Today, we took the optional excursion to Kinsale, a seaside town in County Cork. On our way, we made two quick stops to visit some local landmarks. The first was a statue of Michael Collins, an Irish Revolutionary leader.
We also stopped at a shiny metal Model T Ford in Dearborn, which commemorates Henry Ford’s family visit to the land of their ancestor, William Ford. As Emma had told us earlier, the Irish will create a statue for anything. When we got to Kinsale, we spent some time exploring the small shops before our lunch.
While Ireland is not necessarily known for its cuisine, the Irish know that Kinsale is where to go for some seriously good food. West Cork is the world’s richest farmland—mineral deposits in the earth mean the dairy produce of the region is especially high in calcium. Everything is made with butter, but my favorite way to eat it so far has been the ever-present brown bread. I’m pretty sure we’ve had brown bread and butter at every meal. (No complaints here.)
After lunch it was time for the day’s walk. We climbed a small hill, with our sights set on Charles Fort. On the way up, we were treated to expansive views of Kinsale Harbor.
The houses lining the small road were beautiful.
We soon reached the fort, where a guide walked us through the military history of the area, which began in 1601 with the siege of Kinsale. Construction of the fort began in the 1670s, with a focus on seaward-side defenses. Unfortunately, money ran out when it came to providing defenses from the surrounding hills, and the fort was besieged in 1690 during the Williamite War. After some repairs, it was used as British Army barracks and eventually fell out of use. Today, it is a protected national monument.