Ireland: My Irish Roots
It would seem fitting…and perhaps this wee lassie’s soul is calling her home – what with St. Pattie’s day ’round the corner…that I seek to know a wee bit more about me (ANN) fadda’s family from Ireland, ye say; ye don’t say!
And where in Ire’lan would that be lassie; we’re a big country girl responds the tour operator? Well, “Of course Cork, where else?” she responds, indignant at the question – muttering, “And he should have known that, the big dummie.’” As though adding insult to injury, he continues and asks her,“Well girlie, be more specific will ya! Cork’s a big place, don’t ya know?”with Ann turning beat read, wanting to explode she all but yells, “I said Cork. I want to go visit me family in Cork; so tell me how do I get there.”
Sounds a bit like me (by the way my name does include “Ann”) as I wrote that wee ditty; impatient and expecting others to be able to read my mind! Gotta be the Irish blood in me boiling to the surface.
Anyway, I’m learning and searching and found this info on a site about my roots, me fatha’s hometown of Cork in the County of Cork.
Corcaigh (in Irish) The largest county of Ireland, Cork is tucked away in the south western corner of Ireland along with county Kerry . It is bordered by Co. Waterford to it’s east and by counties Tipperary and Limerick to the north.
- North Cork is a mix of rolling green hills and mountains but also has some of Ireland’s richest pastures in the Golden Vale
- East Cork is a region with gentle hills and beautiful beaches
- To the south and west of the county the region know as West Cork , boasts a wild and rugged coastline of rocky headlands, great bays and secret coves warmed by the Gulf Stream.
Like many counties in Ireland Cork’s main industries are farming, fishing and tourism. The remote westerly region of West Cork has become a popular destination for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle to enjoy a slower pace of life around small, rural fishing villages and towns, amid some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Ireland. West Cork is popular with the yachting crowd who gather each summer in the tiny harbours of Baltimore, Schull and Kinsale, the historic port renowned as the culinary capital of Ireland. In this region of the country, you’ll also find Ireland’s most southerly point; Mizen Head.
Towns in County Cork
The county capital; Cork City is the second city of the Republic of Ireland and in 2005 was named the European Capital of Culture. During the 10th Century Cork was the Gaelic capital of the province of Munster, a fact the locals remember when they call Cork the real capital of Ireland. Other important towns include
- The town of Cobh just outside Cork City was once Ireland’s main port and was the embarkation point for some 2.3 million people who left Ireland for new lives in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK.
- Midleton in East Cork
- Youghal of Moby Dick fame
- Clonakilty – were you can sample the local delicacy Black Pudding
- Skibbereen – Ireland’s most southerly town
- Bantry – at the head of one of the finest harbours in Europe
Things to do in County Cork
The county includes some of Ireland’s most popular attractions such asBlarney Castle with its Blarney Stone, which is said to bestow the gift of eloquence to all who kiss it. Other top attractions include
- Charles Fort – a near Kinsale is a classic example of a star-shaped fort
- Mizen Head – Ireland’s most southerly point
- Bantry House – ancestral home of the White family
- Skibbereen Heritage Centre
Cork is also known as the Rebel County, a title stemming from its opposition to British rule throughout history. This rebel character is as much alive in the untamed aspect of the landscape and seems to attract people in search of an alternative style of life. Indeed West Cork is home to a number of artists, musicians and celebrities from film and theatre.
The Rebels also have a rich sporting heritage in the Gaelic games of Hurling and Football. Indeed the all Ireland football trophy; the Sam Maguire Cup is named after a Corkman.
Other famous Corkmen include,
- Irish Nationalists Michael Collins , from Clonakilty
- Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa from near Rosscarbery
- Former Taoiseach Jack Lynch
- Writer Frank O’Connor
- Manchester United football legends Roy Keane and Denis Irwin
- UK TV presenter Graham Norton
- Actor Cillian Murphy
while the parents of Henry Ford, the famous American industrialist, emigrated from Ballinascarthy.
County Cork and the surrounding region is easily accessible via Cork Airportwhich has connections to all major European hubs facilitating one-stop flights to Ireland from most major North American International Airports