After a few mishaps (and a breakfast of grocery donuts), Mary Cate and I boarded the Road Rail for a tour of Kinsale and trip to Charles Fort. Cheesy Celtic music played while we waited to take off (some of which sounded suspiciously like Gardens of Time). As Mary Cate said, “This is probably the most touristy thing we’ve done the entire trip.” I replied, “That’s not that bad, actually.”
The driver/conductor kept up a steady string of info while we were in motion. We probably should have done this the first day, because we found out where the cheapest places to eat are and why so many restaurants are expensive. (Apparently Kinsale is a famous place for food. Who knew?) We had some lovely views of the harbor, and learned a lot about the history of the town.
Charles Fort is one of the best preserved star shaped forts around. As we approached, we learned an interesting tale (which we later read in more detail in the exhibit). Once upon a time, the daughter of the governor (head of the fort) got married to one of the officers. As they were walking along the walls after the marriage, she remarked to her new husband that she liked some flowers growing on the cliffs below. He went and asked one of his lower-ranking friends to go get him the flower for her. The friend was like, “Sure, but can you keep my watch while I’m gone?” So the husband sits on watch duty. But the friend takes longer than expected, and the husband falls asleep. His father-in-law, the governor, comes up and sees a soldier sleeping on duty. So he shoots the fellow in the head. Only afterwards does he realize it was his son-in-law. Upon hearing what happened, the bride runs and throws herself into the sea, still wearing her white bridal gown.
All of those things actually happened. It’s said that the bride still haunts the place. She is called the White Lady.
So, anyway. As we explored the fort (which was really cool and a little creepy), we kept making remarks about the White Lady (and about the living conditions of a woman who married an army soldier, which proved to me that sailors are preferable, for all their going-to-sea-and-never-coming-back). At one point I had made some teasing comment, stepped behind a creepy building and a pigeon burst out of a hole in the wall, startling me. Well played, pigeon friend. Well played.
After exploring the fort, we retreated inside for tea and sandwiches. Once we were relatively warm, I ducked back into the ticket office to buy postcards. I also asked the men behind the desk what they knew of Desmond Castle and if they could direct me to any books to study. They were both apparently scholars of some sort (they made passing remarks to each other about the tortures of the archives). They recommended I try to look for records/logs by the soldiers stationed there at the time. They also recommended I study Edinburgh Castle, which apparently was used for a similar purpose during the Revolution, but is much more famous so has better records. There may also be trails I can follow from the States, since George Washington obviously knew about Desmond Castle and the conditions there. All fantastic tips. At first I was sort of, “Awww, no book.” But then I figured it could be a good thing there are no records. It means I get to make more stuff up!
We caught our friend the Road Rail back down to Kinsale. We’d learned that some famous pirate lady was buried a little hike from the village, and asked the guide about how to get there. But we were told it was covered in stinging nettles and really, really hard to find. So we took a walk down by the cliffs (not super impressive, but some nice little waterfalls).
After that, we stopped in town for midafternoon tea and sweets. We popped into a random bakery/cafe. I got an apple crumble, and it was amazing. Mary Cate swears her cheesecake redefined the way she thinks of cheesecake. It was really good, and the lady was really nice.
At that point, we ended up going back to the room for a bit, just cause there wasn’t much else to do except go into shops. We emerged again in search of dinner, hoping to go to one of the cheap pubs we’d looked up online. However, there was a big game on, and all the pubs were overcrowded. So we ended up in a less-expensive place, where I got a delicious chicken melt sandwich.
After that, we grabbed material for a packed lunch (for today on the bus). Then it was back to the room and internet.
Now, today, we’re all packed up and about to head to Galway. The next few days are going to be pretty insane. Huzzah!