In just a couple weeks, you’ll be seeing parades of green, Irish flags and maybe even green beer on tap at bars as Americans gather to celebrate their Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s Day. Down in D.C., Donald Trump plans to follow presidential tradition by hosting the Irish prime minister and Irish-American members of Congress at a St. Patrick’s Day ceremony. But if former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has his way, Trump’s ceremonial bash will see record low turnout of elected officials.
Playwright and UB prof Kimberley Lynne travels to Ireland with students each summer–and, frankly, she sometimes encounters specters in her hotel room. Not that she minds, mind you. Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, readers.
We request the most haunted room, but 21 isn’t available—it’s very popular in summer. Instead, we reserve the adjacent room 22 in the 700-year-old Dobbins Hotel in quaint, Protestant Carrickfergus, just beyond Belfast at the gateway to the Antrim Coast (or as my favorite Catholic poet calls it “north of the wall”) and guarded by a dark, hulking Norman citadel. Two round stone towers flank crenulated walls. Brightly painted mannequin warriors point replica rifles out of battlements. Belfast Lough laps on one side of the castle and a wide expanse of lawn the other. King William of Orange’s diminutive statue guards the parking lot, fenced and life-sized, considering the Marine Highway’s constant traffic. In 1690, King Billy landed at the Carrickfergus sea wall on his way south to the Battle of the Boyne. Fresh bundles of flowers lie at his boots.
An Irish Fisherman’s Cottage – In Baltimore
HOT HOUSE: Cove Hill, Baltimore, Co. Cork, Ireland
Small, 150 year old stone cottage overlooking the harbor in the town of Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland. Two bedrooms, one bath — walk to village: E185,000 ($260, 000)
What: A restored, period fisherman’s cottage with stunning views of Baltimore Harbor and Mt. Gabriel. The house is “well kept up, tight-as-a drum and comfortable” -– easy to maintain and use as a summer holiday home. It has been recently restored and extended, has two decent-sized bedrooms, a large dining room (18’x12’), and a living room with fireplace. Kitchen is small — not fancy, but well-appointed. A pretty stone paved terrace faces west, to take full advantage of beautiful sunsets over the harbor. Town is about a five minute walk.
Where: Baltimore is a picturesque sailing and fishing village on the western coastline of county Cork, one of the most appealing (and sunniest) corners of Ireland, noted for its excellent sailing waters and interesting past. The original Lord Baltimore took his name from here, for reasons that are lost to history. In 1631, the infamous “Sack of Baltimore” saw much of the population carried off by pirates, never to be seen again. The lighthouse at Mizen Head, a deserted village just up the rocky coast, is nicknamed Teardrop Point because it was the last glimpse of home for millions of Irish fleeing the famine, sailing for America. You get the idea…
The house at Cove Hill is a short walk to the center of Baltimore, where good restaurants and bars, a local ferry stop and a well-known sailing school with classes for adults and kids keep things bustling, especially in the summer.
Why: No shopping malls. It’s unspoiled. It’s beautiful. It’s something completely different. And it’s affordable. People are friendly, pubs are great, fishing is superb. There’s a world-class restaurant open three months a year on a tiny island accessible only by boat. Best of all, you’ll still be in Baltimore!
Would Suit: Hardy, seafaring folk. Active vacationers with a sense of adventure and some Irish ancestry. People who can take a long summer break — teachers, authors, telecommuters.
NB: While the drive is breathtaking and the airport is charming, it is, in fairness, a good one and a half hour drive from the Cork airport to Cove Hill. And no direct flights leave for Cork from the U.S. You’ll have to fly to London or Dublin first.