Twice a year perhaps, on Saturday afternoons, there was going to Cork to the pictures. Clarke Gable and Myrna Loy in Too Hot to Handle. Mr Deeds Goes to Town. No experience in my whole childhood, and no memory, has remained as deeply etched as these escapes to the paradise that was Cork. Nothing was more lovely or more wondrous than Cork itself, with its magnificent array of cinemas: the Pavilion, the Savoy, the Palace, the Ritz, the Lee, and Hadji Bey’s Turkish Delight factory. Tea in Thompson’s or the Savoy, the waitresses with silver-plated tea-pots and buttered bread and cakes, and other people eating fried eggs with rashers and chipped potatoes at half-past four in the afternoon. The sheer sophistication of Thompson’s or the Savoy could never be adequately conveyed to a friend in Skibbereen who had not had the good fortune to experience it. The Gentleman’s lavatory in the Victoria Hotel had to be seen to be believed, the Munster Arcade left you gasping. For ever and for ever you could sit in the middle stalls of the Pavilion watching Claudette Colbert, or Spencer Tracy as a priest, and the earthquake in San Francisco. And for ever afterwards you could sit while a green-clad waitress carried the silver-plated tea-pot to you, with cakes and buttered bread. All around you was the clatter of life and of the city, and men of the world conversing, and girls’ laughter tinkling. Happiness was everywhere.
From William Trevor’s Excursions in the Real World (Hutchinson, 1993)