I have written some lovely descriptive pieces about the beauty in the hills of Kerry and the rugged charm of Sugarloaf, all the while forgetting some of the lovely places that I’ve been in Cork. Come to the real capital of Éire and the actual European capital of culture 2005 and feast your eyes on the glorious nature of the Rebel County.
Old Head Kinsale
Old Head Kinsale sounds like the name of an auld lad that’s been on the same stool in the same bar for decades, supping away at the dregs of a pint of Guinness and pawing at the greasy end of a bag of bacon fries. In reality it’s a magnificent, jutting piece of rock that looks like it was carved from a giant’s side. An absolutely stunning view awaits you across the Atlantic, seagulls dotting the horizon and occasionally stealing closer to see if you have any food. One time, my buddy Dave brought his pasta with him in a lunchbox ‘coz he’s a healthy boy and the seagulls nearly converged on us as we sat on a rock.
Steeped in ancient history, passing hands from the original settlers to the Vikings and to the Normans, there is a golf link behind the tower at the entrance. Dún Cearna is now a tourist spot and probably my favourite viewpoint in all of Ireland. It genuinely feels like you’re on the edge of the world and that you’re about to start off on a great adventure like the many great warriors that settled there of old.
Stop into Kinsale town on the way back home for some quality seafood and a nice, friendly vibe.
Lcated outside Clonakilty, this beach is picture-perfect. While myself and the friends found it hard to actually fin our way onto the beach from the car without a ten-foot drop, it was worth the journey. We looked so out of place with our high-brow fashion and multicultural garments, intimidating the locals as we walked by in a haze of arrogance that only people from closer to the city could muster. It was as far west as any of us would ever go again…
Come with me now to the magical wood of Farran, almost halfway between the two dreaded lands of Macroom and Balincollig. Most places that I don’t like or loathe in Cork are in my bad books as a result of fights in underage G.A.A. I need to let this stuff go. I made the pilgrimage to Farran Woods and feel cleansed again. Perhaps one day I may set foot in each revolting town once more.
Ireland’s Alcatraz has an eventful history. It passed from Irish hands to Normans, from the Normans to the English after the Act of Union in 1800 and then finally back into Irish control after the Bunreacht na hÉireann in 1938. It was then used as a prison until 2004 while the prison guards and some civilians actually lived on the island. The famous riot of 1985 should be known to all viewers of Reeling in the Years, where prisoners escaped and made camp on the roof of what is now known as the Burnt Block.
The island now hosts tours of the old facilities. Myself and K did one there at the end of last year and it is really interesting. They also host horror movie nights and events for horror movies. We attended one where several famous Irish and English actors, producers and casting directors answered questions. We then watched Dog Soldiers, a cult horror classic. Get online and book a tour, you’ll enjoy it.
Unfortunately, Cobh is another town that I don’t like becasue of G.A.A. and I had to drive into the town and spend a bit of time walking through it. A hellish place, so just bear that in mind when you’re making your decision.
Despite this fine establishment residing just outside the dark hole that is Cobh, this zoo is definitely the best in Ireland. The walk around is beautiful and while you are separated safely from the animals, seeing the creatures so close is unreal. The restaurant is standard enough and there were some construction going on around the lemur enclosure that made the place look like an Eastern-European slum. The lemurs had gained the clarity to rob cigarettes and wallets from visitors. They had begun a bartering system and had even held some kids captive. They ran the zoo that day with an iron fist. Other than that, though, it remains a family friendly and enjoyable walk around the grounds.
Lady Bantry’s Lookout
This steep walk, similar to my recent trek up the Cardiac Steps, has one of the best views I’ve ever seen. Just outside, you guessed it, Bantry, thestory goes that Lady Bantry, wife of an Earl, had muscular Irish men carry her up the steep climb as she was in a wheelchair. Goddamn Brits making us do humiliating things for them.
I must confess a sin and say that I have actually never been to Gougane Barra or Mizen Head. Otherwise they would definitely be on this list. Please let me know if you would like to know more about Ireland’s glorious nature and various walks and hikes. Or if you think i missed out on any of the Rebel County’s must-se sights, drop me a message or give me a follow and enjoy my fantasies and reviews of Éire.