For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Monday, 4 July 2011

Watery Waterford, Rainy Kinsale

To begin at the beginning ...

From Fishguard in Wales ...




... a Stena Line ferry carried us over the Irish Sea to Rosslare Harbour ...




T & H Doolan's pub in Waterford ...




The 12th century Round Tower at Ardmore, County Waterford - one of the best preserved round towers in Ireland ...




This monastic site is probably the oldest Christian settlement in the country - it's thought that Declan christianised the area even before St Patrick. Here's St Declan's Oratory, complete with rook perched on the west gable end ...




... and here are the ruins of St Declan's Cathedral ...




... which contain two recessed Ogham Stones dating from the 5th century. Ogham is the script of an ancient Irish alphabet ...




Under sheets of rain we battled through Cork City to Kinsale, a perfect little gem of a south coast fishing town. Kinsale's 17th century courthouse building - now a museum - glistened grey beneath thunderous skies. (The Irish tend to call their rain 'soft' but, whether 'soft' or 'hard', I think I'll just call it 'torrential'.) It was here that the inquest took place into the sinking of the Lusitania on 10 May 1915 ...




In Jim Edwards Restaurant we ate fresh hake and succulent steak washed down with Guinness and red wine, and later, in the Blue Haven Hotel, listened to traditional Irish band Arundó play a mixture of Celtic and Andean music, and sing old Irish ballads, and conjure hornpipes and jigs and reels out of the misty twilight. We were utterly transported by the mystical sounds of the Uilleann pipes, the panpipes and the quena, the tin whistle, the mandolin and the guitar ...


9 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

It does seem that rain played a large part in your holiday Robert.

ksam said...

Wow...love the pics...woulda loved to hear the music!

George said...

Reading this post and seeing the great photos has stiffened my resolve to do some long distance walking in Ireland. After getting your response to my comment on the last post, I located and ordered the Cicerone book on the Irish coast to coast walk. So much to see, so little time.

Arija said...

Oh what it is to live in Europe where all these wonders are so readily accessible. Thanks for taking us alon on your rater moist holiday. I enjoyed every minute but the, I was under a roof although it is pouring here too.

KleinsteMotte said...

I am intrigued by all those historic places that you were lucky to enjoy.

Dominic Rivron said...

Got me hankering after Ireland. Not been for a long time. Whenever I've been in the past it's been for a reason - it would be nice to go just for the sake of it and travel where I like. I suspect it would turn into a bit of a Joyce pilgramage.

Outside of a rhyming couplet, hake and steak sound an odd combination.

Ruth said...

I love Kinsale, it's one of my favorite cities anywhere. I've stood in sheets of rain there, too.

The Uilleann pipes are brilliant. The music suits the country so well.

The churchyards are quite picturesque.

Isn't Cork charming too, in its way?

The Solitary Walker said...

Pat - you can't visit Ireland and expect it to be like the Costa del Sol, can you?

Karin - the music was great ...

If it were me, George, I'd do one of the circular walking treks (I think some of that coast to coast may be a bit ordinary in the central section?) Will talk to you about this ...

Moist, Arija? Don't you mean saturatingly inundatingly wet?!

KleisteMotte - thanks for your comment.

Dom - Carmen had the hake, I had the steak ... and Joyce had the wake, you could say.

Ruth - I would be quite happy if my last day on this earth were in Kinsale listening to the Uillean pipes with a plate of oysters and a pint of Guinness in front of me ... We didn't stop in Cork as we rushed through on the way to Kinsale. But, musically, I think Cork is not to be missed (Dylan played there on 16 June).

Goat said...

That tower looks wonderful.