People enjoy discussing weather. In Ireland at this time of year there is much to discuss.
And of course during the day there was periods of sleet,snow more sunshine, and more rain, so it is no wonder people like to discuss the weather.
We drove through farm areas and close to the coast. When we reached Clonakilty we had planned to see the model village but the rain sent us into a cafe to check out local treats………it was worth it.
Guess what, we found a stone circle. As I said before, we have seen signs but they were well away from the road so not easily accessed. Stone circles are believed to be part of religious or burial ceremonies by medieval man.
Old Head of Kinsale has been the site for a lighthouse and Signal station for many years. It has witnessed many shipwrecks including the torpedoed Lusitania. Unfortunately we could only see the lighthouse in the distance and the outside of the Signal station. Travelling in winter has the advantage of no crowds and traffic but lots of sights are closed😕
Kinsale is a very pretty town with a long history in trade and defence. It has quaint shops and the ruins of two forts. On top of this it offers swimming,fishing,and sailing……not that I want to do any of these. Well that’s your lot for today…until tomorrow.
Ireland is now showcasing its magnificent and diverse scenery by developing different tourist routes. We are following the Wild Atlantic way which is signposted. This route takes travels around the coast but always allows people interested in hiking and fishing to use it as a base.Consequently , we often see hiker or other quirky signs. I don’t think these were the hikers meant.
Cable cars are common in many parts of the world. In Ireland there is only one cable car, it goes to Dursey Island. 2012 was the last time livestock were allowed on the cable car….now it is just for the 30 people who live on the island and tourists. The island has been inhabited since the time of the Vikings. They used it as a prison for Irish slaves. Farming and fishing are still the main occupations for the islanders.
From the cable car we ventured through Bantry where there was a little touch of spring. Bantry has had a mixed past of fishing, mining, farming and control by gentry evidenced by the Gatehouse to the main estate.
Rain and high winds today. We travelled along the Sheep Head Peninsula. This has an interesting change of vegetation seen at the top of the peninsula.On one side of the ridge, farms are tiny with animals scrambling over rocky outcrops and the other farms are large with wide green pastures. This is all because of the sea currents and topography.
At the end of Sheeps Head is the Mizen Head Signal Station. It is the most south westerly point in Ireland. A bridge was built to connect the island ,where the Signal station is positioned , to the mainland. The Signal station keeper was quite isolated until the bridge was built in the 1900’s. I went out on the bridge just as a squall hit and the strength and noise wind sent me scurrying across very quickly. Don’t worry, I took pictures.
From the Signal station,you can just see the Fastnet Lighthouse which is nine miles south,southwest of the station. This is a beautiful lighthouse on an isolated rock shelf. It is the first point you see coming from America by sea.These three blocks make up one keyblock in the base of the lighthouse.
I did walk up the 99 steps as well.
Cork is renowned for its medieval history. Now we have searched for unique signs of this but rain,mud and snow have kept us to the beaten paths but today success! We found the Altar burial site……only a bit of mud to reach it. It is lined up with a distant rock formation and has been used by people in different ages as a sacred place. It’s most recent use was an altar during the period when priests were unable to have mass in church. I was right chuffed to see a genuine really old thing.
Being winter still , there are few plants around but the mosses and sedges are beautiful in their own way. Yellow gorse is seen beside the road and in undeveloped land.
Now most castles when derelict are left as they are too expensive to bring up to modern standards. This is Baltimore Castle. We saw pictures of it roofless and with plants sprouting every which away…now it is a family home.
Some folk ,or perhaps a guard dog,to say goodbye for today!
Ireland has beautiful changing landscapes from peat bogs, compact and large farming plots ringed by hedges or walls and then quaint villages. We drove down through all of these and Irish winter weather……sun, rain ,sleet and snow.
Arriving in Templemore,we received a warm Irish welcome from friends. Time to sit by the fire, catch up,share stories and then visit the local pub.
Now Kilkenny was a time to see some history but since, now I had a co conspirator ,retail therapy . I did find a few things for grandchildren but for you my friends , it will be chocolate ,as I forgot to ask your size ,accidentally of course. Kilkenny is beautiful with its castle dominating the town and of course the streetscape which is a mixture of very old,not so old and new.
The evening was spent in the very best way: dinner, then a quiet time in the warmth of the pub, home for tea/ coffee by the fire and lots of talking and sharing. One of the best ways to experience travel, with friends.