A Peaceful Garden of Remembrance

A month or so ago, near Kinsale, we came across this Garden of Remembrance to the 343 Firefighters that lost their lives in 9/11 in New York.  The Garden was started by a lady called Kathleen Murphy, who worked as a nurse for over 30 years in New York City,  When she retired and returned to Ireland, she decided to create, on her own land,  a garden in memory of these brave firemen.2015-05-31 12.57.57

A tree was planted in the Garden for every one of the firemen who died, along with their chaplain, Fr.Michael Judge, who was a personal friend of Kathleen Murphy.    Each tree has a name of one of the firemen on it, and when you walk in through the gates, you immediately get a sense of the peace and stillness of the place.

Walking through the garden of remembrance

Walking through the garden of remembrance

When we visited, the grass under the trees was covered in little white daisies, like a carpet to walk on.   The garden overlooks part of Kinsale farmland with the town in the distance.    Sadly Kathleen Murphy herself passed away from cancer just before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but her family and friends look after the garden, and keep it as a tribute to a caring lady.

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Romeo, Romeo!

William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy about two young lovers from opposing noble families, the House of Capulet (Juliet’s family)  and the house of Montague, of which Romeo was a son.   Both houses were sworn enemies of each other, so when Romeo and Juliet fell in love the families were not pleased, and they did everything in their power to stop the romance, and it all ends in tragedy.   You can read a synopsis of the story here if you are not familiar with it.  The original Romeo and Juliet and their families date back to the 13th century.

Oddly enough, though Shakespeare based the story in Verona, where the two families lived, and also wrote ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ he had never visited Verona.  The original story of the star crossed lovers was written by Dante Aligheiri (The Divine Comedy), in the 13th century, this was translated into English from Italian and is said to have given Shakespeare the idea for the play.

We visited Verona recently, and one of the most visited attractions there is Juliet’s Balcony, where, according to Shakespeare, Romeo climbed up to visit her in her room.   That may be poetic licence, as our guide told us that  balconies didn’t exist at the time that the original star crossed lovers did.    However, anything for a good story, and there is now a balcony attached to the old house, and outside the house is a statue of Juliet.   Tradition is that if you touch the right arm of Juliet, you will have a long life with success in love, and therefore everyone likes to touch Juliet, either on the arm or other places!

 

The Old Head of Kinsale

We had a pleasant, long, rain-free, walk from Ballinspittle to the Old Head of Kinsale, and back again on Sunday, a round trip of about 14 km, and boy were  my feet feeling the pain at the end!    We walked from Ballinspittle, mainly on road, and it was a welcome relief to come to Garrettstown and White Strand beaches, and walk along the sand and see the windsurfers having a great time with the strong winds.

After leaving the beach we walked as far as the old Signal Tower at the Old Head.   Unfortunately we could not go in to view the lighthouse, as all the land surrounding it is owned by the Old Head Golf Club, and walkers are not encouraged  allowed to go beyond the gates.    There are only a few days a year when access to this area is allowed for us normal folk who are not members of this private elite golf club!

The history of light keeping at the Old Head goes back to the 1600′s and the current lighthouse was built in 1846, it stands 30 metre’s tall and roughly 76 metre’s above the water. The lighthouse became automated on the 1st of April 1987.

It also witnessed the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, when the ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat, and of the 1900 people on board, more than 1200 people were drowned, including over 100 Americans.    This action is said to have encouraged America to enter World War 1, as the Lusitania was mainly used for ferrying goods and people between England and America, and was not involved in the war.

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