Tuesday, April 6, 2010

THE KINSALE I KNOW

Whether born and raised in Cork, Ireland or Dallas,Texas, we all have our childhood memories. At times, we are told that we are wearing rose colored glasses when recalling them but I think Mother Nature has a kind way of helping us remember.

One of my earliest memories, is the 'Sunday Drive' An excursion to break the monotony of the rainy day or a subtle way of reinforcing culture? Who knows what the reasons were for my parents, but they served us well.
Only 13 miles away from our home was the ancient historic town of Kinsale. Dubbed the 'Gourmet Capital of Ireland' this town hosts thousands of tourists each and every month. Known for it's restaurants,beaches, historical monuments and breathtaking scenery, Kinsale for me was the home of the '99' (Ice Cream Cone)and a place to run wild with my siblings . My parents parked the car at 'Charles Fort'and released all four of us. Running wild among the famous ruins, we played Hide and Go Seek, paying little or no attention to the historic significance of this once important stronghold, during 'The Siege of Kinsale' in 1601.
Climbing the walls, weaving through the ruins and all the while taking in the fresh sea air.

Immediately following this ramble was a stop at the infamous 'Bolands craft Shop' on the corner. Here we lined up for our reward. Our 99 ! A whipped vanilla ice cream cone, made from the finest Irish milk, topped with a chocolate flake. Now, a grown woman living in the U.S, I long to roam the store, foraging for Irish treasures !

Moving on, we walked to 'Actons Hotel' Here we walked along the raised walls, jumping from one to the other, ignoring the beauty of this spectacular view. Or did I? The very fact that I can now remember every detail serves me well. Actons is located in Kinsale town, overlooking the harbor. Fishing boats and sail boats fill these waters in every bright color you can imagine.

Kinsale was the town my parents took all visitors to. I have had many a walk with my siblings, my granny, my grandaunts and my French foreign exchange student !
When I was old enough to drive, it became the stomping ground for my friends and I on a Sunday afternoon. When I moved to London and brought my then boyfriend, now husband, to Ireland, Kinsale was a must see. At that time, the Old Head of Kinsale was simply that ! Now it is "The Most Spectacular Course On Earth" according to LINKS MAGAZINE 1999.

It was established in 1997, rising hundreds of feet above dramatic cliffs surrounded by the ocean on all sides. Earlier last month, when I appeared as a guest on 'The Martha Stewart Show' among all the photographs of me as a youth, the producer chose to use a picture of me with my brother, with The Old Head of Kinsale in the background.

If you go to Ireland and I strongly urge you to do so, then Kinsale is a must see. Here you will form your new memories. If you do go, then please share your memories............

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