Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Having a Break

- Warning: picture overload! And not even a stitch of sewing; I was having a break even from that -

This year during the Easter Holidays we were lucky to meet up with my mother and sister and spend some time together in West Cork. It’s not extremely far from where I live, so not too far for me to drive, but having a view of the ocean for a while is rather nice! Our base was close to Bantry, a small market town, and ideally located for a visit to the peninsulas of West Cork, as well as the wonderful Glengarrif Forest.

Stormy sea view from our "base"

The first days were stormy, rainy and cold to a point where I almost started to regret choosing this location. Fortunately, we had the foresight to pack some games so a lot of time was spent being competitive around the kitchen table! Most days we went out as well, at least for a short while, and enjoyed a walk around Glengarrif Forest or did our shopping in Bantry and spent time browsing in a bookshop.

Not wanting to stay in the house all the time, one day we went and enjoyed the bleakness of the Sheep’s Head peninsula with the wind pulling at the car and enough mist to add even more mystery to the landscape. To be honest it was rather spectacular at times even though we were almost blown out of our coats if we weren’t careful.

Leaning into the wind at this top on Sheep's Head peninsula

A couple of days later we went in cloud and rain to the Beara Peninsula, but by the time we arrived in Castletownbere the sun came out. A while later, turning North close to the far end of the peninsula, the clouds descended for some atmospheric misty ocean views.

Beara peninsula

Beara peninsula

After a few days the weather changed, and how! While the temperatures would not have convinced me to wear short sleeves, it was lovely and sunny, and coats could be left behind at least some of the time. The sun made everything look that much more friendly and we decided that a visit to Garinish Island (Ilnacullen) was called for. The ferry across the natural bay of Glengarrif slowed down to allow the passengers to get a good look at the seals on the way.

Seals on the rocks in Glengarrif harbour

Another seal at Glengarrif

The gardens on Garinish are lovely, and even though some of the steps are uneven and steep, we had a leisurely walk all the way around.

Italian garden at Garinish

View from the garden on Garinish Island

Tree ferns on Garinish Island

Wind vane against the blue sky, Garinish Island
Even the boys enjoyed themselves, the only disappointment for them to find upon returning at the boat's landing slip, and having to wait a while for the ferry to pick us up, that the tea shop was not open yet (too early in the season) and there were no ice creams to be had…

Not wanting to leave out a Cork peninsula, we finally made a trip onto the Mizen Head peninsula. The weather being glorious again, we stopped at Schull and visited a lively market and the harbour, and stopped again at the mud flats and sandy beach at Toormore for a picnic.

Schull harbour

Mud flats at Toormore

Finally, we arrived at the very end of the peninsula, Mizen Head itself. Though you have to pay an entrance fee, the views of the ocean from several lookout platforms are definitely worth it.

We were lucky it wasn’t very busy (signs indicating waiting times suggested that it may be heaving with people at other - presumably summer - times), and we could walk all over and enjoy the view for as long as we wanted.

Mizen Head with Beara Peninsula on the horizon

We were lucky to see dolphins (thanks, Sis, for bringing your binoculars, and letting us all have a go!) and seals really close up (no binoculars needed there). When we got cold through and through (we unexpectedly did catch the wind on those cliffs, and regretted having left our coats in the car), it was time for a hot drink and cake in the cafeteria of course.

A few more walks in Glengarrif Forest, along the promenade in Bantry, and a visit to some standing stones were squeezed in before it was time to leave.

Standing stones at Kealkill
Mum and Sis flew back home on Wednesday, hopefully looking back on a wonderful time as much as I do...

Next time there will be some sewing to show, I promise!



  1. It doesn't hurt to have a break from sewing Sandra - especially if you're going to have such a wonderful break & get such terrific pics!

  2. My Granny was from Cork, and always said, there are only two kinds of folk in the world, those who come from Cork, and those who wished they came from Cork! It is a beautiful place and I am pleased you and your family had such a good time. You will be back....

  3. Hi Sandra. Your photos are so beautiful that is makes me want to go to Cork. You and your family sure had a great time! We sometimes vacation on the coast of Maine in the US and some of your pictures remind me so much of that. We too like to go out and about when the weather is misty and even stormy. Especially when along those rocky coasts, you feel in awe of the power of mother nature.


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