Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Kinsale adventure by bicycle

I got up early to do laundry. Yep, on a Sunday morning in Kinsale. They upgraded their facilities at the KYC including laundry. When I got there, there were clothes piled everywhere and I thought I'd never get in. But the nice young man in the bar came down and unloaded everything. I bought coins for the washer and dryer (€4 wash and $3 dry - €7 per load compared with €16 for one load washed dried and folded in Dingle) and got myself in before anyone else! Yes! That's cruising experience at work. Doing laundry in exotic places.

We made breakfast while the first load got done. Then I brought my laptop to the club and did online stuff in between. By the time my three loads were done, there was a queue of at least three people waiting to get theirs done. A simple lunch on board, and bikes were ready to go to Charles Fort.

The trip was mostly downhill and I pushed a lot of the way. By the time we got there, the wind had really picked up and the promised gale was in full swing. It was a beautiful sunny day otherwise, and we enjoyed the visit, scrambling through history.

Charles Fort (Irish: Dún Chathail) is a star fort located on a promontory overlooking Kinsale harbour, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove in County Cork, Ireland. James' Fort is located on the other side of the harbour.

Charles Fort, which is named after Charles II, is built on the site of an earlier stronghold known as Ringcurran Castle, which featured prominently during the Siege of Kinsale in 1601. The fort was designed by Sir William Robinson, architect of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The fort was built in the 1670s and 1680s to a star fortification design, a layout specifically designed to resist attack by cannon and facilitate defense in any direction.

The fort however is overlooked by higher ground, which put it at risk of attack from on high.
The fort was in fact besieged in 1690 during the Williamite War. It was repaired after the siege and  remained in use as a British Army barracks for two hundred years.

On the far side of the harbour are the ruins of James’s Fort, which was built in 1607 to deter any further incursions by the Spaniards into Kinsale. It too was captured by Williamite Forces in 1690.

There are several lovely walks in Kinsale. One begins in the car park at Charles Fort. The well-made path heads southwards towards Middle Cove which is now occupied by a boatyard but was once a settlement of native Irish seafarers. The path continues on to Lower Cove from where the harbour pilots set out to board ships entering the port channel.

On the way back, we noticed an alternate trail, the Scilly Walk. The Scilly Walk is a signposted pedestrian path along the sea that runs from Scilly, the area across the harbor from Kinsale, all the way to Summer Cove and Charles Fort. It is a paved path and suitable for bicycles. Except for the very steep beginning, the rest was level with lovely views across the harbour.
Our French neighbours set out in the opposite direction along the popular and easy walk from Kinsale is to Castlepark, James Fort and the Dock Beach. The headed out of town toward the Bandon River, over the bridge and then turned left down to Castlepark. They said it was approximately 7 km (4 miles) to Dock Beach and back and unusually for Kinsale no hills! We';ll have to try that one next time.

We got a call from Flor Long that he and Brenda were coming to the yacht club and invited us to join them for a pint, which we gladly did. It was lovely to catch up with them. Flor is the OCC Port Officer for Kinsale and a member of ICC.

We had reservations for dinner at the Steakhouse.  When we arrived, we realized it was the same place we had eaten once before in Kinsale but then it was a Polish-Irish fusion restaurant. The new iteration has been there for two years and is rated top of the list in Kinsale on Trip Advisor. We both ordered ribeye steak, but I chose the Dexter and Alex chose the regular beef so we could compare. It came with a choice of steak sauce on the side, both of which were amazing. There we found another malbec, a Zuccardi Q 2013 from the Uco Valley. It was more acidic than the Alta Vista 2011 Terroir Selection. Our servers turned out to be the owners, Gwen and Allister, and they were delightful.

So another great experience overall, and another super day on the Costa del Cork. Thank you Kinsale!

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