Ireland Day 3 – West Cork

ireland31.jpg

Like the Pictures? Buy the Prints. For more Ireland photos, visit Brian Eden’s gallery.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2007

Enough with the cities. On Saturday morning, we left Cork to see the real Ireland. The small towns. The rolling countryside. The sheep.

We would not be disappointed.

West Cork Road

Our first stop was the town of Kinsale, 20 minutes South of Cork. Kinsale is one of Ireland’s most picture postcard port towns. (Say that 5 times fast.) The fishing village of 2,000 is brimming with charming Bed & Breakfasts, art galleries, and restaurants. None of which were open yet, so, after taking a morning’s worth of pictures, we headed back to the car. Then I slapped myself on the forehead, did the walk of shame around to the other side of the car and sat down in the driver’s seat.

Pictures from Kinsale:
Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Boat

.
Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Boat

.
Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Fisherman

Kinsale Swan

Kinsale Swan

Kinsale Swan

Kinsale Hydrant

Boat Planter

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Fishermen

Kinsale

Kinsale Yellow House

.

Kinsale Purple Door

No Entry

Shells on Windowsill

Kinsale Colors

Kinsale Doorway

Kinsale Doorway

Dad in Kinsale

Kinsale House

Kinsale Rooftops

Kinsale House

Kinsale Window

Kinsale House

Kinsale

Kinsale

Kinsale House

Dad in Kinsale

Kinsale Cottage

Kinsale Bicycle

Kinsale Bicycle

Kinsale Bicycle

Kinsale

Kinsale

Kinsale Mural

Kinsale Man

Kinsale Man

Kinsale Man

Kinsale Man

Kinsale Man

Kinsale Car

Kinsale People

Kinsale Couple

From Kinsale, we drove south into the lush farmland of West Cork. Almost immediately the countryside turned brilliant green. It was as if someone adjusted the saturation on the scenery. The long, wispy grass gave way in the distance to the cobalt sea. It was like we were driving through the pages of a calendar. This was Ireland as I’d always imagined it, albeit without the leprechauns.

Holstein Cows munched happily in the fields, oblivious to the billions of dollars this particular swath of real estate would fetch from Condo developers in the United States. This would be McMansions faster than you could say Venti Carmel Macchiato.
Ireland

West Cork

West Cork

West Cork

West Cork

West Cork

Dad in Wast Cork

Dad in West Cork

West Cork

Dog

West Cork

.
Cork Cows

.
West Cork Boat

As the narrow road wove through pastures, we followed a sign for the scenic route along the R604 and soon found ourselves with sweeping views of the water and the tranquil Garrylucas beach.
Garrylucas Beach

It was horrible.

There was nothing there! Just sand, water, and sky. Where were all the dirty tee shirt shops? The tilt-a-whirl? The funnel cake? What kind of beach was this?!!?!? The didn’t even have Skee Ball! I’m gonna figure out who this Garry Lucas character is and write a strongly worded letter.

Somehow we found the will to go on taking pictures, despite the lack of anything to see.
Garrylucas Beach

.
Garrylucas Beach Parasurfing

Garrylucas Beach Parasurfing

Garrylucas Beach Parasurfing

Garrylucas Beach Parasurfing

Garrylucas Beach

Girl pictured above: Desperately searching for miniature golf.

Garrylucas Beach Terriers

Garrylucas Beach Terriers

Garrylucas Beach Fisherman

Garrylucas Beach

Garrylucas Beach

Garrylucas Beach

Garrylucas Beach

This appeared to be a primative ring toss game. The prize? Disappointment.

Garrylucas Beach

Garrylucas Beach

Garrylucas Beach

img_1191rev.jpg

After the crushing disappointment of Garrylucas beach started wearing off, we jumped back on the road and headed to a town called Ballinspittle for lunch, because we were hungry and I like saying Ballinspittle. We ate at Hurley’s Pub. I had fish and chips. It came with cole slaw. Which was my first green vegetable in three days, if you can even consider it that.
img_1193.jpg

.
For those of you keeping score at home, now would be a good time to start taking bets on which would give me a heart attack first: the driving or the food.

.
Cork/Kinsale Sign

.
Ballinspittle Woman

From Ballinspittle, the R600 snaked west through the villages of Lisheenaleen, Burren, Timoleague and Clighgriffin until we reached Clonakilty.

West Cork

Dad in bushes

Dad

West Cork

.
West Cork

This is the 13th Century Timoleague Abbey:

Timoleague

Timoleague

Timoleague

.
This is the 21st Century Timoleague Cow:

West Cork Cows

Clonakilty, a town of 3000, which swells to nearly double the population during tourist season, appeared to swell to 3002 when we parked the car. Judging by the looks we got from the locals, they were either confused to see tourists in November, or had never seen Jews.

Either way, I decided to avoid eye contact.

Clonakilty

Clonakilty is a charming town. Colorful buildings stretch out along a welcoming main street with art galleries, butcher shops and pubs. Clonakilty won the title of Ireland’s Tidiest Town in 1999. An honor bestowed by the Irish Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

The Tidy Towns competition is a genius way to clean up the country and promote local improvements. Every year, 750 towns and cities across Ireland are judged on landscaping, wildlife and natural areas, litter control, waste minimization, well-kempt-ness, and road quality (streetscapes, potholes, signpost cleanliness, etc). The winning town is awarded 15,000 Euro, a trophy and bragging rights. The results are published in a handbook to promote tourism, and the winning tidy towns are decked with banners touting the honor.

I would suggest starting a similar contest in the USA, but most people I know can hardly handle a tidy bedroom, let alone an entire town.

Some pictures from Clonakilty:

Clonakilty

Clonakilty Women

Clonakilty

Clonakilty Hand

Clonakilty

Clonakilty Fishmonger

Clonakilty Doors

Clonakilty Doors

Clonakilty Church

Clonakilty

Clonakilty

Clonakilty

Clonakilty

From Clonakilty, we made our way up the mercifully wider route 71 to Bandon. Another adorable town that may or may not have been Tidy.

Bandon

Bandon

.
Bandon
My favorite thing about small town Ireland is the aroma. As the sun sets, plumes of wood smoke perfume the air from every chimney. The smell is thick and savory. A barbecue without the food. The smoke lingered on my sweater and made the chilly evening feel a few degrees warmer than it actually was. If Yankee Candle could figure out an Irish Wood Burning Fireplace candle, I’d stock up in a heartbeat. It’s a sensory memory that will take me back to Ireland long after the trip is over.
More from Bandon:

Bandon Woman

.
Bandon Woman

Bandon Woman

Bandon Barber

Bandon

Bandon

Bandon Guinness

Bandon Guinness

Bandon Butcher

Naked Lights

In Bandon, the cigarettes are required to wear pants.

Back in Cork, we went to a restaurant near the hotel. I’ve lost the name. But it featured the Worst Music in the History of Dining. As I looked across the candlelit table at my father, Andy Abraham (the British Peabo Bryson) crooned “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

This was followed by, “The Greatest Love of All,” “When I fall in love” and “The Impossible Dream.”

Which was, apparently, for the CD to end.

Along with the dreadful soundtrack, the restaurant offered a three course, prix fixe meal. After a decent potato leek soup…

img_1310.jpg

I had a salmon filet in cream sauce over mashed potatoes. It was served with a side of mashed root vegetables. I guess mashing the salmon would’ve been too much trouble.

img_1312.jpg

On the dessert menu, there was a curious item was called a Banoff Roulade. I asked the waitress what it was.

“I don’t know,” she replied, deadpan. A thick Polish accent. “I have no idea. I’ve worked here just two weeks.”

“Um. Okay.” I said. Expecting the next sentence to be “let me check.”

Instead, she continued, “It has cream. It is something inside with cream.” This was followed by silence, as she waited for my order.

I scratched my head and glanced back at the menu.

“I’ll have the apple pie.”

img_1313.jpg

I can only image the chef’s confusion at the end of the night. “Jeesus, why didn’t we sell any o’ these fecking Banoff Roulades?”

A few night photos from Cork:

Cork at night

Cork at night

Cork at night

Back in the hotel, we flicked on the news. The anchor related a story about a 47 year-old man from East London named Paul Durant. Durant pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend and then “eating parts of her body.” Disturbing as the story was, it was equally disturbing how matter-of-factly the news anchor related the details. He might as well have been delivering the football scores. Was this normal behavior in East London? I would expect the anchor to at least give a slight nod to the horrific nature of the crime.

Instead, he turned it over to Patrick with the weather.

I began to wonder if I should be more suspicious about the Shepherd’s pie.

Like the Pictures? Buy the Prints. For more Ireland photos, visit Brian Eden’s gallery.

Advertisements

One thought on “Ireland Day 3 – West Cork

  1. Lawrence Eden says:

    Another really good commentary and its all true. No exaggeration. Just wondering if you have washed that wood burning fireplace sweater yet?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: