Archive for August, 2011

Traditional Music in Clonakilty

August 22, 2011

Last Monday evening a few of us ventured over to Clonakilty with some Argentinian friends to enjoy some traditional Irish Music. We stopped off at An Teach Beag which we would recommend as a sedate place well suited to older people who like a seat and who also like a bit of room.  If you have younger people in your group and if you strike the right night for trad music, head to De Barras.  On the night of our visit, there was a session so it was extremely lively and quite packed so not too much seating!  The place had a real buzz and seemed full of young people.

this blog was posted by Catherine FitzMaurice of Kilbrogan House Bed and Breakfast in Bandon, Co Cork

A short tour in Suffolk

August 15, 2011

With the assistance of blogs and tripadvisor, we spent a few days touring Suffolk in June.  I hope others will find some of my tips worthwhile.

We flew directly from Cork to Gatwick and picked up a Hertz rental car.  Our first stop was for lunch at theAngel Hotel in the town square of Bury St Edmunds directly opposite the Abbey.  Aside from the perfect location for wandering around the city, lunch was delicious (a tasty chicken dish followed by sticky toffee pudding).  To walk off the meal, we wandered around the fabulous abbey gardens

Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds

Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds

 
The Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds

The Abbey Gardens at Bury St Edmunds

and the Abbey itself

The Abbey at Bury St Edmunds

The Abbey at Bury St Edmunds

and explored Bury.  The Abbey Gardens are truly spectacular so don’t miss them.  I particularly enjoyed the rose garden.

We took the A1120 from Stowmarket to Southwold with a few stops along the way.  The Saxtead Green mill

Saxtead Green Post Mill

Saxtead Green Post Mill

 is a three storey roundhouse used for milling corn up to 1947.  It is now a protected structure.

Our next stop was Framlingham, a quaint old market town

Market day at Framlingham

Market day at Framlingham

mentioned as far back as in the domesday book.  Framlingham castle

Framlingham Castle

Framlingham Castle

is a 12th century fortress once the refuge of Mary Tudor.  On the day of our visit the country market was in full swing.

On to Southwold,

Southwold

Southwold

the home of Adnams breweryand a town famous for its pier and seaside.  This is a bustling seaside town with lots of shops, cafes, galleries etc.  We enjoyed lunch at Cellar and Kitchen, part of Adnams.

Cellar and Kitchen in Southwold

Cellar and Kitchen in Southwold

From Southwold we toured down the coast stopping at Holy Trinity, Blythburgh,

Holy Trinity at Blythburgh in Suffolk

Holy Trinity at Blythburgh in Suffolk

an impressive church in what is now a tiny village bisected by the very busy A12.  Blythburgh was a thriving medieval town at one stage, hence the size of the church.

A little further on we reached Dunwich, at one stage the capital of East Anglia (1500 years ago) but now a village due to severe coastal erosion which saw the town disappear under water.  At its height, it was one of the most important ports in England with a population of 3000.  The remains of the franciscan friary

dunwich abbey

dunwich abbey

are still visible though as many as eight churches have long since disappeared into the sea.  The Dunwich museum

Dunwich Museum

Dunwich Museum

is a very interesting stop-off point though take the stairs to the upper floor as two of our party got stuck in the lift!  It’s really hard to believe that such a thriving place in medieval times could be now just a very small village.

Snape Maltings

Snape Maltings in Suffolk

Snape Maltings in Suffolk

is a popular tourist destination a little further south. I had difficulty trying to figure out from the web before my visit what exactly was at the maltings and whether it was worth a stop.  There are a variety of quaint shops, a cafe and galleries so plenty to browse around.  In addition there is a sizeable concert hall with musical events.  In former times the maltings was used for the malting of barley and brewing of beer.  Its transformation seems to be a success and we enjoyed our visit.

Lavenham

Lavenham Museum

Lavenham Museum

is a picturesque medieval village which thrived during the hay days of the wool trade in the 15th and 16th centuries.  Be sure to visit the museum as it’s fascinating.  Also take time to wander around the church.  We loved this medieval village as it is so quintessentially English.

lavenham in Suffolk

lavenham in Suffolk

East Bergholt

East Bergholt

East Bergholt

is a small pretty village in the south of Suffolk and the birthplace of the painter, John Constable.  The village is famous for its church bells which sit in a bell cage on the ground rather than in a spire.  The bells are not run by ropes pulled from below but instead by ringers standing alongside the bells.

Close to East Bergholt is the small hamlet of Flatford,

Flatford

Flatford

famous for the mill, Willy Lott’s Cottage and Bridge Cottage all immortalised in the paintings of John Constable.  Parking is available about 200 metres from the area itself and there is a good cafe looking out over the water.

As always with any holiday, we had too little time and there was too much to see.  We spent the three nights of our trip in a wonderful self catering chalet at Badwell Ash.

Badwell Ash Holiday Lodges

Badwell Ash Holiday Lodges

We would highly recommend this haven of wildlife.

This blog has been posted by Catherine FitzMaurice of Kilbrogan House Bed and Breakfast and Self Catering Accommodation.

Killarney House

August 8, 2011

RTE News reported this week that more than euro 7 million is to be spent restoring Killarney House and this should be welcomed by all.  This was the historic home of the Earls of Kenmare.  The house and gardens were gifted to the nation in 1998 by the American philanthropist, John McShain in the hope that the state would preserve this historic gem for all to enjoy.  Sadly, since 1998, the house has been left to decay.  The new government is to be commended for this encouraging announcement coming just days before the announcement that Doneraile Court may also receive a cash injection.

Doneraile Court

August 8, 2011

Doneraile Court was cared for and preserved by the Irish Georgian Society until it was handed over to the OPW some years ago.  Sadly since that hand-over, the house has been boarded up and has been in an unloved state.  It is disheartening for Irish Georgian Society members who subscribed so generously over the years towards the restoration to see it slowly fall back into decay.

The house is steeped in history having been the home of the St Leger family for many generations.  It’s time to encourage Failte Ireland, the OPW and Cork County Council to work together to create a wonderful tourist attraction.  The Examiner reported today some encouraging news that plans are afoot to spend euro 10 million to open up the house.  We should not forget our domestic tourists in the equation when working out the viability of this project.  The park is currently very well used and is a fabulous amenity for all to enjoy.  Lets make it even more special by opening up the house.

Posted by Catherine FitzMaurice of Kilbrogan House Bed and Breakfast Accommodation, Bandon