There are 23 million people in Bombay
The second blog post by our winner of the Discover Ireland Explorers competition, Killian O’Driscoll – kayaking, childhood memories, history and pampering along the West coast catching the best of our Indian summer.
“There are 23 million people in Bombay - this is the first place I’ve been where you can’t see anyone else” remarked the visitor from India with whom we’d fallen into conversation. He seemed pleasantly over-whelmed by the solace and tranquillity of the Atlantic Ocean.
Travelling the short distance between Rathbarry, Rosscarbery, Glandore, Union Hall – proud and pretty coastal villages strung out like pearls on a necklace, we arrived at Reen Pier and met up with Declan from Atlantic Sea Kayaking. Under his expert yet relaxed care, we were soon gliding along the water and exploring the inlets and crags of the coast. The half-hidden mansions of the quietly wealthy, secretive swimming holes and perilous cliff jumping for hardy young lads.
It was hard to tell where history and legend met. Did the castles used to be painted with a mixture of cattle blood which gave a pink hue to these forts? Are the O’Driscolls really descended from Galician Celts who set sail to West Cork rather than be conquered by the Roman Empire? Reilig na mBad where unseaworthy boats were cast adrift and left to their fate, slowly decomposing and reincarnated as new ecosystems. Eyes peeled for herons, seals and for the very lucky, otters and kingfishers.
Heading back along the road, bright green and gold flags and bunting at every turn, teddy bears tied to lamp posts like sacrificial offerings. “Up the Kilmacs” and we wished Kilmacabea well in their upcoming West Cork final.
Stopping-off in Glandore for lunch, and enjoying the soft warmth of the late summer sunshine as a regatta got underway. The rituals of the race being coordinated from a park with a strangely foreboding sign that this is not a children’s playground.
A stroll along Red Strand which was that rare thing, a childhood holiday memory that was as good as you remembered. Our friend in Galley Head Lighthouse guarding over the headland.
We arrived at the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa just before the bride and groom. The lobby was buzzing with the glamour and excitement of the wedding party while holiday makers meandered and enjoyed the unexpected heat of the sun. The sounds and thrills of the All-Ireland semi-final drifting on the airwaves, the delight of the Dubs, the melancholy of Mayo.
The hotel was deeply luxurious but perfectly relaxed with informal staff without pretension. Dinner overlooking the dusk of the bay was spectacular, Macroom beef, Union Hall monkfish and who knew that cockle soup was so delicious?
We recalled how our new friend from Bombay had remarked that what made Ireland a unique destination was the people first and the places second. He was right.
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