"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on November 23, 2017 by Sioux under General
1 Comment

 

My 1st full day in Cork was a trip across the county. We left home relatively early as we had a fairly long drive to what’s known as ‘The Sheeps Head’, where the views are apparently magnificent. With dark grey skies hovering overhead, none of us held out much hope

                                                                                                                                  of seeing the sun. From Kinsale, we headed to                                                                                                                                          where the ‘Battle of Kinsale’ occurred.

 

                                                                                                                                  In September 1601 a Spanish fleet anchored at                                                                                                                                          Kinsale was besieged by the English. An Irish army                                                                                                                                    from the north, which had appealed to the Spanish                                                                                                                                    king to help it against the English, marched the                                                                                                                                          length of the country to liberate the ships, but was                                                                                                                                      defeated in battle outside the town on Christmas 

                                                                                                                                  Eve. The result of the Battle of Kinsale was 

                                                                                                                                  devastating to the Irish culture and way of life, as 

                                                                                                                                  the old Gaelic system was finally broken. As the 

                                                                                                                                  Gaelic aristocracy fled to continental Europe, they 

                                                                                                                                  left behind a power vacuum that the English eagerly

                                                                                                                                  filled. 

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A large Irish chieftain’s stone chair bearing the legend ‘Briseadh Ceann tSaile’ ‘The Battle of Kinsale’ stands about 3.2km’s from Kinsale where the English army overran the Irish forces. After the battle, 1200 soldiers lay dead or dying in the nearby stream of Ballinamona where the millers at Millwater, seeing their mill wheel being driven by blood, renamed the ford ‘Ath an Mharaithe’ – ‘The Ford of the Battle Slaughter’. The chair was erected on the 400th anniversary of the Battle. 

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View across the fields where the battle took place

We stopped briefly at a lake in Clonakilty, where there is a memorial in rememberance of Tiananmen Square, and again in Leap before making our way to Sheeps Head via Bantry Bay. 

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IMG_3171 LR (1 of 1) Clonakilty
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IMG_3178 LR (1 of 1) Bantry Bay mussel farms
IMG_3180 Durrus work house grainery LR (1 of 1)

Spotting an old building right on the water’s

edge in Durrus, but with no place to stop, I

took a photo as we were driving. The building

turned out to be the old work house and

grainery, standing like a sentry on the banks of the estuary where the Four Mile Water River reaches the sea just outside Durrus.

 

Built in the 1790’s as a grainstore, as this area of West Cork is not suited to grain growing, the severe shortages during the Napoleonic Wars meant that all land available was used to produce food. Farmers would bring their grain to the grainery to be sold. It was taken by boat to Cork where it was shipped on to the UK. Only traces of the original quay remain. The building was originally four storeys high, tall and narrow, with three distinct areas inside, partitioned by doors.  

 

The building was put up for sale in 1829 and by 1847 history records that it was used as an auxiliary workhouse when the main workhouse in Bantry over-flowed. It was probably used for children under 15 and staff included a Chaplain, physician, matron and porter. By 1850, it was no longer in use at all and today only some of the outer shell still exists.

Bantry Bay, with the nets of the mussel farms snaking across the water

Close to our next stop in Kilcrohane, we passed an ornamental tower, or folly, which was built around 1847 by Lord Bandon as famine relief, to provide work for the poor. The labourers earned 1-dime a day. Originally three storeys high it is now a rather melancholy shell looking out across Dunmanus Bay. 

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IMG_3181 Lord Bandons Tower LR (1 of 1)

We stopped in Kilcrohane for a bite to eat and a leg stretch, so I did a bit of exploring. A small village in County Cork, and the last coastal village on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula after Durrus and  Ahakista, Kilcrohane lies under the ‘Shadow of Seefin’ – the area’s highest hill and overlooking Dunmanus Bay. The village comes alive in the summer months with locals and foreigners alike. 

       The parish church is in the very heart of the village opposite the national school and

       is open during the day. It’s a quiet and restful place with a warm and welcoming air.

 

       A Roman Catholic church, also known as The church of Our Lady of the Sea, it was 

      built in 1897 at a cost of £1750, replacing a much earlier building which lies just outside the village. Although the older church is a ruin; the grounds are still used for burials. Built from red sandstone, quarried from nearby Dromnea; it is said that the wood for the roof and the pews was ‘wreck wood, blown loose from ships during storms’. 36 windows, all with stained glass, commemorate local people. A memorial plaque remembers the O’ Daly family, and three memorials commemorate members of the O’ Mahony family. 

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After a hot cup of tea we set off again, towards Sheep’s Head. The day was turning more and more dreary and the clouds were thick and heavy with rain. We stopped near Seefin Viewpoint, and walked across the fields but it had started raining, and the wind was icy. I took a few photos of the views and headed back to the warmth of the car. 

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IMG_3222-27_Panorama LR (1 of 1) east across Kilcrohane to Dunmanus
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IMG_3233 LR (1 of 1) Killoveenoge Church, Rooska
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The Marian statue, an engimatic and melancholy Pieta, is situated on top of the Goat’s Path.

 

The two figures, made from white marble are complimented by a large white cross behind them.

 

The statue was erected in 1968 by one Margaret Bryne in memory of her father Timothy Donovan.  

Looking east across Kilcrohane to Dunmanus

On the way back towards Bantry Bay, we passed this quaint little chapel, built on ground raised above the road. The Killoveenoge Chapel was built in 1866 as a ‘Chapel of Ease’ for the increasing Protestant population of the north side of the Peninsula – including English miners who had been brought in to work the nearby lead mines at nearby Rooska. It was built of stone with red brick adding decorative features. It is reputed to have been built on the site of an old Priory which was ransacked by the Danes in 890AD. 

 

There is a lovely little porch and some fine windows, as well as lots of old mossy walls and pathways but I couldn’t get inside the grounds never mind the building, so had to be happy with the photos I got from the outside. 

By the 1980s, the congregation had dwindled and the church was sold in 1988. The new owners converted it into a dance studio and gallery space but it is again up for sale. 

IMG_3239 LR (1 of 1) Glengarriff cemetrey
IMG_3237 LR (1 of 1) Bantry Bay
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We headed back to Kinsale via Glengarriff, stopping only so I could get a photo of this interesting graveyard, where the graves have been dug into the side of a hill, as well as on flat ground. 

From there it was straight home. The heavens had opened and we were cold.

 

A divine dinner in the company of good friends completed a great day out, despite the weather!

 

One response to “Rekindling old friendships #2 – cross county road trip.”

  1. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    Very interesting I would love to go there one day! thank you!

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