Bunratty Castle

Rainy Day at Charles Fort

The only completely rainy day occurred on the day we visited Charles Fort, a star-shaped fortification opposite Kinsale Harbor. It dates from the 17th century and was used as a British Army barracks until 1921. The Brits left after the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.

It wasn't pouring when we left the hotel, but the heavens opened on the short ride to the village of Summer Cove. But we soldiered on (heh) and gathered around a mosaic that's basically a map of the fort. We all zipped up our rain jackets and cinched up our hoods and hats to listen to our guide tell us all about star bastions. Unfortunately, I didn't hear much of the tale because of the rain.

I think the guide was just as soggy as the rest of us, because he led us inside (whew) to the former armory, which was a tad more comfortable and lot more dry. At this point the talk became a lot more interesting!

History Lesson

The rain actually stopped for a hot minute, so we had a bit of time to explore the grounds. It's really quite impressive and the views are simply gorgeous.

The View from the Fort

I'm not sure what these octagonal structures are, but I thought they were neat looking. Wells, maybe?


Alas, it started raining again, so we headed back to the bus and hung out with the other huddled masses.

After lunch was the first session, with Eileen and the Orchestra. Our guide Eddie joined the musicians with his bodhran, adding some percussion to the fiddles and flutes. It was a great afternoon!

A Boy's Best Friend Is His Bodhran

We had dinner at the historic Bulman Pub and Restaurant, right at the bottom of a steep and narrow hill - so steep and narrow that the bus driver wasn't about to attempt to back down. He got as far as he could and we walked on down. We went on into the pub and found out that our reserved room wasn't ready yet - folks were still dining. So we found places to sit and yakked and had Guinnesses while we waited.

Waiting for Dinner at Bulman's

It was worth the wait. The food was great! And then came the best part - a session with Donal Clancy. What a great musician!! He's the son of Liam Clancy, of the great Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. He sounds hauntingly like his father. Of course, after his set, Eileen joined him, and then the Orchestra joined them, and the room was full of amazing music, and I forgot all about the rain.

Donal Clancy