Dunbrody Famine Ship

It was a perfect thing to go to visit the Dunbroady Famine ship on a rainy day like that. Dunbroady famine ship was one of these so-called “Coffin ships” that carried thousands of immigrants to North America between 1845 and 1851.


The trip lasted for six weeks and all the passengers were picked into the ship like sardines in a can. The wealthier passengers who were able to buy more expensive tickets were allowed a bit better circumstances but actually, it seemed awfully terrible anyway. All the second class passengers had to live together in the hold of the ship and the whole family had to sleep in the same bunk bed, despite the number of people in the family. So the number of the passengers was much smaller when they arrived at last because a lot of them died and were buried in the ocean.


When you want to visit the ship you have to take a tour and the guide gives a good overview of the life of the passengers who were immigrating because of the big Famine in the middle of the 19th century. To make it more attractive there are also two actresses who play the part of the passengers and tell their stories. One of them is a woman of the upper deck and the other is the poor one who has to live in the hold with all the other who couldn’t afford an expensive ticket.

After the tour, it is possible to wander around on your own and take some photos and that’s what we did. The rain hadn’t stopped. We had a tea at the cafe and drove back home. It was pretty dreadful to imagine the lives of these big families who just wanted to afford a better life for their children.

The tickets to the tour were made after the real tickets of the people who had really immigrated by that ship. The ticket proved that the passenger had paid and was ready to board a ship. You can also see the amount of food that every grown-up passenger was afforded and that’s very little.


A sunny day at the seaside

To get a sunny day at the seaside is not something that you can take as granted when spending your summer in Ireland. Oh, yes, there is a lot of sunshine, but usually, the sun just goes and comes and you can never be sure how long does this magical moment last and unfortunately it never lasts as long as you wish. But this day started with the blue clear sky and ended the same way so I feel that it’s something that needs to be written down and remembered 🙂

Our plans took us to the Camden Fort Meagher, the next fortress, this time, a Maritime Fortress, situated in Crosshaven, just above the sea. Camden Fort Meagher is a coastal defence fortification, one of the best remaining example of that kind of fortification. It was built to defend the mouth of Cork Harbour and the first fortifications date back to 1500. 65% of all the fort is built underground in the tunnels and chambers, but as the weather was so beautiful, we didn’t spend too much time underground but paid more attention to everything that was on the ground, especially the marvellous views over the Cork Harbour and all these small and bigger boats who were enjoying the nice sailing weather.

This time, I didn’t forget to take my selfie stick and therefore I had a lot of fun to practice how to use it properly. It’s not only good for taking selfies but also for all nice views over the sea and that’s why I have so many photos of myself and the sea 🙂

Of course, there was a band 🙂 it’s almost everywhere where they expect tourists and it gives the day a perfect Irish taste. I know, that I sound like tourist now but I am still not tired of hearing them playing Land Rover over and over. The fort is taken care by the local volunteers who really do care about the history and the buildings and give you a good overview of the place and also chat with pleasure like all the Irish like to do.

After walking around we found a nice cafe above the sea and had a cup of coffee before we went home to cook the dinner. On our way home we stopped also in Crosshaven, where all the local pubs were busy and people were enjoying the weather and being outside with their friends and families. I would really be happy to get more such kind of weathers here because it’s so unbelievably beautiful here, so beautiful, that very often you just forget about the weather. And I have to say, that this summer has really been nice and warm – I can prove it by going through my photos of the last summer where I was wearing a coat on almost all of them 😀

Rock of Cashel

Every year we have made a trip to Crosshaven, which is located near Cork. This year we went by car and came back by train and on our way made a short stop in Cashel, a town, situated in County Tipperary and on our way we passed six different counties of Ireland starting from County Dublin, then to County Kildare, County Laois, County  Tipperary, County Limerick and our last stop County Cork.

Cashel is a small town with the main tourist attraction the Rock of Cashel, which is also known as Cashel of the Kings and St Patrick’s Rock. Of course, here it’s not possible to get past St Patrick anywhere and it is said that in the past days it was a mountain, called Devil’s Bit, where the Devil lived and St Patrick banished him from the cave and after that, the mountain landed 30 miles from its original location and became a site of the conversion of the King of Munster.

As everywhere else, where there is a tourist attraction, you can also find a small wool shop selling local handicraft. Here they have been really smart because the sheep were eating just beside the house, so whenever they will run out of wool, they can just step out of the door and gather some more.

Before we went to the fortress we were looking around for a nice place to have lunch and we couldn’t have made a better choice than O’Neill’s Restaurant, which seemed more like a cozy little cafe, run by a family. It looked so appealing from outside and we didn’t get disappointed when entering because it was the perfect little place to have your lunch. It had a bit old looking atmosphere, exactly what you are looking in a small town like Cashel and the food was tasty and the hosts friendly.

1-File_001(7)I cannot leave out the fact that after our lunch we were given the free vouchers for the Castle tour and were welcomed back any time. The O’Neill’s has also lots of good reviews on Trip Advisor and the Trip Advisor’s sign on the window. We ordered the sandwiches, which is a very popular lunch dish here and in spite of being a real sandwich lover, I really like Irish sandwiches and can suggest them to everyone. I especially like these places where you can pick all the ingredients on your own but I a sure that in every place they follow your wishes and please you with the tastiest sandwich you can imagine. And it’s big enough to share if you are not so very hungry at the moment but just cannot pass the lovely moment at the cafe with your sandwich 🙂

And of course, wherever I go, I am admiring the nice little colourful shops and pubs which have so lovely decorations and therefore look so cute, that you just cannot leave without entering or at least taking a photo.


The colourful doors of Dublin

When you walk around on the southern side of the Liffey river you can admire the Georgian houses and the colourful doors which are very significant to Dublin, found on postcards and tourism magazines. If you look closely you can see that every single door is like an artwork and there are no similar doors side by side. It’s said that back in Georgian times the people were allowed to paint their doors whatever colour their wanted and of course, everyone wanted to differ from their neighbours and added some ornaments, iron knockers, fanlights above the doors or differently shaped windows. Everyone wanted their door to look the best. It’s also said that it all started with two writers, who didn’t want the other one to knock on his door when coming home drunk in the middle of the night. So one of them painted his door green and the other one red. Who knows if it’s true, but it’s a funny story and quite Irish too.

The most haunted house in Ireland

1-IMG_7701With a rainy day, we visited the most haunted house in Ireland – the Loftushall. It is said that the Devil himself had visited that place and put a hex on a daughter so that her ghost hasn’t found peace till now and haunts in the house. In the 90-s one boldfaced man started to run a hotel in the house but on one night all the guests and staff ran away without any explanations and left all their belongings into the house and never came back to take away a thing. After that, the house has been abandoned and no one had wanted to come to live there. Nowadays it’s a tourist place, where they make guided tours with ghosts jumping from around the corners and spooking the poor tourists who have willingly paid for getting scared. But it is said that the house decides on its own who can stay there and for how long time. It seemed that our stay was quite accepted because we didn’t meet any real ghosts but of course, we did our tour and went quickly away. Maybe the ghost has got used to the crowds and stays still in some hidden place 🙂

After the spooky afternoon, we stopped at Templer’s Pub and had an early dinner. I ordered fish and chips because the fish that they offered was monkfish and that has become my favourite here. And sometimes you just feel like fish and chips, especially when you have been visiting some spooky house with ghosts on a rainy day.

For desert I got a jar of jam, ok they had also sprinkled a bit of crushed gingerbread  on it and a glass of sticky cream to eat with it. By the way, it was called Fruit Crumble 🙂


Visiting Tintern Abbey


The weather has been quite rough this summer, windy rainy and cold, but for this day the sun has come out and it’s even warm outside. Anyway, I am not used to taking my coat off probably till my holidays in Crete in August and the only thing that cheers me up is knowing that they have the same kind of weather in Estonia 🙂 So our trip around Duncannon takes us to Tintern Abbey today.

1Tintern Abbey was founded in 1200 by Count William of Marshall and it got its name after the bigger namesake in Wales.

In 1541 in became a private property of Colclough family (pronounces as simple as /kookli/) and it was habited till 1959 when the last living old lady gave it back to the government. I guess it wasn’t a too cosy place to live because I could never imagine these thick stone walls to get really warm, rather I can picture this poor old lady with 3 pairs of woollen socks and a huge cup of tea staying in one small kitchen or somewhere near the fireplace.

3One of the vainest family members let to build such kind of a bridge, just only because its decorative and beautiful appearance. And especially decorative it looks seen through the upper window of the Abbey where our tour guide tells us stories about the Colclough family’s history. Yes, we are having a guided tour, so smart. The tour guide makes the place more alive, especially that she knows a lot about the characters and habits of every single person who has lived there.

4That’s how they built the walls during the old times  – the blend between the lattice was made from so many different ingredients that the restoration workers of nowadays were not able to catch up on it. But at least they tried! And it’s possible to see the wall building process in different stages. The guide says that this filling made the walls warm keeping and let the stone breathe. Probably it will make sense for our school’s  construction department 🙂5

This noble place was meant to be the seat of the superior head of the church. Actually, it doesn’t feel too comfortable, but maybe the needs of the medieval deacons were a bit more modest these days. But why not to try, if you have a chance, and the sun is shining really warm, unbelievable and nice.

10The little road that goes through the wood takes you to the Colclough Walled Gardens, which have been restored and trimmed recently and look quite nice. You need to buy a ticket again when entering the gardens, but I think they are collecting money for some more restoration work. The gardens are nice, full of flowers and there’s also an orchard part with vegetables and scarecrow which looks huge and decorative, probably not so decorative for the crows. In Estonia, we call these things not Scarecrows, but Scarepeas, instead, although they are meant to scare the crows, not the peas 🙂11

We take a long walk back and have a look at the Abbey from the other side and cross that decorative bridge.

As our guide pointed out to look up when leaving the Abbey, I remembered to do it. The outer walls were decorated with lots of small statues who were watching down on the ground with a mean look in their eyes. The guide told us that their task was to defend the Abbey against the evil spirits. And as we all know that the evil spirits are always coming from underground, that’s why they have to stare down 🙂


The Irish National Heritage Park

In the Irish National Heritage Park in County Wexford, you will get a true picture of the Irish history.



In 6000 thousand years ago the Irish used to live in such kind of houses. The houses were all made of reed and chimneys were not used yet. Here is our nice tour guide doing her summer job.



The reed roofs are a bit similar to Estonian reed roofs, but the shapes of the houses are totally different. No windows, no chimneys, just big roofs.



On such kind of a ground, the Druids worshipped their gods and made sacrifices to them. If you were lucky enough to be chosen, then in the middle of the stone circle your head was chopped off and the gods were supposed to fulfil the wishes of the people, or not 🙂


1500 years ago the people started to build Ringforts and all their life went on inside it. It was used for herding the animals, doing your everyday tasks and also for protecting you from the enemy.



One Celtic Cross – beautiful with its colours.


From Viking’s Age, which started from 795 Anno Domino


Crannog – artificially created island, surrounded by a wooden fence, to keep away the enemies.


Inside Crannog – the houses still had roofs made of reed. Crannogs were still used 400 years ago.


You never get too much of it

During summer 2015, I was lucky to travel around a bit. Some places I visited had been on my way before, some places had just been on my list, which is still really long and I hope that it will never get short.


I still haven’t been in Cork, but I have been in lots of places around Cork. This time, I spent a day at marvellous Blarney Castle with all these beautiful gardens and walked all these mysterious paths and hidden grounds around it. It was a bit like a fairy world and I am pretty sure that if somewhere is the place where they live, then one of those has to be the Blarney Castle.




Of course, I couldn’t miss kissing the famous Blarney stone, but I still cannot say if it has made me talk more or not. Maybe you have to be Irish for that. Or maybe I just don’t want to admit that I have started to talk more than usual.




But even if you don’t want to kiss the stone or the procedure makes you a bit dizzy, I will definitely suggest you climb up there and have that gorgeous view of the green Emerald Island that is spread beneath and could be enjoyed as far as your eye reaches.


And here are some places which don’t exist in this world 🙂

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Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol is an old prison in Dublin which is most famous because lots of the members of Irish Easter Rising were kept here and some of them were even executed here. Nowadays there’s a museum where you can take guided tours. We took a guided tour with a really smart tour guide who told us all about the history of the jail and gave loads of information about the Easter Rising that is going to celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2016.

When we reached Kilmainham Gaol, we had to book our tour and wait about an hour, but when waiting we could have a look around at the exhibition. Our tour guide was really smart and she told us all about the history of the jail and gave loads of information about the Easter Rising that is going to celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2016.

If you want to get to know the Irish history Kilmainham Gaol is one of the places that you need to visit, because here you will get to know how this country has struggled for its independence to build up its own free state. It reminds me a lot of Estonian history, maybe that’s why I feel so much at home here.

Meeting Titanic

We started our day at the perfect time for having a brunch at Bunnyconnellan Restaurant in Myrtleville, not far from Crosshaven.

30It was located on the top of the cliff, overlooking the Atlantic’s and the views were breathtaking. It’s a very popular place among the locals, especially for weddings, but not only. It’s a perfect place to start your day or to come over and chat with your friends at the weekend with a nice drink and delicious food.
The name of the restaurant was put together from the names of the women who started it and it’s known as “Bunny’s” among the local people. And it is open all year around.

Inside it looked like a cosy pub or a bar and the outside terrace was large, with big tables and nice corners where you can be quite on your own and don’t have to listen to the other peoples talk. But if you are having a big party, then you have a lot of space to enjoy the company of your friends, mixed with the fresh smell of the sea breeze, and the music of the waves just beside you.

I would like to come back in the evening because I have always liked the mystery of the dark sea when you can just hear it. Maybe the next year I will be lucky enough to come back and have a late dinner right here above the Atlantic Ocean.

This time, I was the one who had to make a decision and pick the next place – The Whiskey Factory or Cobh Heritage Centre. I didn’t have to think too long because I know that I am not too much into all kinds of producing processing and so I excluded the Whiskey Factory. Maybe some next time, why not. So we headed to Cobh – the town with three names.


Cobh Heritage Centre is situated in an old railway station. and it’s dedicated to the mass emigration during 18th and 19th century and to Great Famine 1845-1852 when the whole Ireland was starving and what became the reason for the mass emigration.

IMG_6089It is said that between 1845 – 1950 over 6 million people have emigrated from Ireland and over 2,5 million of them have started from Cobh or Queenstown. So this port plays an important part of the immigration history.

Besides that a lot of big cruise trips, Titanic among them have stopped here and the port was also used for deporting criminals to Australia.

As it has been a spot for leaving Ireland forever, it now offers the genealogical research for your Irish ancestors. It is possible to order a session and get to know how to read the old records and find your Irish roots.

IMG_6084At the entrance stands the statue of Annie Moore and her two brothers.
Annie Moore is considered to be the first person whose name was written down on Ellis Island in the United States after coming down from the ship.

She started from Cobh harbour on 1st of January in 1892 and the whole journey took 12 days.

The similar statue stands also on Ellis Island as a symbol for all the Irish people who have emigrated using the same way.

People leaving their homeland forever – quite lifelike sculptures.

I had never heard anything about the Irish photographer Frank Browne, who was the most well-known Irish photographer during the first half of the 20th century.  But in Cobh Heritage centre I got to know a lot about him and his unbelievable trip on Titanic.
IMG_6095Frank Browne started his journey from London by a train called “Titanic Special” which was taking the passengers from London to Southampton port to board Titanic, The queen of the Ocean.

He had a first class ticket from Southampton to Cobh, where the ship had it last stop to take on board some more passengers. He was there to take photos only, but on his way from Southampton to Cobh, he made friends with a wealthy American family who offered him a first class ticket to America. That sounds already as the beginning of the Titanic movie.

But probably Frank had its own Guardian Angel looking down at him because when he telegraphed about that unbelievable opportunity to his uncle, bishop Robert Browne, he got a very strict answer – “Get off the ship” – and that’s what he did, in Cobh, where he was supposed to get off. This telegram probably didn’t make him too happy when he got it, but it saved his life. His photos are the only evidence that has remained from the Queen of all the Ships that didn’t make a single voyage.

And it’s not all about Titanic for that day. When we left the Heritage Centre we couldn’t pass it.
… and we couldn’t stop thinking about it.
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