Wednesday, 3 August 2016

TO CORK? OR NOT TO CORK? August 3rd. 2016

Port of Cork City Dock
Ordinary weather to go sailing. Too windy and too wet! Another boisterous sail. We left beautiful Kinsale to make the 40nm passage to Cork. It started out OK but rapidly deteriorated. It was so miserable and misty we hardly saw Cohb as we sailed past. Its 14 miles up the River Lee to Cork City. There was no one on the Port Of Cork City Pontoon, (not surprising in this weather) situated conveniently right near the center of the city so we docked without fuss and once secured, set out to find some city life. Wet and gloomy as it was, we managed to stumble onto a pleasant little Japanese Restaurant for sushi reinforcements and then while away several hours strolling the almost empty holiday Monday streets.
English market
 Tuesday we shopped and explored the English Market, an old Market building in the city with lovely fresh local produce, gourmet delights from near and far and a great dining experience overlooking the activity from the Mezzanine. 
Blarney Castle

Wednesday we grabbed a local bus and headed out to Blarney Castle. The weather was better and the 60 acres of parkland grounds were fabulous.   The first  structure here was a wooden hunting lodge constructed in about 1200 it was reinforced and built in stone in around 1210 then destroyed in 1245, it was later built in stone then in 1446 Cormack McCarthy demolished it for the stone to commence the building of the current castle.
Stable yard
There were far to many tourists, as you would expect, however we persevered for an hour and a half in the que to the top of the castle to kiss the famous Blarney Stone and are now suitable endowed with the gift of eloquence.
"There is a stone there,
That whoever kisses,
Oh! He never misses
To grow eloquent."
It was actually quite fun, with interesting people around and some diversions along to way into tunnels and various rooms leading from the steep and narrow spiral stairs. Always paying strict attention to ones footing on the aged uneven and worn stones. 
Blarney House

Once atop the great castle walls the view was lovely thanks to the clear skies. Blarney Castle is still in private hands and is extremely well presented with fabulous grounds to explore and a new home, Blarney House, built in 1874 for the owners,  in Scottish Baronial style and somewhat resembling a Disney castle. The Colthurst family still occupy it.
Beautiful gardens and grounds at Blarney Castle.
The Poison Garden, just beside the Tower is the only one of its kind in Ireland, complete with a fabulous cannabis plant in a steel cage, along with wolfs bane, mandrake, ricin and opium Blarney gardens with its many other interesting and beautifully displayed plantings, it's a fascinating diversion. There is also a large fern garden and extensive water gardens and waterfalls.  There were rumored to be extensive tunnels under the castle but there is apparently no evidence of their presence today.
We had an unplanned adventure returning to Cork when we missed our city stop and ended up doing a bus tour for another hour or so south to Ringskiddy.
With Cork explored we decided to head to Dublin, taking Taipan instead of driving as planned. Accommodation was all booked out with a long weekend coming up. We will sail east to Rosslare then north to Dublin in 2 day hops.

Goodbye Cork
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Even more photos of Cork and Castles