Rock of Cashel, The Vee, Charles Fort - May 25th, 2012
We started the day with a delicious breakfast at the Ard Ri House B&B, then walked up to the Rock of Cashel - we were there when they opened the gates. Unfortunately, the first English speaking guided tour wasn't until 10:00 AM, so we used our Rick Steve's Ireland book and did a self guided tour. The Rock is actually a cathedral, not a fort or castle as I had presumed from the name. Originally, there had been a stronghold here, but one Irish king donated the land to the church to that his rivals could not have the site for themselves.
Cashel is large and impressive. There is scaffolding all over the southeast side of the building as the Irish Office of Public Works tries to keep the old building standing.
Rather than take the direct route straight down to Cork from Cashel, the proprietor of our B&B had suggested we drive over "The Vee", a scenic pass in the Knockmealdown Mountains. We took her suggested route, and did find the Vee view points. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy hazy day and our view was not as dramatic as we hoped.
Finding our B&B in Cork was a nightmare. The directions were vague, and traffic conditions in Cork were horrible. There was lots of road work, plus we reached the city mid-afternoon of a Friday of Bank Holiday weekend, so the roads were incredibly congested. Cork was my least favorite part of our Ireland visit.
Eventually we found our way down to Kinsale and the Charles Fort. However, it was late in the afternoon, so we had missed the last guided tour of the fort. But we did have an hour to explore the place, and perhaps due to the lateness in the day, the Charles Fort was almost entirely deserted except for us. The traffic in Kinsale was also incredibly bad on a Friday evening, so we skipped it and returned to our B&B in Cork.
Here is a floor plan of the Rock of Cashel
Here is a guide to the Charles Fort
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The Rock of Cashel