A Travellerspoint blog

Ooooooo Mizen Head and Some Other Pretty Stuff

17 °C

No castles or churches or walking through some rich dudes house today, instead we are headed off to the Beara Peninsula, which I think is a less visited place than Dingle or Kerry but I suspect just a gorgeous. The first stop off today was an ancient stone circle dating back to about 1100 BCE. This is Dramba Stone Circle and is a ceremonial place of worship for really early Irish people. Not a bunch of info on it at the site so at least enjoy the pics

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Next was the city of Baltimore. It is a smaller sea side village with a rich boating history and apparently a lot of people with yachts. What it also has is a cool beacon for ships on the coast and a bunch of nice cliff walks. It also has one of the best fish and chips places in the world, as far as my experience can attest to. We went with the non deep fried version this time and enjoyed a nice piece of Hake in some Garlic butter and the fries were the best I have ever had. It was awesome, take my word for it. You dont get to try the food but here are some pics for you.

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On the way to Baltimore we happened across a very cool salt water lake in some mountain area. it was very pretty and the reason we let the GPS take us on routes we know are not the quickest or easiest. We always seem to end up on "Bobs Road" or some other derivative of it and these roads tend to be more grass than asphalt but they have given us some very nice surprises. The roads are narrow and some of the drivers are nuts but no more so than anywhere else and so far I have felt safe on the roads. I hear some trouble spots are coming soon. Here is the lake.

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The last part of the day and perhaps the best part of the trip so far (I seem to say that every day), was a trip to Mizen Head. It is the most South Westerly point on the Island although there are parts more south than this and more west so I don't quite understand it but who cares it was awesome. It was the tip of the peninsula that we spent the day on and I haven't seen views like this anywhere in my life. Syd and I did hikes up and down all over the place and every turn brought more spectacular views. No more words, just pics.

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There are also a bunch of really nice beaches all over the coast and they would be spectacular if the water wasn't so cold. They are pretty spectacular anyways and the nice thing is you get them mostly to yourself. I guess thats the trade off for rainy weather and 17 degrees on the North Atlantic. Sand is really soft though, probably pretty awesome place to be on a warm day. In all fairness we really cant complain about the weather, only been wet a couple of times. The rain seems to stop once we get to where we are going. Here i s a beach, Take care all!

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Posted by Bad Kitty 16:23 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

What the Blarney? and Cork Gaol

So today was a pretty laid back day, we didnt have much planned and it that was a god thing. The first thing on the agenda was the famous Blarney Castle. This is the home of the famous Blarney Stone that you kiss and it brings you luck or some nonsense like that. I will say that the castle, the gardens and the grounds are well worth a visit. There is a lake and some lovely walks all on the property and that alone may be worth the price of admission. The castle however, is terrifying. It is high and of course the friggen Blarney Stone is at the top of this thing. The stairwell is the stone spiral thing that goes up the castle and it is tight, especially for a larger dude such as myself. As well, when you get to the top you kiss the stone so you only move as fast as it takes someone to lie down, reach backwards over the castle edge and kiss the stone. It probably takes a minute per person, so you move one step up the castle per minutes. As you stand in these claustrophobic tombs of stone stairwells you start to ponder that this castle was built in the 1400's. It is carved out of stone from the mountain it is on, and rock breaks over time. You also start to wonder how good 15th century engineers really are as you stand hundreds of feet in the air in a stone stairwell from which at multiple times has major gaping open views to the ground below. However, fun was had by both of us. We were terrified the whole time in that place and were glad to be back down on the ground after but very much worth seeing. Here is Syd kissing the stone.

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There was also a cave we went into under the castle. Really? A cave under the castle. I believe this is a really bad idea and part of the thoughts crossing my mind as I was in the crypt like stairwell. Of course the castle would sink into the cave, it is inevitable. I went into the cave, I didnt like it as I knew the castle would fall on my head as I did but I went anyways. Miraculously we survived. Here is proof of the cave.

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After that was the cork Gaol (or Jail as we would call it). It was right behind our hotel and is apparently one of the most haunted places in the city. The conditions were brutal in this place and it is amazing what little you had to do to get yourself thrown in here. During the Potato famine however, people would purposely break the law in order to get a regular meal. Very Sad. Here are some pics of this very well restored and quite fun tour of the jail.

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This last one is what I want to do with Sydney to make sure she stays out of trouble and away from the bad boys :) Talk again soon.

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Posted by Bad Kitty 12:42 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Kinsale and Cobh

This day was one of the best yet. We were both surprised and delighted by the 2 wonderful seaside towns we visited today. The first was Kinsale. This is a very pretty town and it has a ton to see and do. There was a nice cafe where we had awesome coffee, tea and scones. Next was a visit to the local market, museum and the Fort. The fort was a 2 and a half Km walk from the town along a beautiful path on the water. The fort was cool and you can really imagine the advantage of a fort when you want to blow up unwanted ships coming into town. Here are the pics from Kinsale.

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The afternoon and early evening was spent in the town of Cobh (pronounced cove). It used to be called Queenstown but now its back to its original Irish name. Cobh has a seriously interesting history. First of all, it was the last port of call for the Titanic before it headed off to New York but sadly sunk at sea. You all know the story (picture Leonardo Dicaprio). Anyways there is a cool thing called the Titanic Experience in Cobh which walks you through a recreation of some of the places on ship and tells all sorts f cool stories about the passengers who boarded the ship in Cobh. Sydney and I were able to be one of the passengers that boarded in Cobh (as does everyone who pas to get in). There were 122 passengers who boarded in Cobh and 44 survived, Sydney and I were not one of them. Here is a pic of the first class room on the ship.

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Cobh is also a port of call for many Cruise ships. They get about 60 a year in the 4 or 5 months that they come here, so about 1 every couple of days. There was one in port when we came to town, here is a pic.

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I can see why this is a port of call for ships, it is a beautiful and unique city. Maybe a touch too touristy for me but still wonderful. Cobh as mentioned is on the ocean, but it is also an island. It also has a mountain on the island that rises very quickly from the coast. it is only about 2 or 3 blocks of walking to get to the top of the hill and it is the steepest anything I have every climbed. There is a grand Cathedral that is at the top of the hill that from the bottom is completing imposing and spectacular. The pictures will never do it justice but here it is.

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Here are also some pics from the top of the town. Note the cruise ship in the background of the first pic. They are massive, this one seemed like it was 10 stories high. Maybe next year.

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Posted by Bad Kitty 12:07 Archived in Ireland Tagged cobh Comments (0)

Crystals, Cork and Bog Cheese

Busy times in Ireland not much time to blog about it, which of course is a sign of a successful trip. It actually brings to mind a point that Sydney made the other day. I asked her if we were doing too much and should slow down or take some down time. She responded that this is a trip and not a vacation. She has an agenda and things that she wants to do and see. This is the way we travel, life is short and we need to see and experience as much of the world as we can. This being said we are in a wonderfully luxurious hotel in Cork and we will be sleeping in tomorrow. Here is a free plug for the Hotel Kingsley in Cork.

http://www.thekingsley.ie/?gclid=CK2Oi-Ww28YCFetf2wodnZACtw

Yesterday was another busy day. Our wonderful Irish tour guide had to work during the day so we were off on our lonesome to explore the southeastern coast of Ireland. The first stop on our trip was Waterford. For all you fancy pants out there this is the home of the world famous Waterford Crystal and yes we went on a tour. Here is a bloke making some of the nice crystal

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Here is where the smash they crystal that doesn't meet their high standards. I asked if I could have the cast offs, they said no :(

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Here is a very nice piece that a crafts person is etching by hand. Very impressive.

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Next we took some pictures with the first Royal Wedding in Ireland. I forget there names (I know very informative) but it is 11th century and it makes for cool photos.

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Our next stop was in Dunmore East. A tiny fishing village on the South coast. It was wonderful, pretty much empty of tourists and we had a beach nearly to ourselves. Below is a photo of me walking knee high into the ocean, what you dont see a picture of is a mini rogue wave soaking my pants. The water is icy cold, take my word for it.

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Final stop yesterday was New Ross. This is an interesting river city close to the coast with a vibrant history with a Canadian connection. Before we get into that I should mention that we have rented a car in Ireland and we are driving everywhere. The purpose for us is to see the Major cities such as Dublin and Cork but we also want to see the small places that most tourists miss. We want the true Irish experience and this requires seeing all of the Irish people (Which are so friendly and helpful). If I havent mentioned it yet, they drive on the left here, and it is prohibitively expensive to rent an automatic car. So, I am driving a standard on the wrong side of the road. Ireland also does not have a single intersection, they have roundabouts. It would not be an exaggeration to say I have been through 500 roundabouts already. The rules are different than home and of course backwards. In any case the driving has been interesting and the people have been very patient with me. I will not divulge this entire story yet but if you hear a news story about a stupid Canadian that had 2 different highway's traffic stopped by a police officer so he could safely get back going the right direction it wasn't me (but really it was). Sounds worse than it actually was and I believe I had it in control but thanks to that officer for helping me out. We do have a GPS system in the car (or a SAT NAV as the locals call it) and it has worked wonderfully except for our trip from Dunmore East to New Ross. We plugged in our destination as New Ross and things were going well until..... the GPS says "In 300 meters board the Ferry. What!!?!! Board the ******* ferry???? I dont think so. Will I take the car? Where does this ferry go? What does it cost?? Screw in 300 meters boarding any ferry. We eventually found away around the water and took the land route to New Ross. In later conversations with our Irish friend she said it is just a river crossing that costs 7 Euro and is a lovely little jaunt across the river with our car. Next time Sat Nav :)

Back to New Ross. First, this is the heritage home of JFK and his family had a farm in the Area. just a few months before he was killed he visited his family homestead and gave a speech from this podium

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There is an entire JFK enterprise in this city if you are ever interested. More interesting in my opinion is the human transport of Irish people that came from this city to the New World Canada and US. After the Irish potato famine thousands of Irish people left for a chance at a better life on this ship

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It is impossible to imagine how difficult it would be on this voyage. These ships were often called coffin ships as often these ships would end up in port in North American with dozens of dead. It was a sad tour of a history of a country that struggled to survive. So many people died and even more left the country. Just to give you an idea before the famine there were 8 million people in Ireland and today there are only 6 million. So many people left this land. Here are some pics of the dreadful conditions that people faced on this 6 week voyage

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Today was mostly a chill day for us. We sadly left or Irish friend and will continue on the rest of the Irish tour on our own. I hate good byes and really had to suck in hard not to sob at the goodbye (I am such a baby). I hope our paths manage to cross again someday. We took the hour and 15 minute drive to cork, and spent the day touring the city. This city has a young and hip vibe but we didnt take many pics today. Here is a picture of our crepes for lunch and the Cork Cheese Museum. Take note of the 1200 year old bog cheese. Yes, bog cheese. Until next time all.

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Posted by Bad Kitty 12:36 Archived in Ireland Tagged bög cheese Comments (0)

Seaside Wonderment

13 °C

My lovely Irish guest took us on a much different excursion today. We visited a number of seaside towns and took a phenomenal seaside drive along the Copper Coast Road. The first stop was the seaside town of Ardmore. We started the day walking into a fancy hotel and ordering coffee, tea and scones. They were served with petit fours, cream , butter and homemade jam. We sat on the veranda that overlooked the ocean. It was stunning. The food was awesome and the views unbeatable.

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We left the hotel for a nice cliff side walk along the ocean where we saw some ruins from St Declan (feel free to google him) and some remnants from preparations made by the Irish government to dissuade German occupation during WWII. It was a great walk and the views of the ocean and cliffsides were speculator.

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Next was a drive down the Copper Coast Road. This is a very scenic drive with amazing ocean views and many stops along the way to take in more cliff walks and views. The drive goes through 5 villages which if you liked you could stop in and take in a visit. As it was Sunday it was mostly closed and the views were what we were looking for.

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The last town on the road and the end of the scenic drive was one at the moment in which I forget but I am told from my Irish companion it is a crap British style seaside resort that really isnt very good. It had an amusement park on the ocean and carnival type stuff but of course the beach and the views were stunning. We stopped in town to catch the big event in a pub that was going on today. Today was a provincial championship hurling match between Tipperary and Waterford. This is a massive deal here and people are flying their flags and getting right into it. We watched the match in a local pub and I felt it quite a special moment. I do enjoy sports and being able to bond in a pub atmosphere watching a match is truly a unique cultural experience. I watch my Irish friend live and die with every play and it was fun to see her in that way. Her team lost but today we spent most of the day flipping between Waterford and Tipperary so there was lots of jovial and anguished individuals. Truly another special day in Ireland.

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Posted by Bad Kitty 13:27 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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