3. Cork, the rebel county
Cork city is approx. 1 hour drive (N20) from Ballingarry. The European capital of culture for 2005 is located just beyond Blarney where you can visit the famous Blarney Castle (www.blarneycastle.ie ) to kiss the 'stone of eloquence.' The Blarney Woollen Mills flagship store is worth a visit to pick up traditional memories of your travels.
Kinsale, 30 minutes south of Cork City, is one of the most picturesque and fashionable resorts on the south west coast. It is famous for its yachting, gourmet restaurants and of course the 'Old Head golf course.' There are guided tours available of 'Charles Fort' a 17th century star shaped fortress and the 16th century Desmond castle is also worth exploring.
The town of Cobh is situated 30 minutes south east of Cork city on Great Island, one of the three large islands in Cork harbour which are now all joined by roads and bridges. Cobh harbour is one of the largest and safest anywhere, being capable of taking the largest vessels afloat.
On the quayside there is a memorial to the victims of the Lusitania, many of whom are buried in the old church cemetery. The ship was sunk off Kinsale in 1915 by German submarines. Cobh (formerly known as Queenstown) was the last port of call for the Titanic before she embarked on her fateful maiden voyage. Cobh, the Queenstown story, is displayed in the heritage centre and is an imaginative illustrative story f emigration from Cobh during the famine period in 1845 and afterwards.
On your journey home, you can side track from the main N20 route, to Doneraile (R522) to visit the forest park and demesne. Doneraile is a smell town steeped in history and is the perfect stop for a picnic and a walk.