Friday, November 29, 2019

Islay to Cork - Day 18 - Cork Island

Monday the 23rd of September dawned cloudy and dry - but it would turn out to get wet, very very wet. I'd decided to spend my last full day in Ireland visiting an island. But it would not be a deserted island like lonely Inishglora. It would be the busiest island in all of Ireland. Cork city occupies an island in the River Lee. It is some two miles long, and connected to the mainland by over two-dozen bridges. 

The bus from Crosshaven took the better part of an hour. Josette and Roger joined me for the ride, and when we reached Cork they headed off to find the bus to Kinsale. I had just started my walk around town when the heavens opened up; a continuous, drenching downpour. In the deluge I walked along the River Lee, crossing several of the bridges as I made my way to the east end of town.

On any other day I'd have walked more. But after another hour my enthusiasm to explore started to wane. I am not one who enjoys shopping, but I had to seek shelter from the rain in an indoor market. The one I picked was impressive to say the least. Called The English Market, it had an amazing assortment of food vendors. One butcher had the best looking pork ribs I've ever seen. If we were staying for a few more days I'd have bought some for a barbecue.

Partially dried out, and partially warmed up, I walked a bit more. Much of the architecture I passed was superb, but it was so wet that I did not take many photos. At one point the rain let up for a whole five minutes as I passed the Church of the Holy Trinity.

I was starting to get cold again, and my pants were thoroughly soaked, so after three hours of walking I decided to catch the bus back to Crosshaven. Once aboard Hjalmar Bjorge I took a long hot shower (don't tell Mark) and changed into dry clothes. I did not know it at the time, but in three days I'd come down with a case of bronchitis that would last for three weeks.

That evening, over dinner, I learned Chris had taken Bob, Patti, Pam, and Margaret on a birding expedition around the Lee estuary. Chris reckoned that over the past ten days they'd spotted nearly 70 species. It had been a successful trip for the birders. As for me, I'd visited four islands I'd wanted to see for years: Tory, Inishglora, Inishkea, and Inishbofin, and had made a spectacular coastal walk on the Dingle peninsula. We'd had a great complement of guests for the ten day trip: Bob & Patti, Roger & Josette, Pam, Margaret, Susan, and Hazel. The crew was, as usual, fantastic: Mark & Anna, Tim Wear, Chef Steve Milne, and wildlife guide Chris Gomersall. 

On Tuesday morning, September 24, after the traditional massive last breakfast, two cabs were called. One took some of the guests into Cork. I joined Hazel and Margaret in the other cab, which was heading to the airport. I was sad the cruise was over as we left Crosshaven. But on the plus side, I had one more stop to make before going home. As the plane lifted off from Cork Airport, to fly the 300 miles to Glasgow, I was looking forward to spending a night on my favourite island of all.

Cork Airport - flight to Glasgow

Leaving Ireland - Next stop - a favourite island

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