Monday, September 12, 2011

Kilkenny to Killarney: Castles, seaport towns, and forts

We left Kilkenny today, headed for Killarney. Along the way we passed a ruined mill and the ruin of a round tower. Such towers dot the landscape of Ireland and date from the 9th to 12th century. Most are ruins, such as this one, but some are well preserved.

We stopped for coffee in the quaint town of Cahir.

Cahir is known for its castle, which was used as the setting for part of the 1981 film Excalibur. Interestingly (to us), part of the same film was also filmed at Powerscourt Estate, which we visited a few days ago.

The town has a bronze statue of the Salmon of Knowledge, one of the stranger Irish folklore tales.

Yes, Ireland is really green. This picture was shot from the bus as we drove to our next stop, Kinsale.

This gull greeted us when we arrived at Kinsale's wharf. We looked around the town a bit before lunch.

This boat is sitting on the harbor bottom at low tide.

We've seen this in more than one town: businesses flying three flags -- E.U., Irish, and American.

Street scenes.

The "street train", which takes people around the town and out to the fort, which we'll see after lunch.

These two gents, both from Kinsale, are memorialized in a small park. Timothy McCarthy, on the left, went with Shackleton's trans-antarctic expedition and survived an 800-mile trip in an open boat from Antarctica to South Georgia to get help. Mortimer McCarthy, six years older and presumably Timothy's brother, went with Scott's doomed South Pole expedition, but not the final push to the pole (and thus he survived). Amazing stuff for a small Irish town.

We had an excellent lunch at the Wharf Tavern in a dockside hotel. Apparently they serve quite a lot of Guinness, including some to us.

After lunch our bus took us to Charles Fort just outside of town and at the entrance to Kinsale harbour. The road train from the town pulled up not long after we did.

It's a "star fort", built in the shape of a star because the towers jutting out from the star shape can fire on attacking troops who have reached the fort's walls. Here we're just inside the fort and our guide (right) is explaining the map of the fort.

It was really windy when we visited, and some of our group were almost blown down.  Photo by Gerald G.

The only way I end up in a picture on my blog is when someone volunteers to take a picture with my camera, as here.

All the fort's buildings were ruined, although a few have been restored for use as a visitors' center and other administrative uses. The destruction happened not back in the 1700s or 1800s, but in 1922. The fort was destroyed by the anti-Anglo-Irish Treaty forces during the Irish Civil War. The buildings were stuffed with straw and set ablaze, so most are without roofs. Large trees are growing inside some buildings.

There are several of these structures. They look for all the world like barbecue pits. I'm certain they're not, but I have no idea what they really are.

Several people had the same idea for a picture at the same time (including me).

Our guide took this picture of the whole group, so I'm in this photo as well.

After the fort, on to Killarney where we'll spend two nights.

Here's where we traveled today:


  1. Hi Rick:
    Great photos . . . and one of you too! Thanks for taking the time to document your wonderful adventures. Mary at All Classical

  2. Killarney is a refreshingly unspoiled destination for travellers seeking an escape from the crowded city. Visit for an authentic country experience.


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