Friday, learning the history of Kinsale

Trip Start May 16, 2013
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Trip End May 26, 2013


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Where I stayed
The Old House Tipperary
What I did
Don and Barry's Walking Tour of Kinsale

Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Friday, May 24, 2013

Hello again faithful readers (or maybe its reader… hope that there's more than one of you out there!). It’s Friday night, our last night in the farm house…. Sigh.

We started the day at the Kilcaw house when the alarm went off at 7:30. We asked for breakfast to be ready at 9:00, so we planned on taking 90 minutes to get ready. We went into the dining room of the B&B which had 5 tables in it. We were greeted by the innkeeper, Christina and she asked all kinds of questions about our trip and especially time in Kinsale. We learned that Christina and her husband opened the B&B 19 years ago. She was especially happy when we commented on how nice it was and that it certainly did not look its age. She obviously takes a lot of pride in her place. We also learned that she lost her husband to cancer 3 years ago and that her son Derek was there to help. Business there was much better before the recent recession. Things have not rebounded well for her because the Irish government has had to bail out many local hotels to prevent them from being shuttered. The hotels are run by management companies and they rent rooms out at a loss just to keep cash flow coming in. This has hurt the B&B’s in the country and she is working hard to keep the business going.

Breakfast was delicious and we felt that we got a good deal having a nice room with two breakfasts for 70 Euro. We asked Christina if it would be OK to take some pictures of the place and she said we were welcome to. Diane also asked if we could take a picture of her with us. She was kind of shy about it because her hair was fairly short. I thought that she had had it cut recently, but it turns out that Christina is a breast cancer survivor. She completed her treatment late last year and she had been wearing wigs until just this past April. We would have never known any of this had she not told us. We then told her about our friend Susan who is currently battling breast cancer and learned that her story was very similar to Susan’s. Christina has since done a few long cancer awareness walks and told us with all of the prayers and support she received, she was able to get through it. This was very encouraging to us and we really do look forward to when Susan will be back to her normal and wonderful self!

After breakfast, we went back to the room to pack up and get ready to go back into Kinsale. We said our good byes to Christina and Derek and took some pictures. We also talked about her dog Millie and shared stories about our dogs, who we are missing really bad now.

My main goal of the day was to take the Kinsale walking tour given by a gentleman named Dan Herlihy. Diane’s feet were bothering her (the cobblestones can be rough) and she was not sure if she would be OK on a long walking tour, so she decided to visit a local café to write in her journal and people watch. She found a café called the Lemon Leaf Café and had an awesome time journaling , reading and chatting with the locals. I had learned about the walking tour in a few travel books and heard nothing but good things about it. Dan was full of facts about Kinsale and there really is too much to detail in this blog. I strongly suggest googling it to learn all about it. It was so interesting to learn what life was like in the 1300s and to see the walls and buildings of the city was pretty fascinating.

Dan’s policy for the tour is that you don’t pay until the end and only if you think it’s worth 6 Euro. If not, you are free to leave whenever you like. There was about 20 in the group and no one left. Because of the questions asked, no two tours are totally the same, so I would be happy to take the tour again.

I met Diane at the café and we decided to do some gift shopping in town. The gift shops here have just about anything that you can think of with about 50 percent of things having the word Guinness on them. It’s harder to find Smithwicks stuff which is a bit of a disappointment because I prefer it over Guinness. In the end, I did end up getting a Guinness shirt for myself. As an example of how nice the Irish are, Diane was in a shop looking for a specific gift.  She asked the shopkeeper who couldn’t identify a shop in Kinsale that carried what she was looking for but then began writing down a name and directions to a place in Cork city that might carry the item.  Ultimately, she booted her 7 year old daughter off the lap top so she could make sure she gave Diane the right directions and name.  Everyone seems to go beyond the norm to help others here.

After our shopping, we decided to go visit Charles Fort which is about a 5 minute drive out of town. The fort is situated on a hill over the harbor and it was built as one of two forts meant to protect the city. The fort was built in the late 1600s on 12 acres of land. It was massive. The fort has a very long history, again, too much to list here, so I suggest looking it up on Google. I was able to get a lot of good pictures from there, but again, they don’t do the place true justice.

We finally got out of the fort a bit before 4:00 PM. Because of the late hour, we decided to skip going into Cork and headed back towards the farm house. During the ride, we felt that we haven’t spent enough time in the house, so we decided to skip hitting the pubs in favor of relaxing in the house. We stopped at a grocery store on the way home and bought a couple of things to heat up and eat for dinner. Diane walked the grounds while I fixed dinner. I also got a fire going in the fireplace. Diane also was able to take one more bath in the big red claw foot tub.

The farm house is receiving new renters tomorrow, so we have to be out by noon. We’ll spend the morning packing and cleaning the place up. I’ll finish taking interior pictures once it’s all cleaned up and then I’ll finally be able to do a full blog on the place. This place is too special to not detail. Once we are out of here, we are back on the road to Dublin. We’re staying at a different hotel, but it is still close to the one we stayed at last week. We need to purchase an additional suitcase to bring all of our souvenirs home, so we’ll take care of that once we are in town. We’ll also hit a few pubs before having to call it a night. We need to head to the airport on Sunday morning and then we’ll have to return to reality.

We’ve already began to talk about our next trip here. We’re not sure how soon it will be, but we know that we’ve only scratched the surface. This place has so much to offer. The people here are wonderful, and once you get used to driving on the wrong side of the road, it really isn’t that big of a deal.

We hope that you have been enjoying the blog. I’m glad that we decided to do this because it is helping us remember the details of each day. At this time, the events are starting to blend together after 7 full days of activity. It will be hard to leave here on Sunday, but we really do look forward to getting back to our dogs, our family and our wonderful friends in the states.

Have a great day… see y’all soon!

Slainte!

Paul and Diane
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