Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cashel and Kinsale

Dr. C. and I picked up a rental car on the outskirts of Dublin, and headed west to Cashel our first stop on this road trip.  Famous for the Rock of Cashel, we arrived in town hungry and tired, after a stop in the town of Mountmellick where my Fitzpatrick ancestors are from.  Unfortunately, it's a tiny town, and we didn't find any cemeteries there to roam about in, so we quickly got back on the motorway, and headed farther west.
The Rock is a limestone outcropping that is purported to be where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster in the 5th century.  In the 1100's the church, and round tower were built, and the rock has been the sight of battles.  In the mid 1700's the Anglican priest who presided over the town, removed the roof of the cathedral (to avoid taxation) and the church has been a ruin ever since.

Cormac's Chapel

This piece of the cathedral was blown off during a strong wind

Abandoned Abbey at the bottom of the hill

The grave yard on the Rock, still used today

Irish Round Tower

from inside the cathedral

As you can tell by the sky, the weather has been cold and grey since we've been here

After checking out of our hotel, we headed to the Cork area, and Ballymaloe House.  Known the world over for its cooking school and hospitality, this is a place in the middle of nowhere.  When we put it into the GPS we were wondering where it was taking us, down country roads, and across fields.  Ballymaloe will have its own post later on, but today we headed to Kinsale, south of Cork, a beautiful fishing village, probably known best as the place where the Lusitania survivors and dead were taken when the ship torpedoed off the coast.  We did a a walking tour of the village, and waterfront then headed to Charles Fort, the old English fort on the peninsula for some spectacular views.  
Quiet harbor

Boat races on a Saturday
After a nice walk about town, we decided it was time for some lunch.  There are lots of pubs, and restaurants in Kinsale, and we chose a fish place.  I had to have fish and chips, since, that's what you do here.  

Dr. C. chose the seafood chowder
After a pot of strong tea, which I'm beginning to become addicted to, we headed off to Charles Fort for some more walk-about.  Charles Fort was an English Fort, specifically to protect the commerce coming in and out of Kinsale.  Built in the 1600's it was abandoned when Ireland won its independence in the 1920's.  

 The Lusitania sank 10 miles from the shore
The views from the fort are spectacular.  The fort is in disrepair since the Irish Civil War when it was destroyed. Still it is interesting from a historical and architectural perspective, since it is one of the only remaining star shaped forts in Europe.  
Tomorrow we head north to County Galway with a stop at Bunratty Castle on our way.  Driving on the left has taken a bit of getting used to, since I'm dyslexic, it's doubly confusing, but we are enjoying this inviting and beautiful part of Europe.  

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