Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Today I decided it was time I saw an Irish beach and I took a day trip to Youghal. We were soon out of Cork and en route passed a few herds of freisan cows in the lush green grass.
When I arrived in Youghal the person sitting next to me told me the first stop was the one for the beach and a woman walking by told me the quickest route there: it was less than five minutes walk before I was barefoot on the sand. And it made me a little homesick!
It was sunny at Youghal all the time I was there, with just a few fluffy white clouds in the sky, though you could see some darker clouds inland. I walked along the beach past two "blue flag" beaches, and just like at home, some people were out earlyish walking their dogs. I was amazed at how warm the water was for paddling in. *If* I had brought my togs along, I *might* have gone in for a swim! The sand was lovely for walking along, nice and soft. I saw a few small hermit crabs rolling back into the surf, and saw some jellyfish I hadn't seen before lying on the sand. Kept clear of them just in case. They were about eight centimetres wide, mostly clear flesh, but with brown stripes radiating out from the centre. Perhaps common here but I hadn't seen any like them before.
I headed into town and took a brochure from the Tourist Office for a trail through town. This town was originally settled by the Vikings and later became a Norman stronghold. Some of the rich got executed for backing the wrong person along the way. Later Cromwell made his base here as he wrecked havoc on the Irish population. There was a poignant monument to a priest and one other who were "cruelly flogged" by the English, and two who were "unjustly hanged". These events certainly made their mark on Irish feelings towards the English over time. The Church of Ireland church was from the 12th century and had many memorials inside it that told a story of some of the Norman lords and those following them.
I finished my time at Youghal with another beach walk. More families were out enjoying the beach in the afternoon and both beaches were patrolled. Conditions were quite calm for swimming but I never did get around to testing the temperature of the water further out! Seems strange that in just over six weeks I will be near NZ beaches again, though it won't be summer water temperatures there.

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