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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ireland: Cobh, Charles Fort and Kinsale

2nd Stop:  Ireland:  Cobh, Charles Fort and Kinsale
Cobh from the ship
The Irish port, Cobh, has had numerous names.  Looking at the name I would have pronounced it “cob-ha” but it is actually pronounced “cove”.  When the English held it they called it Cork.  After Queen Victoria visited the port in 1922 they changed the name again to “Queenstown”.  After the Irish Revolt in 1922-1923, they kicked the English out and changed the name back to the original Gaelic “Cobh”.
Cobh waterfront

When we arrived the weather was cloudy, overcast, windy and 45 degrees.  We were thankful it was not raining, just a little chilly. The Emerald Princess docked at 9:00 am.  We signed up for an afternoon tour to Charles Fort and the seaside village of Kinsale. 
Meanwhile, after breakfast we decided to disembark and walk around.  Our first stop was the TITANIC museum, a unique experience. Visitors assume the identity of one of the passengers who boarded at Cobh and a guides and videos take you through the ship where you visit a 3rd class cabin and get a look at what the 1st class cabin looked like.  The video then reenacts the TITANIC striking the iceberg, the boarding of the lifeboats, and, by the way, there were not enough for all the passengers.  Then we watched a vivid reenactment of the huge ship sinking.  
There were 2200 passengers including several hundred Irish immigrants who boarded in Cobh on 3rd class tickets.  There were only 700 survivors.  The Irish do not forget those who perished.
As we walked out we looked at the name on our tickets.  MA had the ticket of Agnes McCoy.  She survived.  I had the name of Michael Linehan.  He did not.
St Colman Cathedral

After the museum we walked up the steep hill to the Cathedral of St. Colman, a huge gothic church that dominates the village skyline. It took 47 years to build, from 1868-1915.   After we made it to the top an old Irish gentleman with a cane asked me to help him get down the steps because he had vertigo.  After I got him down and I got back up we went inside the cathedral.  You can see from the photos it is beautiful.  We were treated to a bunch of clean-cut high school kids from a choir who broke out in a beautiful hymn.  From the church we made our way back to the ship and, you guessed it, lunch!

After lunch we met our tour on the dock. There were about 40 of us.  The first stop was Charles Fort, a British fort built in the 1800’s to protect the harbor from the Spanish and other countries England did battle with.  The tour took the group through the dilapidated structure; however, MA and I decided to visit the coffee shop instead.  It was very cold and windy and a cappuccino was the perfect alternative to the cold and windy 40 degree temperature!
Irish countryside

Our next stop was the seaside village of Kinsale.  We had about 45 minutes to walk around.  I took a few photos.  The funniest thing we saw was three young Rugby players walking along, singing and laughing, and then one of them spotted a garden fountain and ran to it, diving into the cold water!  I think he had enough beer in him that he didn’t feel the collision with the concrete or water that soaked his jersey and shorts. 
Ireland is one of the most beautiful places we have seen.  The countryside is forty shades of green.  There are cows and sheep everywhere.  The people are so friendly.  They see a tourist bus and start waving.  The Irish had a warm place in their hearts for Americans and the feeling is mutual.

1 comment:

  1. Wayne,

    Thanks for the update, commentary, and photos. One thing that's for certain - you and MA visit a lot of colorful places. Enjoy the chilly weather while you can - it's been around 90 here (already). Keep the updates coming - I look forward to them.

    HAVE A GOD BLESSED DAY - dave b.


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