kinsale accommodation
Friars Lodge kinsale
::
Friars Lodge, a Four Star Guesthouse in the heart of Kinsale,
newly purpose built with Luxurious Accommodation and Safe Private Parking.
aa 4star kinsale accommodation
Rated AA
5 Star

Rated RAC
5 Diamond

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Friars Lodge
Friar Street,
Kinsale,
Co.Cork,
Tel. 021 477 7384

Fax. 021 477 4363

e-mail. info@friars-lodge.com


Contact:
Maureen Tierney


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:: Daily Express: Sunday September 21,2008

TRAVEL - FIND IRELAND’S FUNKY SOUL

Get a taste of jazz in Ireland Sunday September 21,2008

Live music and nature at its wildest prove an intoxicating combination for BOB SMITH on a visit to County Cork to take in the Kinsale Jazz Festival.

A GENTLE tattoo rattles from the rigging of swaying masts of the myriad yachts in Kinsale’s cosy harbour in County Cork, south-west Ireland. We watch as an inquisitive seal pops up through the ripples of the eddying tide to witness evening dissolve into night.

In stunning counterpoint to this picture of tranquillity, 300ft away in a bar called Swell the Slammers Maximum Jive Band are belting out music full blast as the town’s annual Jazz Festival gets under way. It’s these contrasts that make Kinsale such a great place to be. In 10 minutes you can be in stunning countryside, both coastal and inland, with magnificent walks where your only company is the wildlife and the wind but in the square half a mile at the centre of the town known as the “gourmet capital of Ireland” there is as much action as you could wish for. Restaurants are full of hungry music enthusiasts fuelling up for the festivities as we wait for the bands to crank up the decibels. Officially this is the fringe action of the much larger Cork Jazz Festival half an hour up the road, so the term jazz is loosely applied but Kinsale has made this event its own and enthusiasts pack the hotels and guest houses to join in the craic.

We stroll down the narrow streets cherry-picking venues from the sounds emanating from within. Muddy Mahers’s bar is playing host to Gentleman Tim and the Contenders, while a short distance away at Oscar Madison’s we catch the Texas Moonbeams bursting eardrums with the pulsating classic Cocaine. “Do you like soul music?” yells the front man of brassy R&B band Loose Change. We all do, so they deliver a supercharged version of the soul classic with a packed audience dancing and singing along. Round the bay we call in at Bulman’s Bar, where Sangre Latino are dispensing Latin/Caribbean jazz funk, while outside a sleek sailing vessel heels into the freshening wind and heads for open sea. In the morning we stroll out to Sandycove, just roundround the bay, to blow away the cobwebs and purge the system of Guinness. This is beautiful coastline where dolphins, seal and whales are all regular visitors. The walks in this area are literally a breath of fresh air.

We drive for an hour further south into the wild country of West Cork, beyond the quaint town of Skibbereen, where the rugged coastline leads to the rocky finger of land known as Sheep’s Head Peninsula. You can take the modest two-mile walk, extend it to 10miles or, if you have time, spend four days walking the 55-mile Sheep’s Head Way. All offer unsurpassed views with steep cliffs and a plunging headland from which the next stop is America. We take the 10-mile option on a bright, breezy day with enough bracing ozone in the air to fell a donkey. After two hours we crest the highest point and look down on a deep blue ocean, white caps flecking the waves as they roll on to shore. Tiring now, we begin to dream of a break from the track and a foaming cappuccino. No sooner thought than delivered as, around the next hillock, we are amazed to discover a cosy café where a smiling patron serves up steaming mugs of coffee. Thirteen miles west of Kinsale, between Timoleague and Clonakilty, lies the Seven Heads Peninsula, another pretty coastal headland, ideal for bird-watching, cycling and walking.

There is much more to this area than just music and beautiful countryside, though. By basing yourself in Kinsale you can enjoy such outdoor activities as golf, yachting, kayaking, windsurfing, rock climbing, falconry and pony trekking, or you can take in a variety of museums, enjoy the guided historic walking tour or brave the evening ghost tour. There is an arts festival in July and a gourmet festival in October as well as the jazz.

We stay at the excellent Friar’s Lodge, a four-star guest house in a quiet street just behind the main shopping area offering luxurious accommodation at modest prices. Owners Finbarr and Maureen Tierney have run the lodge for seven years and present the perfect Irish welcome. Their full Irish breakfast is not to be missed, though you can opt for the “catch of the day”, where lodge staff will pop down to the fish market and bring back the morning’s fresh haul.

Cork airport is less than 25 minutes away and there are several car rental companies operating from its precincts.

An alternative route is to fly to Dublin and drive down. On the way, take in the rugged beauty of the Wicklow Mountains, which stretch almost to Dublin itself. There are dozens of walks of varying difficulty, from afternoon strolls to the serious 82-mile Wicklow Way, which passes through some of Ireland’s finest mountain landscapes. Back in the bars and pubs that are held in the embrace of Kinsale’s pretty harbour, they are gearing up for this year’s festivities next month. Am I jealous? No way. I booked my place months ago. And when the lights go down and the rhythm starts to pulse, I’ll be there with my pint of the black stuff.

GETTING THERE:

Bmi Baby (0871 224 0224/www.bmibaby.com) offers return flights from Manchester to Cork from £58.

Auto Europe (0800 358 1229/www.auto-europe.co.uk) offers car hire in Cork from £11 per day.

Friars Lodge (dialling from UK: 00 353 21 477 7384/www.friars-lodge.com) offers doubles from £80 per night (two sharing), B&B.

Cork Jazz Festival 2008 runs from October 24 to 27 (www.corkjazzfestival.com).

Discover Ireland: 0800 039 7000/ www.discoverireland.com

 




 


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