Yesterday was the finest day of the year so far and with my blog team of Jean, Elaine and Henry in tow I headed for Charles Fort, Kinsale. Our original visit, 2 months ago, wasn’t a particularly good experience as the wind was very strong and blustery and we felt that we could use Henry for his muscle on the difficult bits. Henry was also handy for taking photographs from the higher up, and inaccessible, vantage points. Overall the fort is very accessible but not really for unaccompanied wheelchair users or mobility impaired people.
It is really gratifying to think that back in the 17th century when the fort was built the architect had such foresight to consider the concept of universal accessibility. It was probably an added bonus that canons and other military hardware could be moved rapidly around the fort using the same ramps. I never expected that the fort would be 100% accessible as it would utterly change the fabric of the site but I was delighted that so much of it was accessible. Is it very cynical of me to think universal accessibility is coming to OPW sites with an income stream faster than sites with no entry fee? This may be seen as a bit of a dig at the OPW by those of you who have read an earlier report concerning The Garden of Remembrance which was only opened to the public in the 1960’s and is not even remotely accessible. The Exhibition building has a ramp to the side and an elevator for access to the 1st floor. There is a coffee shop on site with a disabled accessible toilet nearby.
We then went on to The Spaniard where we had lunch sitting outside in the glorious sunshine. Good food was an added bonus to the good weather. The toilet requires a bit of mobility to use.
After lunch we travelled the short distance into Kinsale and parked. An open air market was taking place and also an Art week with some lovely paintings on display and for sale. We stopped off in Bolands for ice cream cones and they were every bit as good as I remembered them to be from many years ago. While we ate our ice creams we did what people have done in Kinsale for many years, we watched the world go by. Our afternoon jaunt reaffirmed our thoughts that on a fine sunny day there is no place nicer than Ireland. There is a Pay to P toilet on the main quay which is wheel chair accessible but the public toilets close to the tourist information office left a lot to be desired. These toilets were ramped but the plaudits must stop there.
Overall the afternoon was a success and highly recommended.