Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. -Joyce Meyer
We’re now working on day 3 of no luggage. The plan for today was to do some touring back in the direction of Cork on the off chance that we’d be notified that our luggage had finally arrived and we’d be nearby to go get it. We were assuming that our luggage was sitting in Manchester and that it would have to arrive on one of the two daily scheduled flights from Manchester. When 10:30 (our original arrival time for Friday) came and went, our hopes were a bit dashed. Our destination was a place called Charles Fort near the town of Kinsale. The plan was to tour the fort and then take a stroll through Kinsale to see the shops. If I haven’t mentioned the weather yet – it might be because it hasn’t been our favorite topic already. The forecast for today was maybe high 50’s and chance of rain. Our warm clothes were, of course, in our delayed luggage. The day started out looking at least somewhat pleasant, but by the time we arrived at the fort, it was getting overcast and blustery. Yvonne had a couple of extra rain jackets/coats in her car and we all ended up wearing whichever one would fit just to try to keep warm.
As we entered the fort we were told a tour would be starting in about 1/2 hour. Yvonne hadn’t been to the fort in years, but said she remembered the tour being worthwhile so we decided to eat lunch at the snack bar in the fort and then take the tour.
We enjoyed the tour – there is a lot of history there. The fort was finished in 1682 and is one of the better known examples of a star shaped fort. It was built as a defense for the town of Kinsale, which at the time was a very valuable harbor with lots of shipping. The channel that the ships had to use to get to the harbor passed quite close to the land where the fort was built -so the defenders would be able to get a close up look at any ship entering the harbor. The drawback to the location was that it is built more or less into the side of a hill, so the land side of the fort was it’s weak point. This was confirmed around 1690 when the English took it from the land side during a conflict. The British held the fort for the next couple of hundred years, mostly using it as an army barracks and training ground. The guide told us about life in the fort – the soldiers lived 11 soldiers to a room. It had a table and a fireplace. They slept on the floor. If a soldier got married, he was often allowed the corner for his wife and family. The only privacy they would have had would be to hang a blanket up. They received 1 shilling a day in pay. I tried to google what that would be worth in modern money -I think it’s maybe $5 at the most? From that pay, they had to pay their basic expenses for living in the fort. Food, medical services, etc. The guide said that as tough as life was inside the fort that it illustrated how hard life was outside the fort because the men (and their wives) were willing to sign up to be soldiers. She also said that once they signed up to be a soldier -it was basically for life. The only way out was death or old age (and only if you’d outlived your usefulness). The British abandoned the fort in 1921 around the time of Irish Civil War. The fort was damaged extensively not long after by “anti-treaty” forces (one of the sides in the Civil War) and then left in partial ruins until the 1970’s when it was declared a national monument. Some restoration has been done, but much of the damage is being left “as is” because it is part of the history of the fort.
After the tour, we walked around to a few points of interest inside the fort, took a few pictures, and then decided it was time to leave. Just as we walked out through the gates, it started to rain. Because it was raining…and because we’d gotten a late start for the day… we decided we’d better call it a day.
But first, Yvonne needed to make a short visit to a relative in the hospital in Cork. On the way there she got a phone call from a number she didn’t recognize. She pulled over and called back and it was the baggage delivery man! YAY!!! He had a slight problem. He’d made it as far as Durrus (Yvonne’s address sort of ends in Durrus) and had no idea where to go next. She knew she couldn’t explain it and we were too far away for him to wait for us to come find him. She thought fast and told him she has some cousins that own a B&B just outside of Durrus and she asked him to leave our bags there. She told him to tell her cousins it was for her. She told us that she was sure they’d be wondering what the heck was going on, but they’d hold the bags for us no problem. We continued to Cork where she dropped us off at a grocery store (with a small shopping mall attached) while she was off visiting. We picked up a few groceries and looked in the stores while we waited for her. It was pouring down rain when she came back to pick us up! A quick drive (OK -really it was about 1 1/2 hours!) back to Durrus and at long last…we finally have our bags!! YAY! A big thank you, along with the explanation, to the B&B cousins and then to Yvonne’s to freshen up for dinner which would be at a cute Italian restaurant in Ballydehob (another nearby village). I decided that pizza might be a good choice for my dinner. They had some suggested pies on the menu and I picked one that had pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives and artichokes on it. Mike had some fish in a shrimp and garlic sauce. When my pizza arrived I cracked up. I didn’t get a picture of it -but it was a bit larger than I expected -8 pieces- and 2 pieces had ONLY pepperoni on them. Two pieces had ONLY black olives on them. Two pieces had ONLY mushrooms on them… You get the picture. I was thinking – “Um, I’m not in Kansas anymore!” The pizza was good -but it was sort of weird to have it served that way.