Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Day 24: Kinsale, Fort Charles and Cork.

I write these posts by taking photos as I go, of course, but also writing notes. As I was getting ready to do a preliminary draft, I realised that the only notes I took today was when I was at the Fort. Today was a leisurely day, where we wandered around the enchanting ( and for me, expensive) towns of Kinsale and Cork. It was the closest thing to a free day that you can probably get on a tour.

Ben parked the bus at the harbour and told us to be back in two and a half hours.

I set off by myself to the left.

This place is built on and against a hill, with many tiny and windy streets.

A few GRUFF drivers. At least that’s what I think he said to me.


The colour in this place is amazing.

I wandered around by myself for most of the morning. Every now and then I’d see a couple from the tour, but we all seemed to have scattered to the four winds.

There were many little souvenir and arty shops. I am trying to avoid buying any more art… I don’t want to fill up the walls too quickly. I have many more countries to visit!

It’s worth enlarging the photo to read the legend. I tell you what, I don’t blame that girl for becoming a ghost after all of that tragic palaver.

Anyone would.

What I’m looking for is some sculpture or pottery.
But it has to not weigh too much…

It’s a big ask.

It’s the one downside of only taking carry on luggage.

And then I saw little Sean Murphy.

Look at him!

He’s a good boi who just wants his tummy scratched,.He’s brass, but weighs hardly anything. I love him.

Them, not 10 minutes later, I saw a pottery lady with a bright red coat.

I loved her on sight, then picked her up and she failed the carryon test – she has some weight to her. I walked out of the shop but after ten minutes and a chat with Roy from Traralgon who enabled me, I went back and bought her. It might take some creative packing, but I’ll make it work!

After we all made it back to the bus, we made our way up the hill to Fort Charles.
Incidentally, make the photo bigger until you can see the yacht sailing near the headland. It made my heart sing to look at it.

The fort tour was interesting. Dierdre, the guide, was not backward in coming forward as to how she felt about the English, which made Cornelia, one of 3 English people in the tour, huff and puff a bit later, coincidentally not anywhere near where Dierdre could hear her.

Obviously they had a lot of military blah blah blah, but here are a few facts that were mixed in that I deemed Blogworthy.

In 1601 two Irish chieftains sought an alliance with Spain because Spain was Catholic and would help get rid of the English from Ireland and then all would be wonderful. The Spanish sailed in and took the town of Kinsale.
The English lost their shit over this. Kinsale is 2 days’ straight sailing from England. Something had to be done… and fast.

The English fleet hurriedly sailed across before more Spanish ships could reach Kinsale and they blockaded the town. Meanwhile, the 2 Irish chieftains lived nowhere near Kinsale, so by the time they got their men together and headed down to the other end of Ireland, the English were in position and were ready. The Irish were decimated. The Spanish were drummed out of the town and the two chieftains left Ireland , never to return. It’s called the flight of the earls.

This is thereason the fort was built in 1677 -to protect against the Spanish.

After theBattle of the Boyne in 1690, a whole heap of the losing James II’s soldiers took shelter within the fort. William of Orange came here and put the fort underseige. He took the high ground, bombarded the fort and after 3 days it surrendered.

The catholic soldiers were offered their lives. Most took the offer and sailed away to Europe. This is called ‘The flight of the geese.’

Once the fort was built, it was run under very strict rules. Life was hard within the walls, but a soldier was guaranteed 2 meals a day, so in a time when many Irish people were starving, this was a definite inducement.

12 soldiers lived in each room, cooking their 2 meals a day there and eating there. They slept on straw bolsters, with the straw being changed every couple of months.

Very few soldiers got married. Only 6/100 were allowed to do so and it was a ballot system. For the first 50 years the woman had to share the bunk rooms with the rest of the soldiers. The happy couple were probably given a privacy blanket.

It was hard life for a woman. The army provided half the food rations as they did for a man, and they were expected to work as either a nurse in the hospital or in the laundry.

It all made me glad to be in the here and now.

We drove back into Cork and Ben dropped a few of us off in the city centre while a lot of people, with either themselves or a spouse still battling the lurgy, went back to the hotel.

Married Carol from Brisbane was alone on the bus today, with her husband Jeff, (great name!), feeling too tired to come out. She and I happened to hop out of the bus at the same time, so we spent a pleasant couple of hours together, just walking around Cork and nattering away.

This photo is of The English Market. It’s very much like the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne or that one I visited in Adelaide on a Little Adventure.

I took this photo to send to James. His Mum made brack for me when we went there for morning tea, so I sent it with the caption, “Your mum’s brack is obviously the best in Ireland. Nice to see she has a little side-gig going!”

His reply? “Christ, they know how to charge!”

This church had a lot of confessionals lined around the outsides. When I say a lot, I mean MANY.
What on earth are they doing here that requires so much forgiveness?

I had a companion shot here of Married Carol holding the ice-creams we bought, but I wasn’t sure if she’d want to be in the blog, so I chose the photo with no people. She took a photo of me outside a shop with my name on it.

These lanes look so interesting when you’re at the mouth of them, but when you’re walking along them they’re pretty dull. Ah well, at least we’d been to Kinsale.

This is the first tin I’ve bought as a souvenir this trip that I’m not going to give away the contents. I’m dying to know what Shamrock tastes like.

I asked the guy stacking shelves in the shop and he said, “How do I explain it? It tastes… fresh, like.”

And then, as we were walking along, I discovered what the sickness was that had been going through the coach. I had my suspicions… some days we were down as many as 9 people who were too sick to leave their beds.

Married Carol and I walked past a Lush shop. Anyone who has ever been anywhere near one of these shops knows how much they smell. Married Carol wanted to look around, so we went in.

I couldn’t smell a thing.

Ah well. Two and a half years into a pandemic before finally getting COVID isn’t bad going.
But it’s really proved the worth of the vaccine. I had three straight nights of 11 hours sleep and a runny nose and sore throat for three days, but every morning I was up and ready to go. Quite a few people in the bus have missed anywhere from 1 – 3 days of sightseeing.

It hasn’t spoiled my holiday.

(Though when I realised I’ve lost my sense of smell, I washed every single one of my clothes!!! Better be safe than sorry!)


  1. sandyg61

    I love the colours in the villages and your little dog is very cute.
    Blast Covid but glad you were not too ill. That’s still my worry with overseas travel.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I really think my vaccinations saved my holiday.

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