This weekend, we ended up in Southern Ireland in a town called Kinsale. It is a gorgeous area on the water that boasts a lot of Irish history down in County Cork. One of the first things we did was take a long walk with stunning views of sailboats and plants below us.
At the end of our hike, we found ourselves at a famous star-shaped fort called Charles Fort. Built on the edge of the Kinsale Harbor in 1682, it is the newer of the two forts in the area (the other being James Fort, constructed just on the other side of the harbor in 1607). It was named for Charles II and designed by Sir William Robinson, a well-known architect. One of the largest military forts in all of Ireland, it actually belonged to the British and was put there to protect the harbor and town of Kinsale. The British always worried about the French coming in through the south to invade Ireland, so it was important to them to have military in the area.
There’s also a legend I learned about a ghost in the fort called the White Lady of Kinsale. She was a local girl who stayed at the fort on the night of her wedding to a soldier who had watch duty that night. He was so drunk after the wedding, he ended up falling asleep. Other soldiers found him passed out at his post and following the (ridiculous) protocol of the day, shot him as he slept. Hearing of her husband’s death, the White Lady flung herself from the walls of the fort. Now, her ghost is said to wander around the fort in a white dress.
We stayed in a cute Bed and Breakfast run by a chatty, grandmotherly woman named Chrissie and her little dogs. She told us a bit about the history of the BnB, which is called the Olde Bakery. In the 1800s, it was a bakery known as the Garrison Bakery, so it really is an “Olde Bakery.”
One of my favorite things about visiting Kinsale was getting to see another area where my family has a special tie. My Uncle Ken, the twin of my Aunt Cece who I wrote about earlier in the semester, worked as an electrician for Kinsale Energy for many years. I didn’t get to know him very well before he passed away in June 2018 since I grew up all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. My parents tell me about all the great things he did in his life. He worked for Seiko during the Barcelona Olympics, which sounds like a pretty cool job. He had many jobs all around the world, working on oil rigs and other jobs in places such as Saudi Arabia and Africa. He even worked on the Chunnel, a really cool railway that connects England to Northern France. He never had children, so he would volunteer to work on holidays so that his coworkers who did have children would get the day off. Several of the places I’ve gone to in Ireland this semester, people have recognized the name “Weldon” and asked me about Ken. He was a generous man who a lot of people loved, so it’s not surprising that people know him all over the country. It was awesome getting to see such a beautiful place where he worked for so long because I felt like I got more of an insight into the life of the really cool uncle I never really knew.
It’s hard to believe that the semester is ending now and I’ll be flying back to Maryland in just a few days, but there’s still one more post about #IrishRoots coming up next week on #WeldonWednesdays, so don’t forget to check back in one last time!