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Ireland Trip - Day 7 - Ireland

Blogging at 22:10 on Monday 14th August from intended overnighting spot N 51.86080°, W 08.17386° / http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:51.86080%2C-08.17386

We've had another short driving day, today. First port of call was to a place called Canaran Point, the tip of a headland that forms the eastern landmass surrounding Cork Harbour, and which - on the map at least - looked a little less obviously touristy than the places we've been of late.

Sure enough, there were few signs of obvious tourists and, for the first time in a few days, we didn't see any motorcaravans. 

At the lighthouse on Canaran Point we dropped into a car park that overlooked the bay and was situated alongside a multi-pastel coloured row of cottages called Coastguard Terrace.

The occupant of the cottage furthest from the car park is an unusual man.

We'd literally only been gazing out for about three minutes when he approached. I was expecting the usual queries about mpg and such but this conversation took quite another twist.

An unpausing diatribe ensued as the early-middle-aged gent regaled us with how he was left the cottage by his aunt who, when she sadly died not too long ago, communicated her demise to him by telepathically sounding one long and then three short blasts of a ship's horn in his head.

Without pausing he then told us he'd just laid a patio and asked us to come and see it. Before I was able to process the request he explained in some considerable detail that he'd also been troubled by visitations from angels and blue lights. He didn't make it clear if this was before or after he'd laid the patio 

I deemed it best to concentrate on the patio part of the conversation and crafted what I thought might be a safe and engaging question regarding tampering hardcore. Before I could ask it, though, he enquired where we were from and, without pausing for a response, sombrely announced that he had seen (the actual) Jesus Christ (on more than one occasion) and frequently sees angels travelling across the sun.

I was running out of ideas.

Emma helped by - out of sight and earshot of the chap - managing to half-stifle an uncomfortable hysterical laugh. I should stress this was not a response to the visionary, but instead wholly at my predicament.

The chap then informed me he had so many stories to tell that I probably wouldn't have time to hear them all. I earnestly believed him and started to think that a distracting visit to the patio might be the only sympathetic way out but then - blessedly - another chap appeared who introduced himself as another resident of the cottages. 

I braced myself.

To my enormous relief, he really did want to know about fuel consumption and such and whilst answering around 15mpg I simultaneously started the engine, explained that we hadn't seen the rare bird we were looking for and that we had a ferry to catch. I wished all present well before engaging gear and heading anywhere but there.

Anywhere but there happened only about half an hour later in the form of the absolutely fantastically picturesque head of a small estuarine bay at the coordinates show. The bird life and general surroundings here are wonderful and even though we're simply hunkered in a lay-by right at the side of a public road it's almost a road to nowhere and is very quiet.

Upon first arriving we went for a run and only initially intended to then shower, have lunch and move on. But, the feel-good from the run, coupled with meeting a few of the very welcoming locals, plus some pretty cool bird sightings saw us reassessing and deciding to have a lazy day just watching the (natural) world go by (cab-seat pic).

The spot is steeped in cultural history, too and boasts a unique dolmen that is reportedly the only one known to be at sea level and also face east; plus this area is also reportedly the site where all of the China clay used to manufacture Wedgewood pottery was mined.

The estuary has teemed with bird life constantly with all manner of species making the most of the incoming and outgoing tides. Most notable have been greenshank, Mediterranean gull and peregrine.

It's one of those places.

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