Cork

View of Cobh from the pier

We stayed two nights at Fernroyd House, this fabulous B&B in Cork. In the morning, the day after we saw Kilkenny, we drove down from Cork to Cobh, a town about half an hour south of the city, and caught a ferry over to Spike Island. The island used to have a fortress, built by the British, that was turned into a prison, then back into a fort, and finally into a prison again, closing fairly recently. The complex of buildings remains pretty intact, except for a few of the barracks/cell blocks that were burned out, one in a riot in the 1980s, and another the night before auditors were coming to look into discrepancies in the financial records.

We started with a walking tour up to the top of the hill and around the grounds. Then Riley and I went into all the buildings, including the punishment block that served as solitary confinement, and finally we strolled down to a village that was abandoned following the prison riot.

After taking the ferry back to Cobh (which is a big stop for cruise ships, partly due to the presence of a White Star Lines former office and a Titanic experience), we walked through the cathedral. Finally, we drove back to Cork to walk the walls of Elizabeth Fort, a 17th-century fort whose walls are shockingly intact. Riley wanted to walk around Cork, so we headed over to the English Market, which is kind of like a permanent farmer’s market.

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