Wednesday, March 7, 2012

From Killiney to Kinsale, Ireland

We got married in Ireland in the summer of 2009, so when it came to what to do for our first wedding anniversary we decided it would be fun to celebrate it in Ireland, a trip which would also conincide with my (Andy's) parents golden wedding anniversary.

View from Killiney Hill to Dalkey Island 
View from Killiney Hill down to Killiney Beach

So our trip started in Killiney (my home town), took us down to Wexford to visit some family then onto Kinsale (County Cork), followed by Dingle (County Kerry) before driving up to County Clare before returning to Dublin. Hopefully what you'll see from the photos is some spectacular scenary, whilst you can't always rely on the weather you can rely on having a lot of fun in Ireland.

Our first destination was Wexford to meet up with my Uncle and Aunt, we stayed at Ferrycarrig Hotel (www.ferrycarrighotel.ie). Situated on the River Slaney Estuary, the hotel has some beautiful views over the river, unfortunately for us we didn't see too much of them as the weather was miserable, the only time during our trip. That didn't matter as we had a great meal and good craic with Colin and Miriam.



We left Wexford the next day to drive onto Kinsale (http://kinsale.ie). To quote Peter Barry (former Irish politician) describing Kinsale...
...take one spectacular location,
season liberally with Norman, Spanish and English influence,
add one major battle and let it simmer for 400 years.
The result - Ireland’s fine food capital."

The town's official website says the following "the medieval town of Kinsale is not just about food. it’s also about traditional bars, beautiful buildings, narrow streets, shops and galleries and lots of activities on land and sea. You'll find Kinsale's not just a place - it's more a state of mind!".

Kinsale harbour
We stayed at the Blue Haven Hotel which was great, easily accessible, parking near by, great room and wonderful breakfasts. Check out www.bluehavenkinsale.com. We spent a couple of days in Kinsale and the surrounding area and really enjoyed our time, a lovely place to visit and a great place to  celebrate our first weddding anniversary.

Blue Haven Hotel


We spent a lovely morning visiting Charles Fort, you can follow the route on foot from Kinsale around the estuary to the fort. Perhaps the best-known historical attraction in Kinsale, Charles Fort, is on the road just beyond Summercove. It is open all year, and regular guided tours are available. Charles Fort is one of the finest surviving examples of a 17th Century star-shaped fort, and much of the construction begun in 1678 remains. The fort has two enormous bastions overlooking the estuary, and three facing inland. Within its walls were all the barracks and ancillary facilities to support the fort’s garrison. The fort continued in military use until 1922.

Charles Fort



View back towards Kinsale
That afternoon we took a trip down memory lane as this area had been the home of many family holidays. So we visited Timoleague Abbey and then drove onto Courtmacsherry before returning via the town of Bandon, former home of my parents and my sister before I arrived on the scene.

Timoleague Abbey



The abbey in the village of Timoleague was founded by the Franciscan order in 1240 A.D., on the site of a 6th century monastic settlement founded by  Saint Molaga. The name Timoleague comes from the Irish for House of Molaga (Tigh Molaga).


Courtmacsherry
Next stop Courtmacsherry, this charming village was formerly the summer home of the Earl of Shannon who planted many exotic trees, shrubs and woods around the village. The village of Courtmacsherry grew in Victorian times, as a haven for holiday makers from the city of Cork and as a result several new houses were built. In 1891 the railway arrived and was an important link to the outside world until its closure in 1961. The sheltered harbour, often giving a cosy sense of calm and security while storms wreck havoc outside. 


Much of the village life centres around the lifeboat service, with local voluntary crews ensuring that this historic lifeboat station, one of the first established in Ireland, maintains an active role in bringing safety and assistance to sailors in distress.  In the early 18th century, the Coast Guard chased would-be smugglers along the coast from their sheltered haven in Courtmacsherry Bay. Their cottages still dominate the slope overlooking the harbour, still a favourite haunt of anglers and visitors, because of the exceptional flora and fauna of the area. Highly recommended is the seafood chouder in the village pub, it makes for a lovely lunch.


That evening we celebrated our anniversary back in Kinsale Town. We had a delicious meal in Max's Restaurant (http://www.maxs.ie) before taking in some of the town's midweek nightlife.




That was our last night in Kinsale, next stop Dingle, County Kerry. Before I sign off, here are some more photos from Kinsale, if you've not visited the town or the area hopefully they might entice you to do so.







Slainte from Kinsale
One final tip from the lovely people at Discover Ireland, stop by the Fishy Fish Cafe in Kinsale for some gorgeous seafood. Next destination the Dingle Peninsula