Today was an Irish Bank Holiday.
Got up to write my blog, Angela got up around 7.00am, made a cup of tea & went back to bed. Chris got up & wandered around in his boxer shorts, then returned to the bedroom. Jackie then got up around 9.00am!
We all got out around 10.30am & piled into the car. First stop was to try & get close to Jeremy Irons’ castle, Kilcoe Castle that was only a couple of miles from our cottage as the hooded crow flies. After driving down a series of narrow overgrown lanes we stumbled across a sign for a 12th Century Medieval Church & Graveyard overlooking Roaringwater Bay.
We went to investigate and found it to be an ivy strangled ruin and a graveyard that still has approximately 2 burials a year. A couple of photos later & we walked down the lane passing a field full of cows towards Kilcoe Castle.
The ruin of Kilcoe Castle was bought by Jeremy Irons in 1998 & started a 6 year restoration that cost €1 million. The castle consists of 2 towers, a thick one & a thin one, which are painted in terracotta. It is now Jeremy’s family home.
Towards the bottom of the lane & at the end of a driveway was a sign telling us about Kilcoe Castle and that it was private property, but it didn’t say we couldn’t walk down the driveway to get a better look. Three of us strolled down to get a nice close-up photo, whilst Chris tentatively ambled behind fearing that we were trespassing.
With a now perfect scenic advantage point we took several photos & hung around in the hope that Jeremy would come out & invite us in. He didn’t. Eventually we walked back up the driveway & were back at the sign when a car drove past us. The male driver, not Jeremy, did wave but didn’t stop, but instead drove through the wooden gates into the castle.
We continued to the end of the lane where we found a couple of unoccupied holiday cottages at the waters edge. It felt slightly like we were trespassing again so we didn’t hang around after realising we couldn’t get a better view of the castle. We returned to the car, having failed in our mission to meet Jeremy, but Chris was resolutely determined. He changed tactics & exposed himself in a bush......he claims he was having a wee!
He still failed, so we drove on to the little town of Ballydehob. We parked up in the shadow of it’s famous 12 Arch Bridge, formally a railway bridge over the estuary. We walked around the estuary, over the 12 Arch Bridge & back to the car. On the way we saw the rather ugly 14’ mermaid on a little island that is known as the ‘Lady of the Sea’.
We cruised up Ballydehob High Street & passed the statue of Danno O’Mahony, Ballydehob’s very own world champion wrestler. We continued to the harbour town of Schull to sus out boat trips.
Schull Harbour was a bit of a disappointment, it was small, but a huge,ugly, out of keeping restaurant dominated, spoiling the vista. We walked along the foreshore path & we were amazed to see people sunbathing & swimming in the sea without wetsuits. We then walked up to the High Street & found the Banratty Inn to be a suitable venue for lunch.
Whilst waiting for our drinks & sandwiches to arrive, Chris & I visited the local lothario who ran the Tourist Information Office. A steady stream of middle aged women visited ‘Terry’, but he did have time to assist us with where the girls could go pony trekking & the best local places for live music.
After lunch, we continued west to the end of the country through wild & rugged countryside. Less than 5 miles west south west of Schull at Toormore Bay, we stopped at Altar Wedge Tomb, a wedge shaped gallery grave AND National Monument. I don’t know what possessed us, but Jackie, Angela & I climbed up on to the Tomb for a photo opportunity. We then rushed back to the car & sped off before we got arrested for desecration or worse!
At Goleen we took the scenic coastal route that followed the coast, passing more tourists shivering on wide beaches, round to Mizen Head & it’s Signal Station. The sun was out, but it was pretty windy.
At Mizen Head we parked up, paid our €7.50 each & entered the Visitors Centre, which is an award winning Maritime Museum and Heritage Attraction. Mizen Signal Station was one of Marconi's first telegraph stations & in 1931 had the first Radio Beacon in Ireland.
We walked down the path to Mizen Bridge, an arched bridge over a deep gully below, then climbed along several paths to get different views of the bridge & signal station. We then visited the signal station on a rock jutting out above the swirling Atlantic Ocean below, where there was information about Marconi & the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, 16.5 kilometres out to sea.
We climbed the 99 steps back up towards the Visitors Centre, then I bravely decided to walk down another long path to see the sea caves that apparently featured in the movie ‘Return of the Jedi’. The other three waited at the top for me. I took a selfie at the bottom & puffed my way back up to join them.
We then headed back home, but not before stopping at a stables near Schull to enquire about pony trekking & then Field’s In Skibbereen for more provisions, wine & cheese mainly!
It was gone 6.00pm when we finally returned to the cottage. We sat outside with a cup of tea & cake for 10 minutes before it got too cold, then we returned inside & spent the evening just chilling & chatting & occasionally drinking.
It had been a really great day. The weather had also been kind to us. We didn’t encounter any rain, just sunshine & a lot of cloud.
Song of the Day - Bank Holiday Monday by The StereophonicsRead more
Today was an Irish Bank Holiday.