Tuesday, October 31, 2017


My guide through the Titanic exhibit in Cobh. If it seems strange that I take time to photograph these people it's because I genuinely appreciate the efforts they make to both master their subject and to present it in ways that will appeal to an incredibly varied audience repeatedly day after day.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Ticket Office

The original entrances to the White Star Line's ticket office where passengers waited to be ferried to the Titanic before its fateful encounter days later with an iceburg. The one above was for persons traveling economy. The one below was for first-class passengers. Today the office serves as a museum.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lusitania Peace Memorial

"Another tragically notable ship to be associated with the town, the Cunard passenger liner RMS Lusitania, was sunk by a German U-boat off the Old Head of Kinsale while en route from the US to Liverpool on 7 May 1915. 1,198 passengers died, while 700 were rescued. The survivors and the dead alike were brought to Cobh, and the bodies of over 100 who perished in the disaster lie buried in the Old Church Cemetery just north of the town. The Lusitania Peace Memorial is located in Casement Square, opposite the arched building housing the Cobh Library and Courthouse" (Wikipedia).

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Methodist Church

She's not been treated well, I'm afraid, the old Methodist church in Cobh.  

Once home to a thriving congregation, many who worshipped here eventually immigrated to the United States.

Having served other purposes since, including as a pub, the building is now awaiting a decision as to its future. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Michael Martin

Meet. Dr. Michael Martin, author and historian as well as my guide through Cobh.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Annie Moore

Statue of Annie Moore and her brothers on the quayside in Cobh, Ireland

"Moore arrived from County Cork, Ireland aboard the steamship called the Nevada on January 1, 1892. It was reported that her arrival was on her 15th birthday, but records in Ireland reveal that her birthday was in May and she was actually 17. Her brothers, Anthony and Philip, who journeyed with her, had just turned 15 and 12, respectively. As the first person to be processed at the newly opened facility, she was presented with an American $10 gold piece from an American Official, which is the equivalent of $267 in 2015 dollars accounting for inflation. From 1820 to 1920, more than 4 million people left their native shores of Ireland bound for the Port of New York and a new life in America. When Ellis Island officially opened on January 1, 1892, the first passenger registered through the now world-famous immigration station was a young Irish girl named Annie Moore. 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. All three children were soon reunited with their parents who were already living in New York" (Wikipedia).

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Margaret Shineman

I can't tell you how much this saddened me. But I would have been sadder still if Margaret's true identity had not finally been discovered.

"Margaret Shineman was a Scottish native and naturalized United States citizen returning to Scotland with her newly-wed husband, James Shineman. Margaret and James were transfers from the ship Cameronia who were traveling to surprise Margaret's family. When the Cameronia was requisitioned by the British Admiralty, the Shinemans became second cabin passengers aboard Lusitania. Both Margaret and James were lost in the Lusitania disaster. Both of their bodies were recovered, hers was #3 by Kinsale and James was #18 by Doolin and Aran. Born Margaret McKenzie, Margaret was a native of Shieldaig, Scotland. She made her way to Oil City, Wyoming, where she found employment at a ranch. She met James Shineman, who had family in Illinois, and they were married on 19 April 1915. Margaret became a United States citizen upon their marriage. The Shinemans' trip on the Cameronia was to be their honeymoon, where they would see Margaret's family in Lochcarron, Scotland. Margaret's body is buried in the St. Multose Church in Kinsale, Ireland. James is buried at Carrigaholt, County Clare. Margaret's name is engraved as 'Margaret MacKenzie' on a World War I memorial in Torridon, Scotland" (www.rmslusitania.info).

Monday, October 23, 2017

Shut In

It's actually a curious story how a Methodist (nonconformist) missionary and his family wound up interred in St. Multose's Church of Ireland cemetery, testament to the ecumenism of the early 20th century. A curious turn of phrase, too, with "eternally shut in". 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

St. Multose Church

St. Multose Church as seen from Desmond Castle

"Very close to the regional Museum is St Multose Church. St Multose founded a monastery here in the 6th century AD and this church is named for him. Built in 1190 (the oldest building in Kinsale) but with substantial alterations over the years, this remains an interesting example of Norman architecture and has remained in continuous use to the present day. Some interesting features include an inscription in Norman French, the Easter sepulchre, the Baptismal font, the carved memorials, and the reredos from the Galway chapel as well as the wooden Coat of Arms. The Southwell Memorial in Carrera marble, is the work of Arnold Quellin of London.

It was in this church that Prince Rupert was proclaimed Charles II as King, after hearing the news that Cromwell had had King Charles I executed in London. Prince Rupert’s fleet was at anchor in Kinsale harbour at the time.

In more recent times, Kinsale was the town from which the rescue operation of the Lusitania was conducted it is here that some of the victims of the tragic sinking of the liner are buried" (www.discoveringcork.ie).

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Wild Geese

I admit that before returning to Ireland earlier this year, I never knew there was a wine industry there. Beer, sure. But wine? I guess I should have known there would have been at least some indigenous wine producing capacity, if for no other reason than the need for wine at Mass. I also was unaware of the Wild Geese of Ireland who facilitated the transport of wines from the much larger wine-producing countries like France and Spain.

"Following the Treaty of Limerick in 1691 that brought an end to the Williamite Wars, Irish soldiers fled Ireland for the continent and became known as the 'Wild Geese.' Irishmen continued to be recruited into foreign armies until 1745 when it was made illegal by the British. By that time Irish families had become established in France and Spain and other wine growing countries and many made made their living exporting wine to Ireland.

Sixteen Irish ports were licenced for wine imports in Ireland and the most important was Kinsale which is still known for fine food and wines. In the late 1990s local historians and restauranteurs got together joining forces with the Irish government and opened the International Museum of Wine at Kinsale's former custom house, Desmond Castle" (www.askaboutireland.ie).

Friday, October 20, 2017


Meet my guide at Desmond Castle. I never learned her name, but she had a delightful sense of humor and was quite knowledgeable about the castle's many uses over the centuries, including it's present use as an International Museum of Wine. More about that tomorrow.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Desmond Castle

Desmond Castle "was built as the Customs House for Kinsale about the year 1500 by Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Desmond, following the grant of the customs of the port of Kinsale to the Earls of Desmond by King Henry VII in 1497. Presumably there must have been an earlier structure on the site as the 1st Earl was Captain of Desmond Castle.

It was used as a Customs House until 1641 when it was converted into a naval prison, following the construction of a new Customs House. The prisoners kept in the Castle were in the main French and Spanish, and the building became known locally as the 'French Prison' as a result.

In January 1747, a fire broke out, killing 54 of the prisoners. In 1791, the castle was donated by James Kearney MP to the town of Kinsale, and it was subsequently used as a town gaol till 1846, and during the Irish Famine as a workhouse. In 1938, it was taken into government hands, and in the 1990s was restored and opened to the public by the Office of Public Works" (Wikipedia).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Just this last shot of my companion who accompanied me through two visits to Fangorn before I move on to a couple more sights in Kinsale and then to Cobh which has been so battered by Hurricane Ophelia.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Never learned anything about these old ruins near the river. The bricks and stones are now greatly overgrown with ferns and vines--very Fangorn-like. I've been wondering how the friends I made in this area fared as Hurricane Ophelia passed.

Monday, October 16, 2017


"Fangorn Forest was said to be humid, and trunks and branches grew thick where very little light penetrated the forest. Similarly, Fangorn was said to be a dangerous and evil place like Mirkwood (where huge spiders roamed the forest and other evil creatures lay), but this was not the case following the events of The Lord of the Rings. The forest was home to many different kinds of trees. Huorns also lived in the forest, similar to Ents but more discreet. Most lived deep in the Forest of Fangorn. The Ents and Huorns drank from the river Entwash, and from it the Ents brewed their legendary drink, the Ent-draughts" (Wikipedia).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Crimson & the Yellow

Now that I've learned the difference (I hope!) between Gorse and Scotch Broom, here's a few lines devoted to the latter:
Oh the Broom, the yellow Broom,
The ancient poet sung it,
And dear it is on summer days
To lie at rest among it. 
I know the realms where people say
The flowers have not their fellow;
I know where they shine out like suns,
The crimson and the yellow. 
I know where ladies live enchained
In luxury's silken fetters,
And flowers as bright as glittering gems
Are used for written letters. 
But ne'er was flower so fair as this,
In modern days or olden;
It groweth on its nodding stem
Like to a garland golden. 
And all about my mother's door
Shine out its glittering bushes,
And down the glen, where clear as light
The mountain-water gushes. 
Take all the rest; but give me this,
And the bird that nestles in it;
I love it, for it loves the Broom -
The green and yellow linnet. 
Well call the rose the queen of flowers,
And boast of that of Sharon,
Of lilies like to marble cups,
And the golden rod of Aaron: 
I care not how these flowers may be
Beloved of man and woman;
The Broom it is the flower for me,
That groweth on the common. 
Oh the Broom, the yellow Broom,
The ancient poet sung it,
And dear it is on summer days
To lie at rest among it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lessons from the Gorse

Mountain gorses, ever-golden.
Cankered not the whole year long!
Do ye teach us to be strong,
Howsoever pricked and holden
Like your thorny blooms and so
Trodden on by rain and snow,
Up the hillside of this life, as bleak as where ye grow? 
Mountain blossoms, shining blossoms,
Do ye teach us to be glad
When no summer can be had,
Blooming in our inward bosoms?
Ye, whom God preserveth still,
Set as lights upon a hill,
Tokens to the wintry earth that Beauty liveth still! 
Mountain gorses, do ye teach us
From that academic chair Canopied with azure air,
That the wisest word man reached
Is the humblest he can speak
Ye, who live on mountain peak,
Yet live low along the ground, beside the grasses meek! 
Mountain gorses, since Linnæus
Knelt beside you on the sod,
For your beauty thanking God,—
For your teaching, ye should see us
Bowing in prostration new!
Whence arisen,—if one or two
Drops be on our cheeks—O world, they are not tears but dew.
 Lessons from the Gorse by E. B. Browning

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Presence

It was the most curious thing. As I was walking in the woods I soon sensed I was being followed. But each time I turned around to see who or what was following me, I saw nothing until "the presence" and I emerged from the woods onto an open path.

After following me for a while, I thought surely the cat would lose interest and return to the woods; but, no, it kept following me as if it was safely escorting me back to where I was staying.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Deep Wood

As the sun set, I found myself gliding along a path in a deep and almost magical wood bordering the River Stick. More tomorrow about the magical part.
Are you bowed down in heart?
Do you but hear the clashing discords and the din of life?
Then come away, come to the peaceful wood,
Here bathe your soul in silence. Listen! Now,
From out the palpitating solitude
Do you not catch, yet faint, elusive strains?
They are above, around, within you, everywhere.
Silently listen! Clear, and still more clear, they come.
They bubble up in rippling notes, and swell in singing tones.
Now let your soul run the whole gamut of the wondrous scale
Until, responsive to the tonic chord,
It touches the diapason of God’s grand cathedral organ,
Filling earth for you with heavenly peace
And holy harmonies.
 Deep in the Quiet Wood by James Weldon Johnson

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Local Flavors

An 8:00 a.m. breakfast! Really? Shoot! I'm ready for breakfast by 5 a.m.

Said to be the oldest pub in Ireland, dating to the 1690s. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Kinsale Harbor

As uncomfortable as I'm sure life in Charles Fort was, it did and still does have a wonderful view of Kinsale harbor. The ruins you see in the above picture belong to James Fort just across the River Bandon from Charles Fort.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


These walls, I seem to remember Brandon telling me, once were part of the barracks where enlisted men were housed at Charles Fort. I'm not sure they were any more inviting even when new. Without too many obvious evidence of interior heating, I'm guessing they also were incredibly drafty and cold in the winter.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


"Built in the 1670s to guard Kinsale Harbour, [Charles Fort] was in use until 1921, when much of it was destroyed as the British withdrew. Displays explain the typically tough lives led by the soldiers who served here and the comparatively comfortable lives of the officers" (www.lonelyplanet.com).

Monday, October 2, 2017

Charles Fort

Meet Brandon, my guide through Charles Fort near Kinsale. I enjoyed his unique blend of historical knowledge and genuine Irish humor.

"Charles Fort (Irish: Dún Chathail) is a star fort located on the water's edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbour, County Cork, Ireland. First completed in 1682, Charles Fort was sometimes historically referred to as the "new fort" - to contrast with James' Fort (the "old fort") which had been built on the other side of Kinsale harbour before 1607. The fort is now operated as a heritage tourism site by the Heritage Ireland arm of the Office of Public Works" (Wikipedia).

Sunday, October 1, 2017


"One particularly vexatious argument concerns the lack of uniform spellings between British and American English. The simple reason for this is that England and America went their separate ways before anyone became unduly rigorous about spelling words the same way every time. The firm nailing down of language happened in earnest during the 1800s, on both sides of the Atlantic, and thanks largely to the reforming zeal of American lexicographer Noah Webster, it was with markedly different results in the U.S. than in Victorian Britain. . . .

So while British English still insists on a c in the word defense, Webster changed it to an s. Theatre and centre were simplified into theater and center. Plough became plow, axe became ax, catalogue became catalog, and flavour, honour, savour, saviour, candour, behaviour, colour, armour, demeanour, glamour, harbour and all the rest lost their u" (www.bbcamerica.com)