Celtic Discovery

Day 7 - March 30, 2004 - Kinsale and Charles Fort

Even though we did not have to leave until 9:30 today, we still got up at 7:00 and went to breakfast with the group. This is a punctual group and again today, everyone is ready to go on time.

We took the back road on a short drive to a scenic viewpoint at Kinsale through rolling hills, farm lands, and small estates. There are lots of dairy cattle in this area.

DeeDee gave us more information on the history of this area and the siege that took place at Charles Fort. This structure was built in the 1600s, after the defeat of the Spanish and Irish forces in the Battle of Kinsale in 1601.

We had time to investigate this impressive redoubt, one of the best-preserved 'star forts' in Europe, which encloses some 12 acres on the cliff top. Its barracks once housed 2,000 soldiers and were in use until 1920, when the Irish Republican Army burned them.

Our guide, Karin was fabulous. She was a young history major college graduate with such great enthusiasm for the area. We learned a great deal of life in the fort in addition to the military strategies of the battle that took place on these grounds. Our tour of this marvelous fort was approximately 1¼ hours and the time went by too quickly!

From the fort, we walked along a minor road to Summercove, then along the roadside to the start of the Scilly Walk. Here the footpath gave us sweeping views over the Bay of Kinsale.

We headed down toward the town of Kinsale on an ivy covered path that wound through the village and along the edge of the harbor under tall overhanging trees. We passed through the small hamlet of Scilly before rounding a corner to find Jerry and the bus waiting for us at the top of the hill.

A great walk for the morning! We had a little tour of the town and DeeDee pointed out several places to have lunch. We chose Dino’s, a fish and chips pub right on the bay. We ate with Mary and Rollin from Washington state, also two retired teachers.

After lunch we were able to find an internet access in a photo shop and we were able to read our messages and Gennie was able to respond to several of her students at UCCS and both of us responded to Eduardo who is in Austin, Texas with some great friends.

At 2:15, we met DeeDee and several more of our group and hiked to the top of the cliff for an overview of the whole bay, the harbor, and Charles Fort. There are also many old merchant mansions in this area as well an new homes being built as summer retreats.

We were to meet Jerry and the bus at 3:15 so we had a few more minutes to explore this quaint town and to take photos while we waited for the rest of the shoppers to arrive.

Being here before the tourist season is marvelous. Even though it is not green yet, we can see the area without too much foot traffic. I had a chance to talk to several towns people - men and women and it is so much fun. They also ask me why I want to take their picture - they do provide a feeling for Ireland and their wonderful people.

One older gentleman was working on his 1957 Ford Regular and when I stopped to look at it (I was clueless as to the model or make) he came out of the garage, invited me in, showed me the interior where he was replacing the worm rot wood, opened the bonnet and then asked me if I wanted to go for a ride.

I apologized, saying that I had to get back to the group. So I took his picture with the car, he ran into the house, got me a photograph and we bid farewell just as the group returned from the overlook.

When we got back to the hotel we made a trip down the street to pick up our laundry and while Gennie did a bit of ironing, I got the pictures and log ready for sending this evening.

Then Gennie typed much of the journal while I did my portion of the laundry - she is an equal employment employer and believes in all the Fair Labor Laws.

Dinner is on our own tonight as it was last night so DeeDee and Jerry have volunteered to take us all to Monkstown where we will eat together at a lively and well known local pub. Now that these are all non-smoking, it will be a pleasure to enjoy the atmosphere and breathe at the same time!

Breakfast - Carrigaline Court Hotel

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