We were on our way again! Leaving the lovely Kildare we headed southwards to the city of Cork. We booked a two night stay in a so called University appartment, which is a sort of bed and breakfast meets hostel accommodation. Old but clean. It was on a rather busy main road but not too far from the centre of town. Fortunately we had a room at the back, so the only noises we heard were coming from above. The persons residing in the room above us must have been wearing shoes made out of bricks. Oh well, we managed to get some sleep anyway. Our first day in Cork we planned to explore the town. The city centre, believe it or not, is on an island. Yes, Cork has a river running through it, the River Lee, and two of it’s channels surround the centre. We browsed and saw a few lovely buildings and did a little bit of shopping, but the highlight was the bustling English Market. Here one can find lots of fresh produce, especially different sorts of fish. It was quite crowded and well visited by locals and tourists alike. It was a very short excursion of Cork, maybe because there was not enough to see or to impress us, or the weather was just too crappy, making everything seem grey. We went for a late lunch then headed back to the “comfort” of our room. Tomorrow is another day!
Baltimore and the famous Beacon
Yay! The weather God smiled upon us. Warm, dry and with only a few clouds floating in the sky. We meandered our way along the coast towards the interesting town of Baltimore.
The coastline between Cork and Baltimore is one word: AMAZING! Before we reached Baltimore, we stopped for a nibble and a bite at this uncommon inland sea-water lake called the Lough Hyne. The water is so clear that you can clearly see plants and animal thingies swimming about, which of course is also essential for marine research. When we sat down on the stone ledge, the water seemed so far away, but by the time we left, the tide had come in. A wonderful process of nature! There is a hilly “forest” next to the lake where many climb up to experience some dazzling views towards the sea. Unfortunately we did not know this, so missed a super opportunity 😞
Before entering the town you come upon this area, favoured and loved by scuba-divers because there are a lot of shipwrecks which can be found here. We found one! ⚓️
Baltimore was completely ravaged in 1631 by either Algerian or Moroccan pirates. Every single person in the village at that time were sold either as slaves, or managed to run away to the nearby town of Skibbereen. The village remained deserted for many generations, but slowly began to recover and prosper around the 1800’s, only to suffer more losses in the Great Irish Famine. Now it is a picturesque little town, with small harbour and the imposing O’Driscoll castle overlooking the area. The recently restored castle, known as the “fort of jewels”, is open to the public.
The short drive out of town to visit the beacon means that you have to meander upwards on a very narrow road before you reach the car park. The beacon is now nearer, but only muscle power will get you to the top. So go on baby, huff, puff and clamber up those rocks!
The beacon and the whole area around it is worth all the trouble to get up there. It was not bad climbing up though…easy peasy *fingers crossed*. The original beacon was too small, shoddily built and also vandalised, that is why a newer and larger one was constructed and finished in the late 1840’s. It is often called the “pillar of salt” or “Lot’s wife”, who is mentioned in the Bible, the book of Genesis. We have seen people sitting on the edge of the cliff enjoying the vast views, while others scrambled down to the rocky waters edge for whatever reason. Both are dangerous. The cliffs are crumbly and not secure and the rocks on the water are slippery. Besides that, the waves hit hard and fast so it is not easy to judge their strength. One little mistake and you done in for…It was on the news last year that three people apparently drowned here. Sad 😢
Drombeg Stone Circle
Driving back to Cork we made a detour past Skibbereen towards the megalithic site of Drombeg to visit this famous stone circle. We almost got lost driving through the back roads, but the trip was very interesting and all the little villages we passed by even more so. When we had almost given up, we found the car park! It is a few hundred metres away from the circle, and you have to walk through an interesting hedged path to get there.
Prepare yourself for the impressive quietness, the historical and spiritual “feelings” and most of all, the most breathtaking views of the fields and the ocean. The weather was beautiful, that is why we also made a little “offering” as a thank you. The circle consists of seventeen pillar stones which have been dated back to 1100BC. It is very popular and we were told that it can become quite busy, but we were the only ones there until an American guy came, looked and left. There is no entrance fee, and only this area is for the public. The surrounding fields are all privately owned…horses, cows, sheep and all.
Hope that you’ve enjoyed looking at all these awesome photos!!