Saturday, May 27, 2006

Towns starting with C or K



















[Thursday] Today we surveyed the coast between Clonakilty and Cobh., following a few confusing back-roads via Timoleague and Courtmacsherry passing estuaries populated by herons, lapwings and godwits. The terrain reminded me a lot of the area south of Hobart, Tasmania that Bondi had toured amost exactly two years ago.

We finally wound up in Kinsale. This is an expensive seaside village but it wasn't showing its best face today: grey clouds & drizzle, and low-tide brought the smell of rotting kelp wafting through the streets. I picked up a copy of local resident Aidan Higgins' autobiographical
volumes collected as "A Bestiary" on spec:
Then one spring old Jem Brady began to go queer in the head. Dado told him that there was a colony of rats in the hayshed and old Jem said: 'Of all the birds in the air I do hate a rat,' which was to become a stock phrase in our family.
The last writer I discovered on a trip to Dublin in '97 was Mike McCormack, with his stunning short story collection "Getting it in the head". In Cork I picked up a copy of his latest novel "Notes from a Coma", about a child rescued from a Rumanian orphanage.

After lunch in Kinsale, further backroads led us through Cork and onto the Great Island in Cork Harbour where Cobh is situated [top photo]. As brightly coloured as every other town we'd visited, it all features a number of venues named after wrecked ship. I wondered if the Titanic Bar featured ice served with every drink. The town was renamed Queenstown in 1849 (for Queen Victoria), a name it kept through the century of the great Irish diaspora, and so the local heritage centre features the Queenstown Experience.





































Outside is a statue of Annie Moore, the first person to be processed through the US's Ellis Island, a tribute to those who travel widely with their malamutes. The genealogical resource centre inside turned out to be a counter inviting mail or email requests for famly searches. Cobh, like Kinsale (& Blarney), is dominated by American tourists tracing their roots and despairing their declining dollar.

One could wish that the AUD were as kind to me!










Caught the car-ferry from Great Island to West Passage to avoid Cork's ring-road and headed
back towards Kinsale. Was disappointed to find that one of the local castles was about as big as a terrace house and so we continued a bit further to Charles Fort. The fort had just closed for the afternoon so we just wandered around the exterior grounds.

Drove back to Clonakilty via Kilbrittain and some coast roads we missed when travelling in the other direction this morning. Tried to locate the Lusitania memorial at Old Head, but foggy roads made navigation difficult, and we popped out on the beach at Garretstown where Bondi played with a friendly retriever. Despite the gloomy weather, enjoyed listening to Zero 7's new album "The Garden", which is their third winner IMHO, and makes good use of vocalist Jose González albeit with production techniques that sometimes make him sound a little Alan Parsons Project-like.













Today marks one year since Bondi & I left Sydney on this adventure.

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