pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Spooky Happenings at Rock Island, West Cork

We took heart from the fact that they continued loading the lorries onto the ferry, as we waited in the terminal building and sipped the dreadful coffee from the vending machine.  It was touch and go whether the ferry would sail, as a big storm was blowing in, although we had been told that it rarely fails to sail, unlike the regular car ferries. 

Finally car drivers and passengers were called to their cars - all seven of them! We were using the overnight ferry, which transports the commercial vehicles to Dublin, rather than the usual car ferry.   We had used it before and found it a really nice way to travel - no screaming children, clean cabins, simple food, a reasonable night's sleep.   The lorry drivers made great company, their main aim being to have a meal, a drink, and then get their heads down.
Fastnet Lighthouse, opposite Rock Island
Not my image.

The weather was wild.  We had scarcely left the docks before you could feel the force of the wind, it didn't put us off supper though.  We treated ourselves to a couple of large brandies - medicinal purposes - and then retired to the cabin as the call to breakfast would come early the next morning.

What a night that was.  Luckily neither of us has a problem with sea-sickness, unlike lots of other unfortunate folk that night.  The boat rocked and rolled so much that at times I was sure I would be flung from my bunk, belongings rolled around the cabins, and doors would suddenly fly open and then just as suddenly close themselves again as the ship righted.  It was a roller coaster ride and I have to admit that I really enjoyed it.

Not many people made it to breakfast with us the next morning.   When we handed our cabin key to the Purser we asked about the wind and she told us it had been a Force 9 gale!

We disembarked at Dublin and enjoyed a wonderfully easy drive through Dublin in the dark of a winter's morning as we made our way down to West Cork.  One of our very favourite holiday destinations, especially during winter.  George was perfectly fine, but I discovered that I felt as though I was still on the ferry with the floor rising and falling.  It persisted for a couple of days.  Preferable to being seasick though!
Amazing views, very comfortable surroundings!
Borrowed image.

Our destination was Rock Island, near Crookhaven.  We had booked to stay in a wonderful building which used to be a lighthouse keeper's cottage.  This building had had a makeover though.  A huge glass and steel construction was placed on top of the original building, giving breathtakingly beautiful views in three directions, including a wonderful view of Fastnet lighthouse across the sea.  

The whole of the upper floor was one large room, incorporating  a kitchen area.  The sleeping accommodation, bathroom and laundry were downstairs, in the original cottage.

That first night we were tired, we had driven from coast to coast in England to reach the ferry and then driven the length of Ireland.   I awoke to the sound of either a pebble, or a marble, being dropped onto a hard floor and then rolling around.  This went on, and on, very odd.   I fell asleep again and presumably it stopped.  This continued happening but only at night.  It stopped whenever I woke George, to get his opinion on what it could be.  Eventually I got cross and told whatever it was to stop it, as I wanted to sleep.  It stopped!

A few days before the end of our holiday I had to nip to the loo in the middle of the night.  I didn't bother to put any lights on, left George sleeping and made my way to the bathroom which was located at the end of a pretty long hallway.  I had just got into the room when I heard definite, heavy, footsteps coming down the hallway.  I thought it was George and told him that the bathroom was already taken...silence.

When I got back to bed I gave George a poke in the ribs, to tell him that the bathroom was free.  He was not best pleased as he had been fast asleep and hadn't been out of bed....   

For our remaining nights there I would put on every light I could when I took a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.   I also insisted that George should wait outside the door on guard duty, I am a cowardy custard, but there you are.      

There were no more mysterious footsteps, I am happy to say.

Would I recommend the holiday house - absolutely!  It has one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen, constantly changing, never dull, especially on stormy days when the waves crash onto shore.  It is a wonderful place.

I just won't be staying in it again, which really is a shame because the upper floor experience of being almost surrounded by the sparkling sea and watching the seals and crashing waves, sunlight dancing on the water, and the feelings of total relaxation, make it one of the loveliest of places.
Crookhaven Lighthouse, a stunningly beautiful place to stay.
Borrowed image.

The tiny hamlet of Crookhaven is packed out in the holiday season with yachts and sailing boats.  In winter it is a haven of peace and delightful company.  O'Sullivan's Pub serves fabulous chowder and delicious seafood, according to what has been caught.  The landlord and his wife are charming hosts, their greetings are as warm as the fire they keep.
Crookhaven harbour and O'Sullivans Bar
Borrowed image.

West Cork is a marvellous place, the scenery is very beautiful, the people are charming.  The roads (in autumn and winter) are quiet.  We met some wonderful people and were made very welcome.  We holidayed there three times that year, it was that good.  If it were not for the complications of animals, family and grandchildren we would be back there like a shot! 


  1. It sounds like a little bit of heaven on earth. I miss the sea so much.Did you find out if other guests had experienced nocturnal 'happenings'?
    Jane x

  2. Utterly idyllic place to stay and very intriguing with the ghost. I'd love it!

  3. It's so nice to be able to travel along with you through your photos.
    Today, I also read one of your posting from September 2011 titled "Home".

  4. Jane, I wish I had, but we returned home to chaos and family illness, so I pretty much forgot about it for a while.

    Chris, It is a truly wonderful place. Don't let the 'ghost' put you off, after all, it was fairly obedient! From childhood onwards I have been prone to experiencing unexpected, odd happenings like that one.

    Meggie, I am really delighted that you are enjoying the posts. I am so pleased that Jonny encouraged me to start the blog because it is such fun to pop 'across the pond' and back, every day.

  5. It looks so, so nice there! The photos make me want to go! Wonder what was happening with all the spookiness?

  6. of what a beautiful place, I love Ireland. but seriously my stomach is feeling alittle bad just thinking about that ferry ride!Linda

  7. My great-great grandfather was from Cork. When you get back I hope you learn the ghost's name. I wonder if he's a child.

  8. Nilhuanwen, It is a wonderful place, we did a fair bit of walking and the views were marvellous. The spookiness only happened in the old part of the house.

    Linda, The ferry journey was - exhilarating, enjoyable, even. Of course I wouldn't say that if we were bad sailors! Ireland is incredibly beautiful and the people are great.

    Joanne, Have you visited Cork to retrace your family heritage? A lot of the history is very sad, but the Irish people are an amazing lot! I bought a book about the history of Rock Island and old census forms show that the small cottages had very large families living in them..

  9. Your holiday sounds wonderful (even with the ghost).Not sure how I would handle the crossing -- I got nauseous on a whale-watching expedition in a relatively calm bay. Never would have thought considering how much I love boating.

  10. Hi Janet, It was a lovely holiday; it was that combination of meeting interesting, friendly, people and great scenery. You could always fly in to Cork airport, save on potential seasickness, then enjoy the boating around Crookhaven...

  11. You are so matter of fact about the unexplained presence. I'm fascinated. I would love to go there (but if I tell Jerry this story I will never get him within 100 km of the place)!

  12. Hi Mitch, What I didn't tell you in the post was that I also insisted that George should wait outside the bathroom for me, I was so scared, even with the lights on!!

    Don't let that put you off the house, or Crookhaven, it is a great place for holidays.

  13. Did you ask the staff about the ghost? I wonder if other guests had experienced the presence.

  14. Hi Ms Sparrow, I regret to say that I didn't. We only saw the caretaker on the day we arrived, she went away for her holiday during our second week, so we just had to post the key through the door and set the alarm. The moment was lost!


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