Around Crosshaven

Crosshaven harbourThe original plan today had been to head off on the road and see some of the coast, but the weather wasn’t up to much. And, frankly, neither were Jolene or I after the previous late night. Instead, we opted for a walk along the hills nearby around the village.

This is a route Jolene’s familiar with, having lived in Crosshaven all her life bar the occasional trip abroad. The weather wasn’t as bad as we’d feared, but the sky was pretty cloudy for a lot of it so driving long distances to take photos would have been a waste of time.

Thankfully, it certainly wasn’t for us. The country lanes were lovely and as we walked on, the sun did eventually come out and burn all the cloud off. Our first stop off point was Templebreedy Church, a small derelict building swamped with ivy and with a very old graveyard. There are some nice views from this relatively high point, and the graveyard itself makes for some very photogenic pictures. One of Jolene’s best efforts – a night time shot of a headstone – is available as a print from her mother’s shop in town.

Celtic crossJolene’s great-grandparents are actually buried in the now-overgrown graveyard, though we couldn’t find their resting place as there was simple far too much grass. Bizarrely, and slightly annoyingly, the oldest grave in the place was “upgraded” a few years ago. The original headstone – or what was left of it – was mounted on the church wall. This looks superb, framed by ivy, but the actual area where it was placed originally looks awful. It’s been trimmed back, but then painted in glossy blue and white paint. It just looks utterly out of place in an otherwise beautifully atmospheric spot.

We trudged down towards the cliffs and stopped by the house of a couple of Jolene’s friends which overlooks a bay. They were watching the tennis, but very kindly allowed Jolene to make them (and us) a cuppa! In return, I did my IT thing and sorted out the wi-fi connection on one of their laptops. And left my watch lying on their sofa. I didn’t see it again for days. A good job the time in Ireland is something that just ticks away. You don’t really need to keep track of it.

It was here that Jolene regaled me with a little story. When she was staying with someone, he made up all the tea things (pot of tea, little milk jug and so forth) and left his two guests to make their own tea. When they did, he pointed at each in turn and said “you’re Catholic and you’re Protestant“. What’s more, he was right.

Oldest tombstone in the graveyardBizarrely, he’d figured this out from how they’d poured the milk. Historically in Ireland (going back a couple of hundred years), the Protestants had all the money while the Catholics lived in poverty. As such, they had delicate bone china cups which didn’t react too well when you poured boiling water straight into them. So they added milk first, then the tea to the milk so that the cups didn’t heat up to quickly and crack. Catholics, on the other hand, just poured tea directly into whatever thick mug they happened to be using.

True? Dunno. A mate of mine always told me the milk goes in first to avoid scalding it or something, which affects the taste. Given that I’m the kind of person who buys teabags based on which supermarket has an offer on rather than the delicate flavours involved, I’m hardly one to comment on taste.

A short walk further on after our little rest was when the sun came out with a vengeance to make up for earlier in the day. By the time we arrived at our next rest stop, the house of one of the girls who works at Cronin’s, I was certainly starting to show signs of redness. I really should wear more suncream.

From there, we got a lift into town to buy supplies for another BBQ – a delayed housewarming. Armed with two 5-litre kegs of beer as our donation, we were driven back up to the house by Dennis, Jolene’s brother. He and I managed to get the BBQ going (though we kind of left the cooking itself to a couple of the girls as the beer kicked in) and chatted to what seemed like a delegation of the UN.

If I recall correctly we had two Kiwis; one German woman; one English guy (me); a Polish girl with her Carribean boyfriend and her daughter; a Lithuanian couple and their two daughters; and three Irish hangers-on.

Old dial phoneThe food was great, and the beer just kept coming (5l is more than you think when you buy those kegs – beware). As darkness started to descend, we walked down to Cronin’s via a very large empty property that’s up for sale. It’s wide open and a complete mess inside. A shame as it’s got, as an estate agent would put it, “a lot of potential”. Basically, it needs a shedload of work but it’d be great with the right owner. Right now, it looks spooky when you wander round it in the twilight.

Down at Cronin’s I got into a conversation about football (surprise) with one of the locals before Jolene called it a night as we needed a moderately early start the next morning to fit in a few sites she needed to get photos of.

Two days, two BBQs. I’m not going to lose weight at this rate even with the walking.

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