Another walk today from the Cheeky Walks in Brighton and Sussex book- this time across rolling downland around Woodingdean, ‘crossing the abandoned ghost village of Balsdean, evacuated and destroyed by Canadian artillery training practice during World War Two’.
Abandoned farm buildings, sheep and the Amex Stadium (home of Brighton and Hove Albion FC) made up the landscape. It was a grey November day, but a good trek across the chalk land all the same. According to the book you needed to walk it to the sound track of Brighton musical duo Grasscut’s album 1 inch/ 1/2 mile- apparently a ‘musical romp through the Sussex landscape’. Incidentally Grasscut also designed the route.
A Sunday afternoon walk with the dogs at Butts Brow.
Butts Brow is a 3.2 mile loop trail located near Polegate, East Sussex, England that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
These were two events I was intrigued by when I was in Southern Ireland.
Starting with the Matchmaking Festival: Apparently if you want to find love, all you have to do is visit Ireland, in particular , Lisdoonvarna, a tiny, rural town in County Clare. Every fall, this little town is home to a huge matchmaking festival, where thousands of people flock to find “The One.” The festival mostly targets rural farmers who don’t have great access to singles bars or Tinder — but it’s been a local tradition for 150 years.
Then there is the Tidy Town competition: this national initiative was launched in 1958 by the Irish Tourist Board: Bord Fáilte (now Fáilte Ireland). It was originally part of ‘Tostal’, a nationwide festival celebrating all things Irish.
From the start, the primary focus of TidyTowns was to encourage communities to improve their local environment and make their area a better place to live, work and visit. The competition aspect was an important element in developing friendly rivalry that would help boost standards across the country. However, the emphasis was always on participating rather than winning as the very act of taking part brought benefits to the community- a focus on long-term results.
So this finishes my series of posts detailing my road trip across the West Coast and the Ring Of Kerry. The West of Ireland is all about the stunning, awe inspiring and breathtaking landscapes and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Apparently the East is all about the myths and legends, so that will be my next Irish trip.
‘Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh, There’s always Pooh and Me. Whatever I do, he wants to do, “Where are you going today?” says Pooh: “Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too. Let’s go together,” says Pooh, says he. “Let’s go together,” says Pooh.’
The final, and one of my favourite, stops of our South Western Ireland trip was the beautiful Garnish Island- reached by a short ferry trip from the village of Glengarriff, overlooking the waters of Bantry Bay and set against the back drop of the Caha Mountains.
Garnish island extends to 37 acres and is renowned for its gardens which flourish in the mild humid micro climate of Glengarriff harbour assisted by a pine shelter belt.
A damp visit that in no way took away the beauty of the island- I was entranced. On the way over we passed Seal Island. The ferryman drew in close, allowing us to say hello and take some photos.
It was an enchanting and enriching afternoon and a lovely conclusion to our road trip.
The departure town for over three million Irish Emigrants and final port of call for the RMS Titanic. We visited the Cobh Heritage Cente, which tells the story of Irish emigration through to the 1950s and traces the history of Cobh over the centuries. Starting with the indentured servants who were transported to the colonies to work on the plantations in the 17th century, to Annie Moore, who with her two brothers were the first emigrants to be processed on the newly opened Ellis Island in New York in 1891.
A Road trip of Road trips today. The stunning Ring of Kerry. Starting in Kenmare, this is a 110 mile circular route around the Iveragh Peninsular covering stunning views, charming towns, rugged forests, gushing waterfalls, all edged by the rolling, crashing waves of The Atlantic Ocean. It was a sublime journey, covering breathtaking land and seascapes. Key stages of the journey included the Coomakista Pass, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Molls Gap, Skellig Micheal in the Atlantic, Waterville village and Cahersiveen.
‘And some time make the time to drive out west … along the Flaggy Shore, In September or October, when the wind And the light are working off each other So that the ocean on one side is wild With foam and glitter…’
“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.”
Charlie Chaplin (1888- 1977)
A short stop in Waterville today. A small town on the Wild Atlantic Way, Western Ireland where Charlie Chaplin, English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film, liked to holiday.
Day one of my Western Irish tour started in Clonakilty, birthplace of Micheal Collins (1890-1922), Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence.
Next stop was Timoleague, a small village where the ruins of a thirteenth century Franciscan abbey stands picturesquely at the waters edge.
Kinsale, a harbour town with a maze of narrow streets and an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and shops was the next stop.
It was raining hard during my visit here, but it’s Western Ireland and it’s October… It took nothing away from the beauty of the location.
Last stop of the day was Charles Fort, just outside of Kinsale. A star-shaped military fortress that has stood firm for centuries. It was raining even harder by now, but the fort was totally worth getting drenched for.
Despite being partially ruined, you could imagine the soldiers and their families living in this fortress.