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Welcome to the Old Head of Kinsale, here on the south coast of Ireland,
and a relaxing start to a great journey, and some remarkable stories.
They come from all over to play here. Tiger Woods,
me, of course, and someone else
who's had a unique and spectacular view of this course.
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see the world as something small,
like a golf ball, so you could almost reach out and touch it?
Well, American NASA astronaut Dan Tani has done,
and he comes here to play golf.
I could do with Dan's help playing the 12th hole,
because not only did he marry one of the staff, he's photographed
the entire course from space. And he's on the line now,
from NASA HQ in Houston, Texas.
The Old Head is so easy to see, because the Old Head is
such a distinctive shape on the coast of Ireland. You're moving at 17,000 miles an hour.
I have a piece of video to show you what it looks like,
and then once you find the Old Head, you put the big telephoto lens
on the camera and snap as many pictures as possible.
I can only imagine what it's like standing there on the 12th tee,
and I really envy that you get a chance to be there.
'Well, I mean, I envy you.'
To change the subject, what advice would you give
to a complete novice confronted by the apocalyptic horror that is the 12th tee?
The advice on the tee is to stay right, more right than you think, there's an aiming stone there,
and you're so tempted to bite off a bit of the dogleg and go left,
-but there's 200-300 feet of cliffs...
-Painfully aware of them.
-I'm sure there are a couple...
Yeah! ..of million golf balls down there, people who thought
they could bite off more than they can chew. I love that hole -
if I can play a hole over and over, that would certainly be one of them.
Dan, thanks very much for talking to me, it's been a real treat.
-Enjoy your stay there, bye now.
-Thank you, bye-bye.
From the Old Head of Kinsale, we travel past Kinsale itself and on to the great port of Cork.
As Cork Harbour comes into view, one thing strikes you immediately.
It's also one of the finest natural harbours in the world.
For centuries, it's been a haven for shipping.
Even today, with its deepwater channels and proximity to
the main shipping lanes, ships come here from all over the world.
At the harbour's heart lies Cobh.
Over the years, Cobh has played host to many fine ships.
Just recently, the QE2 was moored here on her last voyage,
before being converted into a hotel in Dubai.
Hardly surprising, the public were out in force with their cameras
to capture this historic moment for themselves.
There's barely a news programme these days without so-called amateur footage of something or other,
but it's not an invention of the modern media age.
There's nothing new about amateur coverage of historical events.
Many years ago, on the quayside at Cobh,
a unique set of photographs was taken. The date, 11th April 1912.
Outside the White Star Line's ticket office, an excited crowd gathered,
waiting to board the White Star's latest and greatest liner on her maiden voyage.
That liner was about to become the most famous ship in history, bar none... The Titanic.
She'd already set sail
from Southampton, crossed the Channel to Cherbourg,
and now, her very last port of call before crossing the Atlantic
to New York was Cork. On board the Titanic,
waiting to disembark as she moored out in Cork harbour,
was a young local man, a keen photographer and theology student, Frank Browne.
His uncle and guardian had forked out for Frank to travel on the Titanic 1st class from Southampton to Cork,
but no further.
123 people joined the Titanic at Cobh.
From that now neglected and decaying wooden jetty right over there, they got aboard two tenders
that ferried them out to the liner herself further out in the harbour.
Only seven people disembarked, and a bitterly disappointed Frank Browne was one of them.
On the way to Cork, he'd been befriended by a wealthy American couple
who'd offered to pay the remainder of his passage to New York.
He'd sent a telegraph to his Jesuit superior at the college asking for permission.
The reply he got was terse and unequivocal: "Get off that ship."
Of course, with hindsight, Frank Browne was one of the luckiest people alive.
Ordered off a ship that was about to sail from Cork to an icy Atlantic grave.
The images Frank Browne recorded on his camera as he watched the Titanic leave
instantly made the front page of newspapers worldwide.
Today, they remain a priceless record,
not just of the most famous ship in history,
but also an evocation of the joy,
the sadness, and excitement
of Titanic's passengers as they embarked on their tragic journey.
Cork Harbour may have seen tragedy, but it's also witnessed a lot of Irish fun. For starters,
it's home to the Royal Cork Yacht Club, founded in 1720.
That makes it the oldest yacht club on the planet.
It's moved HQ several times over the centuries,
before anchoring in Cross Haven, on the western side of the harbour.
Now, old, it might be, stuffy, it isn't,
and people flock here to be part of the biennial regatta known the world over as Cork Week.
My name is Eddie English. I run a sailing school in Cobh, on the other side of the harbour.
I've been involved with Cork Week since its inception.
I'm fortunate enough to have done regattas all over the world,
and to me, this is the best one.
My family are from Cobh and my grandfather and father grew up
with the water literally lapping onto the front door,
and since I was very small, I went sailing.
Since the early '90s,
I've sailed with Oyster Catcher, and it's very much a social thing
as much as a sailing thing with our crew.
There's four brothers in the family, and there are three of us full-time involved in sailing as a career,
and our children have continued on that tradition.
My own kids are very small, but they're involved in sailing, so they'll be watching today.
You can go to a football match and there could be 20,000 people watching that game,
but there's less than 30 people out on the pitch. With Cork Week,
you might have 20,000 people involved, but there's going to be 8,000 people
participating and racing,
and everyone stays involved right the way through the week.
As the great yachts cross the finishing line,
they also pass the very first home of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, on Haulbowline Island.
For centuries, Haulbowline was a strategically vital base for the British Royal Navy,
then in 1938, it became - and remains to this day -
the command centre for the Irish Naval Service.
And I've been invited to join them on an exercise
on the flagship patrol vessel the LE Eithne.
First off, I have a bit of a confession to make to Captain Hugh Tully.
I must admit, I didn't realise that Ireland had a navy.
Well, you wouldn't be the first person to say that.
We're a relatively young navy, and I suppose we're sort of
out of sight, out of mind.
A lot of our time is spent way offshore, so it's difficult to have a profile.
What is the remit of the Irish Naval Service?
Our main job is maritime surveillance, so that can be
fishing protection, search and rescue, drug interdiction.
With eight patrol vessels and one of the largest maritime zones in Europe to patrol,
the Irish Navy is a serious proposition.
Sir, if I can interrupt you there one moment, we've just received an intelligence report.
A Maritime Surveillance aircraft has come across a commercial tug,
with the description of an Irish vessel in the Oyster Bank.
'And as 2nd in command, Lieutenant Olan O'Keefe outlines the position of a suspect vessel, something clicks.
'When the Naval Service invited me on an exercise, they didn't mean
'twice round the harbour and back to the Officers' Mess for a swift half.
'Their training looks deadly serious.'
-If you'd like to join me there.
'As we go down to the Operations Room,
'Olan explains we're about to conduct what they call
'a compliant boarding of the suspect tug, and I'm to be part of that boarding team.'
I've a target bearing 040 degrees.
Target bearing is 040 degrees.
From here, we have to positively track the Oyster Bank.
Once he's tracked on our radar, we'll have our weapon sensors directed on the vessel also.
From there, the gunnery officer will recommend to the Captain that the vessel is in our sensors.
So, what capability have you got sat here?
Well, I'm Gunnery Officer on board, so I'm in charge of all the weapons.
This screen is giving me what the digital camera is actually seeing.
I've daylight TV and infrared systems.
And at this point, you're capable of doing anything you want
to that vessel, should the situation arise?
Yes, should it arise and once we have everything confirmed,
the Captain can give the order,
and then we can control the main weapons from here.
target confirmed, target, merchant vessel, Oyster Bank.
Neil, we'll join the Captain and the bridge team, as we close this vessel.
-So, we can make our way straight to the bridge now.
Request close for visual confirmation, over.
'Roger, we're closing down their position now.'
Action stations. Action stations, action stations.
HE BLOWS WHISTLE
Action stations, action stations.
Neil, we've just gone to our highest state of readiness there now,
so the naval boarding team are going to muster in the hangar, don their kit and their weapons.
The Boarding Officer is going to contact the Oyster Bank and ask a series of questions.
-If you'd like to join me now, we'll go down to the hangar.
OK, Neil, we have your kit here.
What is the IMO number of your vessel?
'Roger, my IMO is 172.'
-It's a snug fit.
What is your next port of call?
'My next port of call is Cork.'
Sir, I intend to board your vessel with a Naval boarding team, and my team will be armed.
We will board on the port side,
just far of this, here.
Weapons, the H&K, 9mm pistol.
Code words for today, situation turning hostile is Catfish, and team withdrawing is Rebound.
-And what should I do?
-Just stick with me.
When you see men in balaclavas coming, they must know it's not going to be a good day though!
Did you tell the crew to be visible for your approach?
Yeah, yeah, I tell them on the radio.
-Right. You want them to see you when you arrive?
I would like you to get down on both knees.
-I'm with you.
-Put your hands in the air,
put your hands in the air! Bridge clear!
Can I just get your log book, please?
It's amazing to me that this kind of work is going on day and night,
year round, to try and make sure that the coast is as safe as possible.
Now, this was just an exercise, there's no bullets in their guns,
but there's something about seeing armed men, something about seeing guns being pointed at people.
It's intimidating, and it's frightening, but I suppose it should be.
Just days after I joined the boarding crew, a news report confirms
the importance of the exercise.
'The haul of cocaine discovered on board a yacht off the Cork coast was put on display today.'
Much of it was almost certainly destined for the UK and mainland Europe.
In a hazardous night-time operation, the Irish Naval Service seized over £600 million pounds' worth of cocaine
in a raid on a yacht, the biggest drugs haul in Irish history.
Heading east from Cork, we're brought to a sudden halt
by a massive 100ft
exclamation mark on the coast at Ardmore.
One of Ireland's famous and mysterious round towers.
There's about 60 of these round towers scattered
through the Irish landscape, and over the years,
they've bred all manner of weird and wonderful theories
as to exactly what they're for.
The most popular explanation is that the round towers were bolt-holes
for priests in times of invasion.
But there have been other less plausible theories, everything from druidic observatories to,
more recently, the idea that they concentrate
paramagnetic energy from the stars to help the crops.
The truth is probably a little more prosaic than that,
and there's a big clue in that the little church just down the hill doesn't have a tower of its own.
That's its bell tower, just like an Italian campanile, and they were
built from the 9th-12th centuries to call the faithful to prayer.
But there's supposed to be something even more mysterious
than the round tower here at Ardmore that's really sparked my curiosity,
something that dates back centuries before either the tower or the church were built.
What I want to see is a stone, and on it, an ancient Irish way of writing called Ogham.
Orla Murphy, from Cork University, is an expert in this ancient script.
This is the Ogham stone then.
-So, that's writing.
-This is the earliest Irish writing.
-Is it runes?
-No, it's like the Runic, in that it's incised
in lines, but it's completely different, and the different shapes
obviously mean different things.
So here, on this section,
you have the name, L, and the three scores,
so it's Lugudeccas all the way up,
then unfortunately, it got chopped at some point when it was being used for building.
What's the date of this? When did people actually start writing Ogham?
It dates from about the 5th century,
maybe the 4th, but probably the 5th century, so it's very early.
Why do you think people started writing on stone at this time?
Probably because they met with Christianity,
and with Christianity came writing, and perhaps they'd used stones as memoria before,
but now they were able to translate that,
using this technology of writing, of matching sounds to visual symbols.
And they've come up with something unique, and something that's Irish, and this is it. It's Ogham.
Orla, it's remarkable that you can read this. Can you write it as well?
Yes, we can. We can write it as well.
-Shall we go and try?
Shall we just have a go in the sand then?
Yes. So, what's happening is, we're going to write it either side of a stave,
just like as if we were going to write on the edge of a stone.
-On an upright stone?
-On an upright stone.
Or, it's sometimes on the flat, but just on an edge is important.
here we go.
So, reading from the bottom up, we're going to have a notch for your A...
..two lines for your L...
..one, two, three, four for your I.
Five, actually, for your I.
One, two, three, four for your C...
..and one, two, three, four for your E.
E. I wouldn't want to write
a particularly long word in that, I have to say.
No, you could be there for a long time, you could.
I'm going to have a go myself.
-So, first of all, the line, which is the edge of the stone then.
'So, vowels are notches on the edge of the stone or stave.'
..I. 'And consonants are lines on the sides. I get it!'
-My name in Ogham.
Monumental masonry, graffiti, the idea of logging on to the landscape
and leaving your name for posterity seems ageless.
But it all started here in Ireland, more than 1,600 years ago, with Ogham.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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