The Southern Ireland within an Arm’s Reach
Once arrived to Ringaskiddy with an MSC cruise, you will disembark in a former fishing village less than 20km from Cork. Although docked in a modern port of the second largest city in the country, you will be a step from the green heart of Ireland, a nation rich in fabled landscapes where the echoes of epic battles still float on the wind.
In Ringaskiddy, for example, stands the Martello Tower, which was part of the defensive system constructed in the 19th century by the British. This land, in fact, has been conquered first by the Vikings, then by the Normans and finally by the English, before regaining its independence in 1916. Among the excursions offered during an MSC cruise to Northern Europe, the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary Country is a must-see destination. A majestic fortress, it represented a union of the secular and spiritual powers for over one thousand years. This stronghold, known throughout the world, is a well-preserved treasure chest of medieval buildings constructed between the 12th and the 15th centuries: stop for a few instants to admire the praise-worthy reliefs in Carmac’s Chapel, brilliant examples of Roman art; another must-see is the characteristic cross of St Patrick housed in the museum inside the fortress.
In the south of Ireland, another excursion from Ringaskiddy will take you to Lismore Gardens. These magnificent and extremely old gardens are on the grounds of a castle of the same name (residence of the Dukes of Devonshire since 1753, closed to the public), which in turn took its name from Lismore, a historical town located on the banks of the Blackwater River, at the foot of Knockmealdown Mountains.
It consists of 30,000 sqm of magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons… It is said that it was among this explosion of vegetation that the 16th century London poet Edmund Spenser wrote his unfinished poem The Faerie Queen.