Friday, 25 May 2012

Two Weeks In May


Imagine just drifting, sitting there alone in the complete silence of the moment. Not the slightest sound from any direction, not a breath of wind, not a ripple on the deep clear crystal water. The sensation of warmth on your face as the sun wins its battle with the early morning mist and still has enough strength to penetrate deep into your soul, today was going to be a good day.

This was not some figment of imagination, these were the conditions I encountered during one early morning paddle off the south east coast of Ireland.

Whitesands, Garrylucas.

For two weeks in May I found myself in Ireland, having agreed to help a relative with the restoration of a property that was in need of some major work, a bus man's holiday of sorts if you like. With little time to commit to a full days paddle I had to resign myself to catching an hour or so before work, the only fly in the ointment that I hadn't planned was that I really had to wrench myself away from this coastline, it truly is a wonderful place.

Northern coastline, Courtmacsherry Bay 

Unknown Cove Courtmacsherry Bay




The section I paddled the most stretched from Kinsale to Courtmacsherry, which includes the


Rock Gardens, Courtmacsherry Bay
 Old Head of Kinsale, the most  prominent and famous headland along this stretch.

Having paddled more days than not I  inevitably took hundreds of photo's and went to enough places to keep me writing for a very long time indeed. Thankfully it's not my intention to write a day by day account, I've just selected some photo's and words that I think portray the beauty of the area and its affect on me.


The secrets of the Old Head are slowly revealed as you make your way around, it's all about a dramatic coastline with sea caves, sheer cliffs and an abundance of wildlife. I saw my first Otter happily swim by without a care in the world, until of course I tried to take a photo, seals played tag with me popping up in front and behind my kayak but ultimately wouldn't get too close. The eastern cliffs teamed with sea birds that made sounds more reminiscent of a national geographic documentary in some far flung corner of the world. I was centre stage in the greatest theatre in the world.

Western cliffs, Old Head

Evidence of the geological activity that helped shape this coastline.

The Old Head Lighthouse












A grinning face hidden in the rocks ?
Sea Caves, Old Head of Kinsale


It would be amiss of me not to mention the most famous incident that happened off the shores of the Old Head. It was 7th May 1915 when the RMS Lusitania fell prey to the German U Boat, U20. In a matter of minutes 1198 people lost their lives, with only 761 surviving the incident.
The sinking shocked the world and turned opinion against Germany, which helped America enter the war. Legitimate military target or not, the debate still is ongoing today. 

The situation is complex though, as the Lusitania was carrying rifle ammunition to the UK as part of the war effort under an obligation to the admiralty. A popular conspiracy theory has it that British intelligence agents leaked information to German agents in the US thus sealing the liners fate and helping nudge America into the war. Whatever the truth it is a shame that such a dark chapter in human history should touch this beautiful area. 

As mentioned I feel as if I could write forever about this area but for now that's it. I am planning to add a Further Information section including maps to assist anyone wishing to visit this area, which I would thoroughly recommend if you have the chance. 

3 comments:

Taran Tyla said...

WOW, you jammy git, Looks awesome mate ;D

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