Kinsale

Round Britain 2013 029
Chris at the helm on the way to Kinsale

Up early at Castletownshend, perfect morning, still water, the sound of water falling in the woods, birdsong, a heron on the rocks: made tea and slowly to sea, admiring the pretty sunlit village. Fast reach in sun all the way to Kinsale, past the Old Head, with the wind gradually rising.

The Old Head of Kinsale
The Old Head of Kinsale

Saw some old fashioned 12 metre racing yachts approaching, making to windward. Decided they were models as we suddenly realised they were just a few hundred metres ahead. As they passed, saw a head sticking up in the middle of each, and realised they were racing miniatures, not radio controlled.

Sailed past Charles Fort, the ‘star fort’ downriver from the town, and moored at the very hospitable but rather pricey Kinsale Yacht Club marina. Very friendly, good showers, a washing machine, wifi and an excellent bar and restaurant in their new building.

Peter off Charles Fort, on the approach to Kinsale
Peter off Charles Fort, on the approach to Kinsale

Walked with Chris to check out bus stop for the airport, and it was lucky we did, because it had been moved half a mile to avoid the regatta celebrations. Saw her off to Cork Airport and the clutches of Ryanair at 6pm.

Kinsale on its river, out of sight of the sea
Kinsale on its river, out of sight of the sea, with Compass Hill behind.

First visit to Kinsale. Checked out Kinsale Barracks on line, because that is where my father’s birth certificate says he was born. Both Charles Fort and what was called The Military Barracks, which I think was on Compass Hill (to check), housed the army in the days of British Rule. It turned out from web researches that the regular army, to which my grandfather Rodgers belonged, was at the Barracks. There was an implication in what I found that only irregulars were at Charles Fort. Could that mean the notorious Black & Tans? Grandfather was definitely in a respectable English regiment, the East Surrey.

Grandfather was himself born in 1879 at Buttevant in County Cork, site of a British army base, so father and son had Irish place names on their birth certificates. But we don’t know whether grandfather was an Irishman who went to England as a child and came back as a soldier (there are still quite a few Rodgers in the area, according to the phone directory) or whether his own father was also an English soldier stationed temporarily at the barracks in Buttevant.

The Barracks in Kinsale, which included married quarters and a hospital, was demolished in 1922 at the time of the Irish Civil War. I found a 1920s debate in the Dail about selling the married quarters for housing. The Officers Club building still exists on Compass Hill, with a splendid view of the harbour, but grandfather was a Regimental Sergeant Major, so wouldn’t have belonged. The only story I remember about Kinsale is that my grandmother held my father on her knees when he was a baby to see the Titanic set off from Cork, her last port of call. Dad was certainly born in a beautiful place.

Compass Hill from the marina
Compass Hill from the marina
Old British officers' club by the bowling green on Compass Hill
Old British officers’ club by the bowling green on Compass Hill

Text from Chris soon after midnight saying she was home safely.

Passage notes: log 34, 6.5 hours, max wind SSW 5, min SSW 2, good visibility, sea moderate

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