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I was dubious driving into Castletownsend (scratch that – I was petrified).  A 30 year old van with no power steering doesn’t bode well for steep inclines that end at piers.  I needn’t have worried – a huge tree entirely blocks the street such that you would have to mount the kerb to get around it -Lily would never have made it past that tree.  A nice flat side street suited her disposition far better so we parked up to explore the rest of the village by foot.

You would be forgiven for thinking this is another country – both from the extraordinarily beautiful Mediterranean like seas and the predominantly British accents that abound.  Children hurtled past us and disappeared into the tree topped rockface of a slightly hidden cove like characters in an Enid Blyton adventure – wild, free and utterly committed to their cause.

Beautiful butterfly closeup at Castletownsend

Butterflies danced on Montbretia entirely apathetic to our arrival unlike the skittish kinds encountered elsewhere.  Organic apples adorn an old sash window cill entrusting passersby to to pay .50 cent on an honor based system.  We couldn’t pass Mary’s bar without considering a drink and the menu was so mouthwatering that it nearly enticed himself to try a bit of fish for the first time in years – fortunately the price point was out of our range and that put paid to the temptation.  It was lunch time and we needed to find a spot to picnic.

Picnic in the Forest

A forest picnic near Union Hall in Cork

The sign said there was a picnic area but the road suggested that we might end up in a quarry – or worse – facing another dreaded low barrier and having to reverse back the entire road.  Success!  A forest park area with a bench where we could park Lily and eat our lunch under the blue skies surrounded by nature – you would be surprised how difficult such a spot is to find in Ireland for campervan folk.

The menu was Fusion and Street’s vegetable soup with puy lentils, cumin and ginger and it was delicious – vegetarian, gluten free and a really interesting flavor combination that left us wanting more.  Why can’t more soups be like this instead of the standard fayre of lack luster Tomato & basil or Vegetable Soup.  After cleaning up we went for one more adventure drive around Union Hall and Glandore before continuing back on the Wild Atlantic Way towards the wonderful town of Schull…

Castletownsend and Union Hall Gallery


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