Monday, April 30, 2018

To Unionhall

 From Kinsale, a delightful place, touristy in just the right degrees, we went on to Unionhall on the coast. In truth, we could have used another day in Kinsale, it was that charming.

Mostly you have here a few views from the drive. The trip was short and we made a couple of stops, but it was mostly a take-it-easy Sunday, in part because Sharon seems to have come down with a somewhat nasty cold. 

Monday, on to Kilarney.

 Note the date 1642. The English Civil War was bad enough in England, worse here. 

No, not all Ireland is in ruins, but they sure are fun to photograph. This site, presumably has never been deconsecrated and is used as a cemetery to this day often by successive generations of the same families.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Kinsale: A Walk along the Harbour

Saturday dawned bright and clear, a perfect day for a walk along the harbour from Kinsale out to Charles Fort at the mouth of the harbour. The fort was constructed in the 1670s and decommisioned only in 1922 when the British Army left Ireland. It was a “new” style star fort, harder to attack than the traditional, and along with the old fort, James Fort on the other side of the mouth of the harbour, it was meant to protect the significant port.

Scilly walk, along the harbour.
Rosa was glad to get out and get some exercise

A couple of views of the harbour

Some views of the fort, which resembles nothing so much as an abandoned village, which in some ways it is.

Those of you who have followed her travels know of Rosa's love of ordinance

Two views of the harbour, at high and low tide, a difference of about three and a half meters.

After walking almost six miles we were ready for a rest and dinner. We ended the day with another excellent meal, at Finns’ Table. Sharon’s monkfish was not quite as much to my liking as the same dish that I had the night before at Fishy Fishy. But my cassoulet was superb as were the mussels as starters. Good thing we walked six miles.

Sunday we are off to Unionhall, a small fishing village on Glendore harbour.

Friday, April 27, 2018

To Kinsale

From Kilkenny it is a short drive on the motorway to Kinsale, less than 200 km, about two and a half hours, unless you are us. Than all sorts of things are possible along back roads.

In fact, we were no more than a few kilometers from Kilkenny when around a corner there was this tower and ruins with a warning to stay off the farm property. Not an historic site, just another abandoned tower. The landscape is littered with them. If we had stopped for each we would still be out there.

Another few kilometers down the road we came across our new home and my new ride. We'll b e moving in as soon as we can, like the Butlers, depose the current inhabitants.
But we did have to stop in Carrick, to see Ormond Castle. We were first acquainted with the Butlers, who built Ormand, as well as earlier taking over Kilkenny Castle, between the 14thand 16thcenturies, in Kilkenny. It seems that from the 13thto the 18thcenturies they were all over this part of Ireland, and indeed, Thomas Butler, the 10thEarl of Ormond was a cousin to and great favorite of Queen Elizabeth having been raised with her in England and supposedly built this house for her to visit, which she never did. Throughout the Tudor and Stuart years the Ormonds were able to deftly straddle political divides until, of course the armies of Cromwell despoiled Ireland as they had England.

From the front this is a Tudor house, but behind it are the ruins of an earlier castle on the River Suir acquired by the Butlers in the early 14thcentury. No images permitted in the house, but my camera and I got to play in the ruins, before taking a tour through the 16thcentury Tudor castle.

By the time we were done there and were presented with this offprint from Archeology Ireland, we headed more or less directly to Kinsale and our unexpectedly grand accommodations at the Perryville House and our best dinner so far on this trip at Fishy Fishy in Kinsale.

This house was built in 1820 by the Perry's, a family of wealthy ship fitters 

A room . . .

with a view

This was just the bread, but we were ready

Most of the time, honestly, we have been eating in pubs and the food has been fine, not great but not bad. We had an almost great meal in Dublin at The Church (where the preparation was superb, but the provisions not up to the same standard) in Dublin and another good meal at Rintucci’s in Kilkenny. The meal at Fishy Fishy would have been extraordinary at any time and in any place. It was that good. Sharon’s Kinsale fish stew eclipsed any other such stew we have ever had, and my monkfish was very nearly as superb.

Saturday will see us out and about in Kinsale.

The Second Cat . . .

St. Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny
of Kilkenny. Our second day in Kilkenny. The Two Cats of Kilkenny. Get it? Sharon said it was dumb. 

Anyways, if Wednesday saw us looking at the castle, Thursday began with a more modest air. This ancient town, once tremendously important before the Christian era, before the Normans,  is home to the Rothes House, or houses, really, since it is a series of conjoined houses belonging to a prominent family of Tudor merchants. And it gives us a rare glimpse into how the merely wealthy, as opposed to nobility or the common person, lived. You get a sense from Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Avon, but they were comfortable English farmers as opposed to wealthy Irish merchants.
The house from the street

Daughter Anna says this is a good look for me

A well in the courtyard between the first and second houses

The back of the second house
From there we were off to the Cathedral of Saint Canice and then to the Dominican Black Abbey. 

The figural tombs were spectacular

I cannot remember her name, but this (expelled)(abbess was the bad girl of the 14th century. Had to get a pic. The young woman at the desk says she is a perennial favorite
 We completed our tourist day at the city’s newest museum, the Museum of the Medieval Mile.
Black Abbey Bridge

The Black Abbey
The museum is brand new, opened in 2015, I believe, in what used to be St. Mary's church, another 13th century structure.. I tend not to take pictures in museums, but this column bears a trace of the original polychrome column paint

Many of these early tombstones were excavated from the nearby River More where they were dumped during remodeling or when Cromwell's armies pillaged this part of Ireland in the 1650s.
Our final stop was Kyteler’s Inn, commemorating the town’s most famous witch from the early 13thcentury. The food was good, the music, from The Wild Rovers, was even better.

Friday morning we are off to Kinsale, the second stop on our three week tour of the south.