Friday, 6 October 2017

A Fleeting Visit to Cork.

As Doug was on the mend we decided to take a short sharp trip over to Cork in Ireland to visit his sister Dawn and her family. After the 50 minute flight from Liverpool to Cork it was predictably vey wet for the rest of our first day.

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However, the next day dawned bright and sunny and, as we weren’t scheduled to meet up with Doug’s sister until mid afternoon, we took the ferry across the river from Passage West, which was close to where we were staying, as it was the quick way to get to Cobh, which is Cork’s sea port.

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Cobh is famous for being the last port from which the Titanic sailed on it’s maiden, and ill-fated, voyage to the USA. The imposing Commodore Hotel here at Cobh was chosen by many of the First Class passengers for their overnight stay before embarkation the next day.

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The charming town of Cobh is dominated by the enormous St Colman’s cathedral.

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If you go to Cobh you have to visit the excellent Titanic Exhibition housed in the original White Star office building.

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The room which houses the main exhibition is quite small but cleverly done. There are many facts, photos and illustrations but the best is a video, of the most superb quality, showing parts of the ship on the seabed. The detail is amazing and it feels as if you’re there swimming around the wreck yourself.

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The other part of the experience is very well presented tour around the White Star building visiting several “sets” showing what life was like aboard the ship. We were taken outside to the balcony where the first class passengers could stand and look down at the third class people on the quayside below. Beyond the quay is the original White Star jetty from where thousands left to start afresh in the New World. It was known as “heartbreak quay” because so many people had to say farewell to loves ones who they’d never see again.  

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The reconstruction of some of the ship’s interiors was very well done. This is one of the cheaper First Class cabins. Although the ship provided much better Third Class accommodation than previous liners, there were still only two bathtubs for all the Third Class passengers (roughly 700).

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A view of the original White Star office building housing the Titanic Exhibition. 123 people left from here in April 1912 most of whom were Third Class passengers, and of those, 79 perished.

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Something we hadn’t realised was that “Titanic” didn’t actually leave from quayside at Cobh (called Queenstown at the time) but was anchored some distance away off Roches Point. Passengers had to be tendered quite some distance out to the ship.

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This is the view across Cork Harbour (with Spike Island in the middle) from the high vantage point of St Colman’s cathedral. The harbour is said to be the second biggest natural harbour in the world – the biggest being Sidney, Australia.

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Queenstown is also famous for being the main landing place for the survivors of the “Lusitania” which sank off the coast of Kinsale on May 7th 1915 after being torpedoed by a German U- boat during WW I. This striking monument remembers those who perished.

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James had just enough time to climb the steps to St Colman’s cathedral for a quick look around before we had to head back to meet up with Doug’s sister Dawn.

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Back in Cobh (pronounced ‘Cove’ by the way) we met up with Dawn and family and visited the English Market ……..

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…. where there was seemingly everything edible available for sale.

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As a vegetarian James was still interested in things that were ‘out of bounds’ for him!  ……….

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………. even if some were presented rather dramatically!

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After the market it was time to visit a lovely old watering hole down one of the many little alleys in Cork.

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The inside of which was dark and wonderfully atmospheric.

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On Saturday we met up with Dawn and family in the charming little town of Kinsale.

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Some lovely architecture can be seen around the town …..

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…… but it’s beauty is mostly in the colourful presentation of the buildings.

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The harbour is pretty as well, even in the rain! This side of the wall is the footpath - although it looks like an extension of the harbour!

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Even some of the shops pay tribute to the weather!

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This doesn’t quite show how vivid this double rainbow was but, despite the amount of water which fell from the sky while were there, we enjoyed our short visit ……..


……… and very much enjoyed the time we spent with Dawn and Connor and family.


After the short flight back from Cork, and a train ride from Liverpool airport, we arrived back “home” in Manchester in time to catch up with two lovely boaty friends, Russell and …………


……. Julie who were visiting Manchester on their narrow boat “Nauti Lass”. We last saw them two years previously in Gas Street Basin, Birmingham.


We met up twice over two days and finished the occasion by having a grand time in Zizzi. We thoroughly enjoyed the time we had with them and hope it’s not as long until our next meet-up.


Our latest excursion has been to nearby Chorley where we met up with our Lake District friends Pam ………..


…….. and Geoff. The four of us usually meet up at each other’s homes but, on this occasion, we chose to meet for lunch in the middle at a splendid establishment called “The Retreat” in Adlington close to Chorley.


The Retreat is a converted 19th century chapel, formally an Indian restaurant but refurbished, in 2016 at a cost of £1/2 million, into a very nice traditional English restaurant. We enjoyed excellent food, excellent service and, of course, excellent company. We spent a delicious four hours in Pam and Geoff’s company (yet again!) and we shall certainly be returning to The Retreat. Thanks, as always, P & G for your company.

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