Setting Sail for Cobh, Ireland

This morning we set sail for the southern coast of Ireland in our diesel Ford Focus. Not quite the seaworthy vessel of my ancestors but the metaphor is appropriate given the agenda for the day. We have had a delightful two night stay in Dingle town. It is the first place since Dublin that we have spent more than one night. There are other places where we considered more than one night but this was in fact the first one that we did. The matter was a bit forced by higher source.

You see once again I wasn’t listening to that inner voice of mine that seems to know everything I should want to know. In standard fashion I woke up yesterday morning. I started preparing to shove off and press on at about 11 am to drive the ring of Dingle and then afterwards continue the journey towards Cork City which is about a three hour drive. And then I just promptly hit a wall. The wall was both physical in that I was very tired, and it was also metaphysical in that I just couldn’t fathom taking any more stuff in without pausing. My brain was full, my heart was full and as nice as that might sound it was actually making me feel sick. Christiana said to me that I could take a nap later in the day while she looked around town but I reminded her that if we checked out we would have no room for me to take that nap. And just as I said that I realized that we were meant to stay over another night.

I went down to the little seafood restaurant below us that owns the room we were sleeping in and found it was free for the night. I paid the nice lady another 50 euros and then I went upstairs and I took a nap. Strange thing was I never really fell asleep, but the mere fact of lifting the weight of what I might have to do for the rest of the day off of my metaphysical shoulders allowed me to relax in a way that I didn’t think I could. I set my alarm clock for noon (a previously unthinkable start time for me) and slipped into a fantastic meditation that was half a dream and half a out of body journey and sure enough, I snapped out it exactly two minutes before my alarm would have gone off. It was quite literally the intended path.

When we finally got our day started we did some wonderful shopping in Dingletown. Christiana checked a few more souvenirs off her list and I found a little book that spoke to me called Warriors of Light that was sitting next to a copy of The Secret just in case I might not otherwise have noticed. It will be my next read for certain. We then took the Slea Head Drive around the peninsula after a fantastic lunch at a place called Chowder where obviously I had a bowl of Dingle Bay chowder. Along the drive we found prehistoric ring forts that housed early Irish land dwellers around 5000 BC. They were just sitting in a farmers field completely unmarked. Apparently they remain almost entirely undisturbed because many are superstitious and believe the fairies still live there. Clearly that wasn’t a deterrent foe CJ and I. Also along the path we saw so many beautiful vista views everyone of them worthy of a photo for a postcard, but frankly we’d seen so many of those by now we hardly snapped a shot.

At the end of the loop we found ourselves back in Dingle town with a room for the night that we never had to vacate since we paid the extra night. We sat on the bed for an hour before dinner and without even speaking we just cleared some stuff out of our full little selfs exactly as the higher sources had intended. We had stopped navigating for a day and gotten exactly what we needed. Earlier in the day we had seen a pub down by the water that looked like a good spot for an affordable dinner and later some music. As we left our room the owner of our place asked us where we were eating for the night and we mentioned the pub. She then said, “You might try the Boathouse too they have a nice spot down by the water.” Now keep in mind our owner operates a seafood restaurant of great reputation and without even missing a beat she recommended a competitors restaurant less than a five minute walk away. Having recently had good success with the stop navigating plan we promptly headed off to The Boathouse. As we ordered a bottle of inexpensive wine we asked the server what she liked most on the menu and she said, “We just now two hours ago got our first and most beautiful shipment of Dingle Bay crab claws they are divine…”

Really? So the two of us who make our living almost entirely based on the fame of a crab claw restaurant wind up entirely by accident (NOT!) at a place that just got the first shipment of claws of the new season. There was nothing else we could possibly of ordered, but we did anyways because they had a platter with chowder, mussels, fish and chips, calamari and crab claws with brown bread for 37 euros. That’s roughly the equivalent of $50, or what you would pay for the claws alone at our beloved Joe’s back home. We had been wishing for a affordable meal when we had noticed the pub we first had in mind earlier. Despite our change in venue I once again happily say, “Wish granted!”

So back to that metaphor I spoke of at the start. Our destination for today is the village of Cobh, formerly called Queenstown during British rule, and before that called Cobh anyways. It is most famous for being the last port the Titanic set sail from before it sank on its way to New York. For me it’s famous for being the place of my family heritage. Little wonder that I have such a connection to the sea in that the following sentences are all true:

My father was a member of the US Coast guard in WWII. MY grandfather was a naval aviator in WWI. My great grandfather was born on a ship that sailed from Wiscasset, Maine to Cobh, Ireland. My great-great grandfather (another James Henry Herbert himself) was the captain of a sea vessel called the James & Richard – yes friends that’s actually the name. That vessel sailed to and from Maine to Cobh, Ireland where my great-great grandfather met his wife, the women who would tie me this beautiful island nation at a little town outside of Cobh named Ringaskiddy.

So quite literally we now set sail for Ringaskiddy, County Cork, Irealand. Last time I was there 12 years ago I didn’t find too much. I saw an old cemetery where I may or may not have found some burial sites for the Walsh family. I found a pub where we felt very un-welmomed. I thought at that point maybe it was the locals, but maybe it was me? Maybe I was trying to hard? This morning I set sail on this journey into family history with a bit more trust. I’m certain that whatever I’m supposed to find will be there if I let the current carry me to it. And if your wondering where the photos for this chapter might be I just can’t seem too get them to download so perhaps it’s not meant to be. Here’s to that Ford Focus drifting well to its intend port….

About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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