Journal Volume 3 2000
An April trip to Cork
By Edith Cairns
We set off for Cork on Monday, April 17th The weather was both wet and chilly but by the time we reached our first comfort stop in Enniscorthy the sun was beginning to shine. We had a nice coffee break and then off to Youghal, where we were met by the Town Clerk, Ned Brennan, who had kindly arranged a light lunch at the Walter Raleigh hotel. After which we had a most interesting tour of the old walled town, guided by Sheila Loughnan. Who was a very knowledgeable person and made every effort to satisfy our thirst for the data of the town on our 'Historical Trail’, taking in the Water Gate, the Clock Gate and the Benedictine Priory on North Main Street.
Near the Clock Gate is Tynte’s Castle, a much-altered fifteenth century tower-house. Across the road from Tynte’s Castle we were able to obtain a view of the outside of Myrtle Grove, for some years the home of Sir Walter Raleigh. Lastly we visited St. Mary's Collegiate Church, one of the most interesting ancient parish churches in the country still in use. It was completed in the 15th century, incorporating portions of an 11th century predecessor. It contains many interesting tombs.
Back on the coach again we travelled on to Midleton to visit the Distillery, where three of our members got their 'whiskey tasting' certificates. The Distillery was opened in 1825; the buildings were previously used as a woollen factory. After this visit we set off for Cork City and our stay at the Imperial Hotel where after a quick change we were welcomed by our Chairman and had an aperitif and a very welcome dinner.
Up bright and early on our second morning, having had a hearty breakfast, we set off for Cobh Heritage Centre, a feature that should not be missed out by anybody visiting the area. It is excellently put together with very graphic scenes from the famine years, showing the awful conditions suffered by those travelling to Australia and America. After lunch we visited the Cathedral of St Colman, a very beautiful work of architecture. French Gothic, it took 47 years to build. After this visit it was back to the hotel for dinner and later a little singsong in the lounge.
Day three and we were off to Kinsale; our first stop was at Charles Fort, a 17th century fortification situated on the approach to Kinsale Harbour. Unfortunately, it was a seriously wet day and those who ventured for a tour of the Fort got very wet and cold but nonetheless were quite happy. In Kinsale we were met at 'The Spaniards Inn' by our guide, Dermot Ryan, who after lunch showed slides and gave us a talk on the history of the area. From here we set off on the route taken by Michael Collins to Beal Na Blath where our Chairman, Jim Brennan, gave us a most touching and descriptive talk on the Ambush, which took place there when Michael Collins was assassinated. Then it was back to our hotel for dinner, after which we entertained each other with song and verse.
Day four arrived only too soon, and we were on the coach for our final trip homeward. Our first stop was at Barry's Castle, which is being magnificently restored and we feel sure it will be well worth making a visit when it is finished. We travelled on to Birr for a nice lunch, after which we went to Birr Castle and were given a demonstration of the workings of what was for over 70 years the world's largest telescope, constructed at Birr Castle by the third Earl of Rosse in the 1840's. The telescope looks and moves as it did 150 years ago. After this we toured the gardens for an hour or so, then, having enjoyed afternoon tea, we set off for our return to Greystones, tired but very happy.