Kinsale ended up being the absolute most beautiful day (weather wise) of my entire trip. From the Tourist Info office, I took this empty dirt trail along the edge of the harbor all the way to Charles Fort. It was a good twenty minute walk, maybe a little longer, and the sun was beaming down. I took my sweatshirt off about five minutes into the walk. On my left, behind the trees and brush, I would catch sight of beautiful cottage homes and I would dream of living in one of them; waking up in the morning to look out my window, cup of coffee in hand, and fall in love with the sun glinting off the harbor all over again. To my right was a drop off to the water, and every so often, a house, built into the side of the hill. It would be paradise to live along the coast in Kinsale, Ireland.
It was early in the morning, eight if I remember correctly, and the harbor was filled with sleeping sailboats. The inner most circle of the water was nothing but a sea of masts and rolled up sails, the boats bobbing and creaking in the early morning silence. By the time I reached Charles Fort, a few of the white behemoths were snailing their way through the deep blue water. I captured this picture from the ramparts of the fort with the colorful houses and hills of the town in the background. I wondered who manned the sailboat. I wondered if they worked in Kinsale or if they’d retired there. Maybe it was a man, maybe it was a woman, maybe it was an older couple enjoying the feel of the boat swaying beneath their feet. The sailboat was what I consider perfect–the triangular shape of the sails on the white deck, like a foot beneath a leg, and on the backdrop of that sapphire water and rising land, my picture was a postcard.
Charles Fort was magnificent. It sprawled across the peninsula of rock like it belonged to the land. And it did, really. Nature had long since begun it’s not-so-hostile takeover. Barracks, hospital, gunpowder rooms…all roofless and filled with trees, grass, moss, and ivy. It was a study in color–the rough gray stone and the palate of mother nature. I wish I could fly, because to get a picture of this star shaped fort from the air would be a one of a kind experience. As with most locations, I was very much alone while I wandered this place of history, remembering the men who had once defended the harbor of Kinsale at all costs.
One of my favorite pictures of the Fort, this does a good job of showing the sheer size of the buildings ensconced in the outer walls. At one point, these buildings were shelter and home to hundreds of men…if the walls could talk they’d speak of late night card games and crap fort food, stories of home and battles ahead.
With an amazing blue sky above me and equally cerulean ocean beneath me, I fell in love with this small harbor town. Small roads, not made for cars but for walking, and buildings so vividly bright they rivaled the best rainbows, this single day of my trip stands out in my memory as one of the best of my trip. When I return to Ireland, I will return for a visit to this wonderful place.