Centre as they say down there). You might have been forced to read Shakespeare's Richard III in school, but it turns out he was also a real guy.

And he was buried unceremoniously in  a car park.

Miss out on your schooling? Here's a bit of Gandalf in a modern take (he's a Nazi, so he's evil - get it?) on Richard III. Yes, that's also Robert Downey, Jr. in there and, as the YouTube comments aptly pointed out, this is the movie where Magneto takes on Iron Man.

To be technical, the car park wasn't there when they buried Richard III. In fact, cars wouldn't be invented for another 400 years. In 1485, it was the grounds of a monastery and it was believed that Richard's body was buried there to keep it safe from no-gooders who wanted to molest it further.

Dude in old timey jail 

Dude in old timey jail 

When I was visiting at the time, they were 99% sure it was Dicky Three. They'd exhumed the skeleton and checked it against the physical description of the king and everything seemed to match up. They even found the hump. As of 2015, they're pretty sure it's him.

There was also a pretty cool English-y looking building in the center of town, kind of like something you'd see in Bard's Tale (1980s reference for the older readers) or Oblivion (for the hip kids of today) complete with - you guessed it - creepy mannequins!

Fascist Train Station!

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Have you ever seen a train station built by fascists? I have! And boy was it fascist-y!! Over the summer, had the opportunity to travel down to Milan for business. Was actually going outside of Milan, but I had the chance to kill a couple of hours inside.

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photo 5

Although construction of the station began way back in 1906, it was interrupted by World War I and the economic crisis that came after. Building languished until Mussolini became Prime Minister of Italy in 1922. Il Duce decided that he wanted the new station to represent the power of the New Italy and pulled out all the stops during construction.

Gotta admit, the fascists build some pretty impressive structures. That's a picture of the entrance hall over there to the right. Looks like it was built large enough for cars to drive through and drop off passengers on their way to points elsewhere.

photo 2
photo 2

I know the question on your mind, though - "Fine Scott, enough with the Fascist 1930s Art Deco Architecture - HOW WAS THE PIZZA?"

Glad you asked. Pretty goddammed good. Even for pizza purchased in a Fascist Train Station.

There's a picture over there, again to the right. Don't remember how much it was but it was pretty reasonable, and just what I needed at the time.

Creepy Isle of Skye Mannequins!

skye1
skye1

If you're a long time reader of this site, you know my affinity for creepy mannequins in historical settings, so there was no disappointment when I made my way to the Isle of Skye and visited the Skye Museum of Island Life. Skye is a beautiful place, that's no joke, but I'm pretty sure I don't think I would have enjoyed living there in the olden timey days. In the first place, you'd have to speak Gaelic and also live in a hut with grass for a roof.

That's a picture of the local blacksmith on the left there. He would have been like your best friend, what with all the horeshoes you had to get made and farm implements that needed to be fixed.

skye2
skye2

The main problem with Skye is that it's just too windy. Actually, if Scotland in general could get a grasp on this whole wind situation, it would make the place a lot more tolerable.

I spotted the museum from the side of the road and decided to pull over. Normally, I'd take a pass at places like this, but the museum charge was a little over $3.00 (US) so I figured I'd take a chance.

The museum consisted of a number of cottages representing different parts of island life - the schoolhouse, the blacksmith shop, the weaving cottage, and the farmhouse. For some reason, they had pictures everwhere that said no photography. Which is odd, because it's not like we're dealing with museum quality exhibits here. So all of these pictures were taken illegally.....by someone else....and then passed to me. The farmhouse probably had the best creepy mannequins of all. Here an old timey farmer and his wife were warming themselves by the fire, because it was probably July and still windy and cold as shit.

skye-farm

That's the farmer's wife over there to the left. They were setup in their chairs next to the fireplace and conveniently close to the bedroom in case they needed to "get some lovin' on".

I also kept bumping my head on everything. I think everyone was shorter in the olden days.

Overall, it was a cool museum and didn't feel too "tourist trap-y" until I got to an exhibit labelled "How Things Used to Be".

This was basically a collection of invoices and receipts from back in the 1920s and 1930s when they used to use their crazy currency here and so all the prices read like: 1d 2s, two guineas, one crown, two bob, penny farthing etc.

So start saving your Walmart receipts now. You never know when they might end up in a museum one day.