Our 12 day British Isles cruise was drawing to a close with stops at Cobh, Ireland and back to Portland, England. On July 31, 2019, we docked at Cobh in County Cork, Ireland, famous for being the last port Titanic saw before its disaster.
Cork County Excursion
Our last excursion in Ireland, Kinsale Village & Countryside Villages, left the ship at 8:30 am, so we up early and to breakfast.
In our walk to the tour bus, we passed a famous statute of Annie Moore.
“Annie Moore was born in 1877 in Cork City and left Queenstown (Cobh today) on the SS Nevada on 20th December, 1891 with her 2 brothers. On 1 January, 1892 (her 15th birthday), Annie was the first immigrant to be processed at the newly opened Ellis Island centre in New York.”From Legend in the Heritage Center, Titanic Experience Cobh
Again, I enjoyed driving through the Irish countryside with luscious green checkerboard pastures edged with rock fences. We saw many castles during our cruise but saw a unique one traveling to Kinsale with a gold tree on top and an American flag blowing in the breeze!
I loved a stop we had before Kinsale–Charles Fort, situated on a hill overlooking the bay and Kinsale.
Charles Fort (Irish: Dún Chathail) is a trace italien fortification, a bastion fort with one section of the curtain wall built in star fashion. It is located on the water’s edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbour, County Cork, Ireland.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fort_(Ireland)
Kinsale was a beautiful colorful village. Sailboats drifted in the bay as we parked the tour bus. We had the opportunity to stop at the Actons Hotel for tea, but Lin and I opted to head downtown to shop and sightsee. Lin went shopping on his own, and I wondered through shops, enjoying the Irish goods.
We retraced our journey back to Cobh and saw the strange castle with the gold tree again.
We returned to Cobh and had three and a half hours to explore this lovely seaside port with its colorful square two and three-story houses, stacked along the edge of the bay. We walked a steep incline to St. Colman’s Cathedral, a truly breathtaking sight and toured this beautiful cathedral perched above the city on a hill.
We ended up in Kelly’s pub and savored a coffee and scone and wonderful Irish music. We stayed for a couple songs then continued our walk down the street.
Two musicians entertained a crowd on one corner, so we stopped and enjoyed the Irish music. We came to the end of the shops, so we ended up back at Kelly’s pub and enjoyed the musician there again. Lin requested some traditional Irish music he had remembered from his bartending time in an Irish Pub in New Jersey. The singer loved Lin’s tip in the shape of a free Guinness and Lin’s resounding enthusiasm.
On the way back to the ship, we quickly went through the Heritage Center to see the exhibit, Titanic Experience Cobh.
“Queenstown (known as Cobh today) was Titanic’s last port of call before disaster struck. The legendary ship has left an undeniable mark on this maritime town.”ounty-antrim/belfast/articles/titanic-in-cobh/
We reluctantly boarded the ship, knowing we were leaving Ireland. As our trip was winding down, we became worried about our souvenir purchases and limitation of bags on our plane trip home.
When we boarded the ship days ago, they took our passports—that had never happened before. So, I stood in line to recover them with hundreds of other passengers; I read my James Joyce book, The Dubliners, as I waited. The time passed quickly.
Lin napped as we left Ireland, but I went up to Deck 13 and grabbed a fish cake for a snack and watched as we left Ireland—a country that has become a significant one in my life.
We had a delicious oriental dinner in Shogun’s and went to the 7:00 PM show of Elements which was a combination of all the entertainers. Then the show ended with the traditional finale with the crew coming on stage. Again, it was awesome!
Lin ended up buying an extra bag to carry onboard the plane—so many souvenirs! We stopped and listened to music in one of the bars and was in bed by 11:00 pm.
Back to England & Corfe Castle
On August 1, 2019, we woke up back in Portland, England and had one more excursion, English Countryside & Corfe Castle. We left the ship at 10:15 am and had another wonderful trip through countryside settings.
Corfe Castle was overwhelming and memorable. The other castles we visited were still intact—Corfe was in ruin. As we neared the ruins at the base of the hill, we walked through a Medieval Village with men dressed as knights educating families gathered around.
We had a serendipitous experience with an Oriental man. I asked him to take a picture of Lin and me, and from then on, he adopted us. At one place, he instructed us where to take the best picture, and he was right!
After our tour of the castle, we had tea and scones in a Tea-room and shopped around the square.
While driving back, our tour guide educated us about thatched roofs and the images the builder put up to identify the thatcher, so we watched for different ones. So here’s the rabbit!
When we returned, we toured Weymouth, seeing the beach area teeming with swimmers, and then we went to Portland and drove up to where the Olympics symbol is now placed.
We arrived back at the ship and didn’t want to board because this was the end. We noticed a family looking over the pier into the water, so we went over and investigated—there were at least 20 jellyfish swimming around.
Last Night on Ship
After dinner, we took turns packing our suitcases in the limited space in our stateroom. Lin went first and did a masterful job of getting everything in, but he did need the extra bag he bought. My turn came, and I worked hard and succeeded but desperately needed the extra bag I bought. We showered and relaxed and put our bags out by the door to be picked up.
Travel Day Home
On August 2, 2019, our travel day home was uneventful, thank God! The Norwegian cruise line shuttle gathered us up at the dock, and we drove back to Heathrow in London. We flew back to Denver and returned to the hotel we had stayed in twelve days earlier. We spent the night and returned home on August 3, thankful for such a wonderful cruise and so many memories of the enchanting British Isles.
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