On June 14, 2017, the MS Prinsendam sailed into Bantry Harbor. She was the first cruise liner in 30 years to do so! At the time, the Bantry Bay Port Company Harbour Master, Captain Paul O’Regan, stated that not only Bantry, but the whole of West Cork was planning to grow tourism (especially the boutique cruises or expedition cruises) over the next few years. He expressed his belief that these smaller ships, able to access smaller ports, could provide their passengers with a richer onshore experience. I don’t know how well the tourism campaign is doing for Bantry, but hey, the MS Amsterdam sailed in this morning with 1300 passengers ready to eat, drink and spend their money!!!
Bantry is small town situated at the head of a very large inlet. It is remote and surrounded by hills except for the 30-mile sea inlet that is named after it. The landscape is magnificent. Take a look at the photos:
Now, we are on the way home!!!
Bantry was our last port-of-call on this 2019 World Cruise. We are now on our way back to Ft. Lauderdale and the conclusion of this adventure. Thank you for joining us in the fun. We are eagerly planning the next venture. Perhaps you’ll join us for that, too?!? We’ll keep you posted!!!
Cobh (once known as Queenstown) is a charming port city at the mouth of the River Lee in Cork Harbor. From here, over 2.5 million immigrants said good-bye to their homeland and left in search of a better life in the United States during the years 1848 to 1950. Because the harbor is one of the largest and safest anywhere, capable of taking the largest vessels afloat, the great Transatlantic liners used to come in until the 1950s. Cobh was the final port-of-call for the ill-fated RMS Titanic. Cobh also was involved in the rescue efforts of the Lusitania when she was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Kinsale in 1915. The survivors were brought here and many of the victims are buried here. Cobh is the gateway to Cork (the second largest city in Ireland), as well as to Waterford (the city of Crystal) and Blarney Castle with the famous Blarney Stone.
Cork originated in the 7th century but came into its own in the 17th century, experiencing its “golden age” by providing butter to the ships plying the North Atlantic. During this period, the city expanded, the economy flourished, and many grand Italianate residences were built. Cork’s most famous building is the church tower of Shandon at St. Anne’s Church. The Butter Museum, the Cork Butter Exchange and the Firkin Crane Center are all part of the “golden age” of butter. Today, Cork is home to the Beamish and Crawford Brewery, Murphy’s Irish Stout, and major industrial presences such as Pfizer, Apple, Logitech and even Amazon. Take a look:
Our first stop is the Shandon Bells & Tower at St. Anne’s Church. St. Anne’s, built in 1722, is one of the oldest churches still in use.
St. Anne’s is one of a very small number of churches retaining their original 18th century bells.
Dublin, the capital and most populated city of Ireland, is a lively port that satisfies the tastes, and expectations of most tourists. Located at the mouth of the Liffey River, it was originally founded as a Viking settlement in the 9th century. Today, it is among the top 30 cities of he world according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. The city spreads over the broad valley of the Liffey River and sweeps around Dublin Bay. Trinity College is the most famous landmark. It was founded by Elizabeth I in 1591 and is noted for the Book of Kells. The Temple Bar district on the south bank of the Liffey, has a mixture of food, drink, shopping and music all located on narrow, cobbled streets. There are a gazillion museums, amazing parks, dazzling architecture, and great shopping. It is impossible to see it all in one visit, but a HOHO can hit most of the top sights.
Over the years, we have been here often and much of what I’ve described can be found in the old blog posts from mid-August 2018 (look in archives). I’ll also slip-in some old photos at the end of this post. But, today, I’d like to tell you about Merrion Square. Since we were here for only the day, we made this our dedicated sight to see and walked all over the area until we stopped for lunch and a libation before returning to the ship for the sail-away. Have a look:
We are crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Although we can still send/receive emails, transferring data is problematic and we cannot upload photos. And so, the final three posts for Dublin, Cobh and Bantry will have to wait until the internet issues are resolved, or we get home. I’m sorry.
Belfast was already a substantial settlement in the 17th century, but during the 18th and 19th centuries, it boomed as a commercial and industrial center. Industries such as linen, rope-making, tobacco, heavy engineering and shipbuilding thrived. By the end of the 19th century Belfast had even, albeit briefly, surpassed Dublin as the largest city in Ireland. However, Belfast, as well as much of Ireland, became embroiled in religious disputes nearly from inception. Records indicate that as early as 1791 meetings and discourse were taking place. By 1921, the civil disputes in Ireland seemed to be resolved with the creation of the “Government of Ireland Act 1920”. Belfast became the capital of Northern Ireland. Sadly, rancor endured and culminated in “The Troubles”, that period of civil conflict that raged from 1969 until 1998 when a peace agreement was reached.
Most of the politically motivated violence in Belfast has disappeared since that Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Today, Belfast is considered the safest city in the UK and that may be attributable to its desire to excel in the area of tourism. Belfast exhibits a sense of optimism with new hotels, restaurants, and shops opening at, what they say, is an incredible rate. A major boon to tourism may be the attention paid to restoration and renovation of the historic Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the city.
We have tried to visit Belfast on several other cruises only to have the port call cancelled for weather-related reasons. You can imagine our delight to finally get here!!! I hope these photos will show you what a charming city this is: