One of the first things on the itinerary was a supermarket shop: the one used the most by my friends is a few miles away in Clonakilty so off we went under a blue sky and in bright sunshine.
Going round the back of the small town we passed a Traveller driving in his trap, going at a very brisk trot. I have seen them before parked in a supermarket car park and they are taken very much as a fact of life around here.
Next door to the shop we were going to is a really nice Restaurant where we stopped to have lunch before shopping. I gather it is never sensible to do a household shop when one is hungry, although that was not the reason for our indulgence: growing up we were allowed to do very little together as friends and a coffee and cake, or a lunch out, are still treats for us! In fact our friendship was very frowned upon.
This Restaurant has staff who are very helpful and I asked for a gluten and dairy free salad: this arrived – full of goodies and was absolutely delicious!
P also had a salad and hers came with Irish Soda Bread:
I was sooo envious!!
However, it was not to be for me, so ‘tant pis’.
After a slow chatty meal we departed for the supermarket and parked in the multi-storey car park: I had to take a photo from the roof as I consider it one of the best views I know to be had from such a building:
We found a whole section of gluten free baking including some super ginger biscuits and imagine my pleasure and astonishment to find some gluten free Irish Soda Bread which we promptly bought:
It was delicious and I really enjoyed it eating it during my stay: however I did notice some effects after a few days and on closer inspection noted that it did have a little buttermilk and some gluten free oats in it. Now the protein Avenin found in Oats contains similar amino acid sequences as wheat gluten and can evoke the same immune response. Oats always used to be considered off-limits for people with gluten intolerance since avenin is so similar to gluten: Today, there is no way to predict ahead of time, which people with celiac disease will or will not be able to successfully consume oats without an immune reaction but since 2013 the FDA legislation has been changed so that it is now considered gluten-free in the UK and Ireland. I don’t know about other countries. This is a problem because in many places I am offered food which is guaranteed gluten free but later I find oats in it: when I query the product the sellers are most offended when I explain that oats are not necessarily OK: I wish the FDA had not changed things!
I will experiment at home trying to make Soda Bread using lemon juice or apple vinegar instead of the buttermilk.
Apparently Ireland has the highest percentage of people sensitive to gluten of any country in the world, hence the large array of specialist food.
After our most successful lunch and shopping expedition we decided to use the glorious day to go to the beach and go for a walk on the cliffs – so we returned home, unloaded the car, collected the dog and set off.
Beginning to climb the cliff path
We passed Thrift, Violets and Primroses amongst other flowers and herbs: the sea was aquamarine with purple patches and white horses breaking round rocks. Here we are about 130 feet above sea level: at home we live at 750 feet above sea level amongst moorland and high hills and in the very middle of the country, the furthest you can get from the sea in the UK. I love it there but do miss the sea terribly so it is a real treat to be able to come here. Today, in the sun it all looked and was idyllic with unbelievable colours!
You can just see Galley Head Lighhouse station: it stands on the end of this promontary overlooking St George’s Channel.
Closer view with a Gannet in front
from the cliffs we saw this Gannet, a Skylark, two Stonechats and a Gull, plus, lower down on the cove, an Egret and hordes of Swans, Oystercatchers and Curlews.
According to Wikipedia, “Galley Head Lighthouse station was built in 1875, during the heyday of lighthouse building, and within twenty years of its closest neighbours at Old Head of Kinsale and Fastnet. The Galley Head and the Fastnet have the distinction of being two of the most powerful lighthouses in Europe.
(picture from: https://blogotheirish.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/lighthouses-in-irelandure)
The lighthouse displays an unusual landward arc of light because, it is said, the Sultan of Turkey asked to be able to see it from Castle Freke at Rosscarbery nearby on his visit there. The castle was built in the 1680s but abandoned in 1952 and can be seen from Galley as a Gothic ruin.”
However, I gather that the castle is currently under restoration.
(picture from: http://angarrancoir.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/castlefreke.jpg)
From 1997 the requirement for an Attendant to live at the Lighthouse station was discontinued. The tower corridor was sealed off from the dwellings and a remote control and monitoring system linking the station to the central monitoring room at Dun Laoghaire was installed. Then in 1998 the two Keepers’ dwellings were leased to the Irish Landmark Trust, which restored them using traditional materials and building methods after which they have been let to the general public by the Trust as holiday accommodation.
(photo from: http://www.irishlandmark.com/propertytag/by-the-sea/)
They would be a lovely place to stay:) Stone is the building material of choice in this area and the fields also are bounded by stone walls, just as at home, but here they use the stones vertically, whereas at home in Yorkshire the stones are used horizontally. The effect is startling to my eyes!
The air here is so pure that lichens grow in abundance: and they find a suitable home on the walls:
We stayed out long enough to soak up some rays but then had to drag ourselves back to the house to attend to other things.
Turning back for home.
Closer down to the bay.
We felt full of good food, fresh air, sunshine and life could hardly be better. Back home we were met by an interesting spectacle, but more of that next time.