The Boatmen of Kinsale

Trip Start May 05, 2009
Trip End May 26, 2009

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Where I stayed
The Old Presbytery

Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hello, everyone.  Greetings from Ireland!  It is my turn to write about our fabulous trip so please bear with me if I start to ramble.  I can't even begin to describe the beauty of this country.  There is every shade of green imaginable, history on every corner of every street and in every facet of their everyday life.  When I say history, I mean way beyond our comprehension as Canadians.  The average village in Ireland makes Heritage Park look like Star Wars. 

On Tuesday, Linda and I left the Lawcus Farmhouse and headed out toward Kinsale with a stop along the way at the Rock of Cashel.  This title does not give this site justice.  It is a monastery, church, graveyard, etc. built on top of this huge rocky hill and would be absolutely impossible to penetrate.  From the top, the view of the surrounding area is breathtaking and what surrounds you on that top is humbling.  It dates back to the 12th century, with new parts being added every few hundred years.  While the roof has crumbled in, it is amazingly preserved - even some of the frescoes on the ceiling are still visible.  There are headstones in the cemetary that go back 500 years!  Both Linda and I were both completely awestruck.  We were finally able to drag ourselves away and drove on to Kinsale.  Absolutely beautiful scenery on the way, especially along the smaller "highways".  That is a joke!!!  These roads are equivalent to the width of our bike paths!  And, they are two lanes!!!!  I haven't killed anyone yet but I think Linda has started to say her prayers at night.

We arrived in Kinsale and immediately fell in love.  It is a beautiful harbor town with multi-colored buildings, fantastic restaurants and great little pubs with traditional music.  Although it is quite touristy, it definitely maintains its' quaintness and it is a real treat to spend three days here.  We didn't realize how tired we were until we settled into the "Old Presby" (our lovely bed and breakfast) so we have definitely taken it easier here.  Having someone make my breakfast and having to get up early to actually eat it is wearing a little thin, so we arrive for the morning meal at the last possible minute.  Then we spend the day exploring, brousing and shopping with a break here and there for a half pint of guinness.  It really has been nice.

We are on our way tomorrow to Kenmare, driving around the coastline to get there.  We understand that it is spectacular scenery so we have both charged up our cameras in anticipation.

I just want to say, if I were to be asked what is most striking about Ireland, it would be tough to answer.  The scenery is beautiful and the historical presence gives me goose-bumps.  But, as the worlds' history truly belongs to all of us, I would have to say that what really makes Ireland, is the Irish.  They are friendly, warm and accommodating.  They have a great wit and a relaxed resilience that could bite you if you tried to take advantage.  They kind of remind me of the old punching bag blow up doll my brother had when he was a kid.  No matter how much you kept punching it, it still popped back up, sometimes to smack you in the head.  Their most precious gift, though, is their love of words.  They are poetic, passionate and love to tell stories.  You will find poems and quotes everywhere you go, all written by the multitude of famous writers, poets and philosophers who are claimed by Ireland. 

I will sign off now but I will leave you with a beautiful poem Linda and I read yesterday by the harbor that has been dedicated to all the men from Kinsale lost at sea.  I miss everyone and look forward to telling you all the great stories from Ireland.

"His hooker's in the scilly van
When seines are in the foam.
But money never made the man
Nor wealth a happy home.
Bless'd with love and liberty
While he can trim a sail.
He'll trust in God, and cling to me
The Boatmen of Kinsale."
       -Thomas Osborne Davies, 1814-45
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