Ireland’s Beautiful Gougane Barra National Park #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travel buttonOur day in County Cork ended at beautiful Gougane Barra National Park, Ireland’s first national park, which opened in 1966. The park extends over 1,000 acres of beautiful wild scenery.

Gougane Barra WaterfallsGouganne Barra is in a lovely area with waterfalls cascading down the green hills.
St. Finbarr's OratoryBut the centerpiece of the park is St. Finbarr’s Oratory, a pretty small chapel located on an island in Gouganne Barra Lake. We saw a wedding party there that day. The chapel commemorates the early Christian monastery founded by St. Finnbar, patron saint of County Cork. The monastery was later moved to Cork city.

Gouganne Barra LakeWe stopped for a delicious lunch beside Lake Gouganne Barra, and when we wandered around afterwards, we discovered this pretty Collie looking for someone to play with. Several of us stood around and tossed a stick for the dog to chase.
CollieAs I write this, I’m listening to Celtic Thunder Heritage on public television and feeling even more nostalgic than usual about our day in County Cork. One of these days I’ll go back. Here’s a Celtic Thunder video for you to enjoy, if you’re like me and love Irish music.

West Cork’s Scenic Wonders #Ireland #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travel button

For our last stop in Ireland, Linda and I chose the shore excursion to West Cork’s Scenic Wonders. We boarded our motorcoach early for a drive through County Cork. There was a fair bit of rain last June, so the countryside lived up to Ireland’s reputation as The Emerald Isle. It was beautiful.

Irish coast in County Cork

Irish coast in County Cork

Along the way we stopped to view an aluminum replica of a Model T Ford in the area Henry Ford’s ancestors came from. My dad would have loved seeing this.

Model T

Our first stop was the seaside village of Clonakilty, known for the world’s only “Random Acts of Kindness Festival.” After scones and tea, we had time to explore the village. I found a delightful shopping area known as Spiller’s Lane where I was astonished to find an Irish surf shop! But yes, there is surfing in the area, and honestly, how cute is this?

Irish Surf Shop

Irish Surf Shop

In a gallery across from the surf shop, I found pretty handmade pendants to bring home to my friends. After shopping, we re-boarded our motorcoach for more scenic touring.

Irish Panorama 3

Our last stop was at Gouganne Barra, Ireland’s first National Park. I’ll do a separate report on that area in a week or two.