After we visited Blarney Castle, we were driven to a town closer to the coast, a place full of mist, mystery and alluring history. (Can you tell I'm listening to Irish ballads as I write this?)
Just before we pulled into town, we stopped to take photos of the five bastion-ed, star-shaped Charles Fort, built in the 17th century. You can read more about Charles Fort HERE. You might also want to google it via images so you can see better pictures of the whole place--I was only interested in certain aspects of it at the time and was preserving space on my camera card for more windows and doors. (Priorities--but I digress.)
Green and gray, green and gray, I can't get enough of this stuff!
Afterwards, we got off the coach and lined up by the visitor's center to wait for our tour guide for the afternoon. Waiting wasn't hard when one had such a delightful spread of posies to feast one's eyes upon.
I found that I had a difficult time listening to the guide--I wanted to experience the town for myself and take more pictures with which to beat my blog audience into tears of boredom. (But, seriously, isn't that row of painted houses marching up the hill the sweetest thing ever?)
I can't resist a Gothic arch to save my life.
By this point, our group had been split in two, a mercy for the half of us who were deaf and couldn't get close enough to hear what was going on, and I was anxious to run around. However, I found that our new guide, the daughter of our first guide, to be more engaging than her father. And yet, I couldn't help but snap photos whilst she told us all about Kinsale. This photo was taken in the center of town where, once upon a time, ships could sail right up to place we were standing.
ANOther door! (I know, but this one has a lion on top of it!)
Once we had heard all about the history of the town, we took off (we only had an hour and a half!) and found this antique store. We decided we would have to come back for that, once we had found some ice cream and chocolate!
I wonder if they pull in all the tables every time it rains? Or are they just super water proof?
This building is particularly reminiscent of a bag of Skittles--however, I was not the first to think of it. Our tour guide explained that some years ago, when tourism really kicked in (after the threat of bombings in the 80's) tourists were dismayed by how gray and dreary the towns looked. So, a country-wide campaign began and there were Tidy Town contests all over Ireland. Kinsale won (I can't remember what year that was) and well deserved their win was. It was the tour guide's father who suggested that someone went around with a bag of Skittles and asked shop owners to choose one as inspiration for their exteriors. (Shelley V, is that you at the bottom right of the picture?)
I couldn't resist taking this picture--I thought my sister Kirsten would appreciate it. You don't hear the name Kirsten (the Kir rhymes with hear or peer) very often.
I had no problem being nosy and taking photos of the gardens of green-thumbed natives. I should be ashamed of myself, but really! Look at those hydrangeas!
We made it back to the antique store, one of the few we saw in all of Ireland--and most of those were closed--but this was the first time we noticed that it was called K. Jones. (I have a K. Jones sister . .. )
So, remembering Kirsten's Cottage, we went inside and asked the woman at the counter if she could possibly be Kirsten. She wasn't, but wouldn't that be neat if she was? (What thinkest thou, Kirsten Jones?)
I really wanted to bring this pitcher and bowl home with me but there were a lot of reasons why I shouldn't. I took a picture, tho, because, apparently, a grainy photo of it is some sort of substitute for the real thing.
I look at this picture and all I can think is: "I want to go to there."
More gorgeous flowers. I have always wanted a lobelia garden (the blue and white and violet and purple blooms at the bottom) or an entire hanging basket of them, but they regularly poop out in our heat. I am determined to figure it out one day.
One of the places we considered eating lunch. In the end, we didn't want to spend our time indoors and happily dined on a locally, handmade chocolate bar. (Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds.)
When I read the signs in this photo, I feel flooded with regret. We never saw a Carmelite Cemetary! Or even one church. All the glorious-ness we missed!
After Kinsale, we went back to our hotel in Cork and hit the main drag of town. We found that the Laura Ashley store was open (why didn't I take a picture of that?) and found wonderful gluten free pizza in an Italian restaurant, one approved of by our coach driver, a CoCorkian (as we were told the natives are called).
In the morning, we embarked on what was our best day in Ireland yet. Next time: an idyllic farm in County Limerick.