Maura and I took our first “day trip” two weekends ago to the village of Kinsale. Saturday, we got up early and caught the bus. Up and out before 8 am here for the first time, I realized that the sun here doesn’t rise until 8:30! Now, geographically, Ireland is located in a rather north, so I suppose this shouldn’t have come as too much of a shock, but it blows my mind. The days are only 8 hours long- in Virginia you all are getting like 9 and a half hours of sunlight! (I know this because I was, in fact, so baffled by this shortness of sunlight that I proceeded to every place I could think of to see how long their days are. In case you are wondering, Antarctica is currently averaging 6 ½ hours of sunlight a day)

 Sunrise in Kinsale

So, as I was getting to, we went to Kinsale early Saturday morning. For another quick geography lesson, the town of Kinsale is a small sailing village located in Cork County, Ireland, along the southwest coast. It wasn’t far from Cork city (where we are living) at all- a mere half hour bus drive. We arrived just in time to see the just-risen sun peaking over the horizon casting its glorious sunlight on the sailboats in the Kinsale harbor. We had big plans for a walking tour, but it was so cold that we skipped it and just spent the day wandering in and out of the little shops and seeing what this well-known B&B and restaurant town had offer in way of scones, cappuccinos, and sandwiches (all, I might add, absolutely delicious!) I think we wandered in and out of every little shop in the town. I also learned that in Ireland, a “Book-maker” is not a shop that makes novels- it is a fine establishment where one can go to place bets on the horse races. Luckily, there was a real bookshop, so I was able to get my literary fix.

 Maura and the fishing village

Unfortunately, because it’s January, a lot of the historical places to visit were closed for the winter months. Kinsale is famous not only for its quaint village scenes, but also for its role in the US involvement in the First World War The sinking of the Lusitania, the event that invoked US president Woodrow Wilson to enter the war in 1915, happened just outside the Kinsale harbor. There is also James Fort, which is one of the last traditional 17th century forts in Ireland, but tours there were closed seasonally as well. Pehaps there will be a return trip for us in March… I certainly wouldn’t mind heading back!