O, colourful Kinsale. I started this post yesterday, but stopped when I realised that no post about Kinsale could be complete without dozens of pictures of colour-saturated stucco. I probably should have taken pictures of more monuments and landmarks, but no matter.
(Maybe that gallery worked? I blame PHP for the fact that WordPress publishing is awkward from an iPad.)
Yesterday we saw some of the sights in town.
We went to Desmond Castle, an old administrative hold and later a jail. I had wandered upstairs to the wine museum* as Daddy went out to the street. The nice guide who pointed me his way also took the time to tell us of sights to see around the corner, within ‘walking distance.’ We saw them—all around the block—and then resolved to walk out to Charles Fort, about 2 miles away. Walking distance is the distance that you walk.
Charles Fort afforded lovely panoramic views of the entrance to the port, although I couldn’t help but think of the life that army men led then. Wives were frowned upon, and only 6 of the 100 (?) or so officers were officially allowed to marry, drawn by lot. Others could marry, but their wives could not live on base nor share rations. And all this for a mercenary lifestyle of sanctioned murder—for life, at that, as service terms weren’t introduced until the nineteenth century. I suppose the State will do what it will to gain and maintain power and influence.
On on the walk back we stopped at The Bulman, which an Irish couple we met at that three-thousand-year-old fort said not to miss. We had a lovely supper there, watching the Atlantic.
Farther along the walk back, we stopped in at The Spaniard for a pint, which Jay will be happy to hear (we cheered you, Jay and Karen!)
That evening we went to Dalton’s for pint and tunes, but just as the band was warming up, 16 Americans (and 2 Canadians) piled into the pub. For what it’s worth, it was the Canadian woman whom I wanted to punch in the face the most. We were tired, there was no dancing, no one was singing along, and we left as some other anxious Americans crowded us for our seats. Slow down, people. This is what happens when you wait till retirement to travel. Completely uncultured, these.
Today Daddy was most excited and anxious to join Don & Barry’s walking tour, which was really quite an entertaining way to spend the morning. Barry was charming, genuine, and a great guide. He said that Welch was ‘a good strong Cork name,’ but I never did hear the story of the history of my ancestors here. Suppose I could look it up.
We stopped for Irish coffees because it was quite chilly, then drove down to the Old Head, which is the historical prominent point around here. Apparently now it’s a private golf course, so we stopped a bit short to take in the views and wonder at all those people who looked back at this, the last Irish shore they ever saw.
Interestingly, apparently a lot of Americans erroneously trace their Irish heritage to Cork, because Queenstown (now Cobh, pronounced Cove) was listed as the port of call on their ancestors’ papers. But Queenstown is where most people left Ireland for a new life, and wasn’t necessarily where they were from. Silly Irish-Americans. Also, the Scots-Irish were Scottish, not Irish, so stop saying that you’re Irish just because a great-ancestor paid the right favours and was granted territory over which to collect tithes in an occupied country. Also also, the Irish claim everyone, including Obama (which is apparently accurate). I should do a separate post on the theme of everyone having a little Irish in ’em.
Anyway, now we’re heading back to The Armada (where we had coffee) for a Kinsale session and some sessionable extra-stout ale, otherwise known as the black stuff, otherwise known as a pint, otherwise known as Guinness.
Finally, Kinsale has an impressive 10-foot tide, which is well for pictures, but apparently unwell with a westerly gale, a full moon, and a high tide, which floods the reclaimed land-filled town from underneath its porous shale fill.
*Long story short: Kinsale has south-westerly winds perfect for trade, prominent mediaeval and onwards port, part of the British Empire, Glorious Revolution and a Protestant crown, ‘Wild Geese‘ Catholic nobility flees to the continent, many in the wine import/export trade settle and set up such houses as Château McCarthy.