Ireland: Day Eight (James Fort)

This morning’s run, I decided to try something different and visit James Fort (Dún Rí Shéamuis) on the other side of the harbor from Charles Fort and the route of my previous days’ runs. Or at least try–I wasn’t sure just how far it was from the town center since I had to do kind of a switchback thing because only one bridge crosses the Bandon River to get over there. It didn’t look far, but I really had no idea. 

I ran along the pier where we’d boarded the harbor cruise a few days ago, and continued along the road toward the bridge. Yay for good sidewalks along this stretch and across the bridge! At the far end I followed the sign for James Fort, still not sure how far I had to go. I reached a community called Castlepark; the next James Fort sign directed me into this narrow alley–footpath really–that eventually led to the fort’s entrance.

It was almost exactly two miles out to the fort itself, which would make for four miles total–more than I ran the last few days, but certainly not problematic, distance-wise. As I reached the fort, I saw a man walking his dog, heading away from me. Well, looking at his phone while his dog walked nearby. The dog said hi, but I’m not sure the man ever saw me. 

Once again I’m amazed how European history is so accessible. No, I couldn’t go inside, but I could walk around the exterior, touch the walls, and traipse all over the grounds. Nothing prevented me from running my hands along a structure built in 1607. In the U.S. we rope off things much newer than this, and put up signs that say Keep Out! Not here. Want to find a remnant of medieval city wall? There one behind some random commercial building in Kinsale. Unmarked, unremarkable. 

Anyway, the fort itself is just ruins now, but the site is well-maintained with paths leading to various viewing spots of Kinsale, the harbor, and Charles Fort. 

I didn’t make it all the way down to the waterfront blockhouse, mostly because I didn’t remember it was there (and couldn’t see it from my vantage point) even though I’d photographed it from the water the other day. D’oh. Still, I’m glad I made it out to both 17th century fortifications on my morning runs around Kinsale. 

Tomorrow we’re off to the Ring of Kerry. Not sure whether any kind of running routes are available, but considering all of the walking and climbing of narrow staircases we’ve been doing, I’m not too worried about maintaining my fitness. Just as long as I offset the food….