Sunday, July 26
Drove from Kenmare to the island of Cobh (pronounced Cove) by way of Kinsale on our trek toward the ferry at Rosslare (Wexford) to Pembroke, Wales. In Kinsale we took a guided history, walking tour of the town and learned of its importance in Irish history. It has a deep water harbor that was host to many ships carrying goodies (spices and things) from other parts of the world. It has 2 old forts which guarded each side of the harbor from attack and enforced the tolls that were levied on the merchant ships. we also walked around the town on our own and visited a very old church with beautiful stained glass.
We stayed with a very nice couple via Airbnb on the island of Cobh which is only accessible from the mainland by a small “West Passage” ferry (which we took) or a small bridge which we took when we left. Our hosts gave us coffee and scones upon our arrival and we talked with them for a long time. We went into Cobh was one of the major ports from which thousands of Irish people left for America from about 1847 to the mid 20th century.
It was also the last port at which the Titanic stopped to pick up passengers on its ill fated journey. It’s also very near where the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1915 and where survivors and victims were brought after the disaster. It has a huge cathedral that sits above the town and dwarfs everything below it.
Monday, July 27
The day started with a simple breakfast at our B & B. Our host made some suggestions about our plans to get to Waterford and Rosslare. When we rented the car in Ennis (Shannon Airport) we had arranged to drop the car in Cork. Our plan was to take the train from Cork on a circuitous route (the only one available) to Waterford then ride the 60 km from to the ferry near Wexford. (No train service along the southern coast) The train to Waterford would have cost about $50 and taken 3 hours. As a result of his suggestions, we called the car rental agency to see if we could change the drop off city and they immediately agreed without additional charges. We then drove to Waterford where the hostel at which we had booked a room for tomorrow night agreed to advance our reservation to today so we would not lose our deposit. On the road from Cabh to Waterford we stopped at a bike shop that was just off the road and scored a cardboard box to mail the bike rack back to the bike shop in Ennis. Once at the hostel in Waterford we packed up the bike rack and took it to the post office about 2 blocks from our hostel and were done with all of our changes and chores by about 2:30 p.m. That left us the time to take a tour of the Waterford Crystal factory
and the Museum of Waterford, which contains some very old, original documents
and vestments related to Waterford. The vestments were hidden at the time of Cromwell’s attack and then forgotten for 550 years before they were discovered during construction, as was some of the 500 year old portions of buildings that now are a part of the museum. During our travels we learned of the Viking conquest of area of Ireland and how they had settled there and integrated with the Irish population in the 100 years following their living there. We were not surprised to stumble across a very old segment of a wall containing a plaque dedicating the wall to St. Olaf.
Tuesday, July 28
The sun was shining when we got up this morning … amazing sight. We packed up and were on our bikes by 9:15 on our way to Rosslare Harbor/Wexford. We had the wind at our backs the entire ride and no rain until we arrived at the port. Although we did not plan to ride all the way to the ferry today, the riding was so nice, we just kept going and were at the ferry dock by 2:15 This includes a stop for coffee and another one for lunch. Speaking of lunch, as we were on our way into the super market to get some things for our lunch, we were stopped by a guy who was by the front door. He asked us about our ride and was impressed by our adventure. As we were leaving the store with our purchases, he was going back in. He told us that he had left something sweet for us on our bikes.
It turns out he was delivering baked goods to the store and left a raisin cake sitting on Maggie’s seat.
When we got to the ferry terminal, we discovered that the ferry we thought was scheduled to leave at 5:30 p.m. didn’t actually depart until 8:45 p.m. therefore didn’t get into Pembroke, Wales until 12:45 a.m. We got on line and made a hotel reservation for that evening at the hotel that was closest to the terminal in Wales. We had a lot of time to kill so we had coffee, bought fixings for a picnic dinner on board the ferry and Ed cleaned the bikes while Maggie relaxed.