Thursday, August 19, 2010

Onward to the Watery Ways

Cóbh (Irish for Cove) is the last port of call that the R.M.S. Titanic made before it met its fate. With this bit of history attached to the town, our tour included admission to the ‘Queenstown Story’ in the Cóbh Cultural Center which was once the White Star Line Victorian railway/transatlantic terminal. 
Three million Irish emigrated through Cóbh including Annie Moore and her two brothers. If your memory is not jiggled by reading her name, no worries, she was the very first person to be processed into the US via Ellis Island. Just 14-years old and traveling with her two younger brothers, Anthony (11) and Phillip (7), Annie departed from Queenstown (County Cork, Ireland) on December 20, 1891 aboard the S.S. Nevada, one of 148 steerage passengers. The trio would spend 12 days at sea (including Christmas Day), arriving in New York on Thursday evening, December 31. They were processed through Ellis Island the following morning, New Year's Day and also Annie's 15th birthday. All three children were soon reunited with their parents who were already living in New York.

Cóbh is a delightful little town on the waterfront. But with only 2 hours to explore the museum and the town, we only received a glimpse. I would have liked to have had more time there. Back on the bus, we stopped at St. Colman’s Cathedral. The best part was getting out of the rain while the guide spoke. This is not the same Colman as the famous mustard, but probably the mustard is better known worldwide than the saint.

We were the only ones of the group continuing on to Kinsale. Most of the group was returning to Dublin, while 4 others were going to a different city. Rather than hire a car to transport us for the hour’s ride, we had the entire bus to ourselves.

IrishRail booked us into Trident Hotel in Kinsale. As we drove past the adorable downtown area, it seemed like the bus was never going to reach our hotel. I calculated the cost of taxis getting back to the shopping area. Our room had glass walls on two sides overlooking the sea on one side and the port on the other. Fantastic choice of hotels! Here the rack rate on the door was 350 Euros a night, but included in our package deal.

When we were ready for dinner, I asked a rather robust woman at the reception how far it was to walk to the heart of the town. She said 5-10 minutes at which I had to ask “by speed walking?”. She smiled, laughed and said “Look at this body. Does it look like I speed walk anywhere?” She was right. It took us ten minutes; an amazingly short amount of time when you consider we had to crawl there. Neither of us had full use of our legs having left the Blarney torture chamber and the mile high stone only hours earlier. We found this wonderful restaurant amongst many choices called The Shack. I had a fantastic rib eye steak dinner for the cost of a middling lunch in Dublin. Funny how a delicious satisfying meal can heal the weary muscles. Add to that a slew of little intriguing shops that are just begging for a visit tomorrow when they are open again. Don't worry little shops, I will not ignore your need for attention.
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