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Moving memories of special times, past and present

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But your fellow pilgrims back then were the salt of the Irish earth, and there was also great craic over the black tea and toast which kept you alive during your suffering. Yes, I will go back soon.

Sandy is still singing in the background (he sounds like brother Mickey sings nowadays), and I have also to tell ye that Kinsale is really special for a visit.

It is a beautiful upmarket town and port, of course, a gourmet paradise as well, beautiful beaches populated by hardy kite-surfers.  There is a strong Spanish influence, mainly from the galleons of history that foundered in the offshore waters.

There is a natural bias, I suppose, towards fishpots rather than fleshpots in the bistros and bars that we sampled, and they were all excellent.

I especially enjoyed the atmosphere of one establishment called the Spaniard where the waitress was not just highly efficient but also extremely and sharply witty.

Jason's house was close to the beach and, in another index to the difference between the coastal offerings of south and west I was pleased to see that you could purchase splendid crepes from one of the mobile stands rather than just the routine burgers and chips.

A nice touch that, and the vendor was doing a roaring trade as the bright kites illuminated the skies over the waves below.

Cathal is anxious to immerse himself in a session somewhere among the scores of sessions that stretch all the way through every pub in town during Willie Week.

Promising to come back with brother Sean before the end of the week, we reluctantly part and I make my way home through the wonderland that is the west in summer.

Somewhere near Connolly village, a long lovely vixen flows across the road in front of me, pure poetry in motion, another icon of the special time that is in it. Long may it endure.

And Sandy begins to sing again.

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