Earlier this week we all decided to pack up and go out for the day.
Help had been organised for the elderly dog and to see to the horses in the hot weather so friend put together a picnic, we all loaded the car and off we went. My friends live about an hour’s drive west of Cork City, but County Cork is a very large county. We drove due West along the coast, past Bantry, out towards Hungry Hill and the Miskish Mountains for about two and half hours looking for the ferry to Bear Island, sometimes known as Beara or Bere Island.
We drove down a little side road and found the Ferry terminus:
The old ferry boat did not inspire confidence:
After about twenty minutes the ferry arrived but I was somewhat disconcertedto see the ferry boat travelling with its ramp half down:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
They stand up to 40 feet (12m) high (with two floors) and typically had a garrison of one officer and 15-25 men. Their round structure and thick walls of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire, while their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece, mounted on the flat roof and able to traverse a 360° arc.
Martello towers were inspired by a round fortress, part of a larger Genovese defence system, at Mortella (Myrtle) Point in Corsica. The designer was Giovan Giacomo Paleari Fratino (el Fratin).”
Bear Island has been of strategic importance for a long time since it presents such a good, sheltered port: there is a whole line of Martello towers along the Island from West to East, apparently in good condition, along with gun emplacements in the West overlooking the straits and the entrance to Castletownbere and Bullig Bay:
The British Navy had a base at Rerrin until the 1930s and the Irish mined the quay in WWII in case of invasion. There are still the left over military stores and buildings. However, we were here for more leisurely pursuits and soon came to a stop:
Our first need was for food as we were absolutely ravenous: we headed up for the hills to find a good picnic spot. As we climbed we met the sun again and sat on the ridge looking over to the North and South of the Island as we ate our food. The picnic was wonderful:
After lunch we explored: the wild flowers on the stone walls were gorgeous, heather and honeysuckle.
No gate or fence, just several calvies free to roam and munch at will. The human locals drove around with great panache and we noticed to our amusement that most of them drove vehicles with no number plates, road tax or insurance. That’s Island life for you!
We greatly fancied the idea of a little house with a patch of land but found that the prices were very high even for the most run down of places. There’s something about an island: perhaps its the feeling of a moat around your house, being able to draw up the drawbridge and be master/mistress of all you survey. Security and ownership.
That’s the first part of the trip folks, Part 2 tomorrow.