Tuesday, April 17, 2012 — Greenock, Scotland

     We had the best day today!  It started out a little rainy and was 50 degrees but it cleared up and only had a little shower later in the day.  We were docked by 7 am, but things didn’t open until 9 am so we had breakfast in the dining room.  We got off just in time to join the Inverclyde Tourist Group’s first free tour at 9:30 to Newark Castle.  ITG is a voluntary group of local residents who take great pleasure in welcoming visitors to the area.  The local tours take about 2 hours.  All they would like is a donation towards the cost of the coach hire.  Their site is www.inverclydetouristgroup.co.uk

     We took the Port Glasgow & Newark Castle Tour which depicted the industrial heritage of the area.  Highlights of the tour included a photo opportunity of the full sized replica of the Comet steamship (the first commercially successful steamboat service in Europe) as well as information bout Port Glasgow Town Hall, Coronation Park and Gourock Ropeworks.  The highlight of the tour was a visit to Newark Castle.  This 15th century castle has a fascinating history involving King James VI of Scotland.  Patrick Maxwell, one time Laird of the castle, has an interesting past.  We entered the bedrooms, dining rooms cellars and grounds of the castle.  It was 3 pounds 20 pence to enter.

     After that tour we tried to get on the Internet and did some shopping.  We signed on for an afternoon Greenock Tour which was an urban tour of the historic town of Greenock.  We visited Greenock Municipal Buildings where we walked in the Grand Corridor, viewed the Council Chambers and District Court and the Provost’s Room where we saw Queen Elizabeth’s signature.  We then went to Lyle Hill and saw the Free French Memorial.  There was a spectacular panorama across the Firth of Clyde from that site.  Our last stop was a visit to one of Greenock’s oldest churches where we heard the story of how the church was built, uprooted and then moved to its current site.  The church contains several examples of fine stained glass windows created by some of the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. 

     Ray went onboard to get us seats for the Greenock Folkloric Show featuring Bagpipes, Highland Dancers and singer.  It was very good.  We misses lunch and were hungry.  We were the only 2 at the dinner table and we asked George if we could get out for the 7 pm show.  We made it with ease.  The show starred the McDonald Brothers.  They sang and played many instruments and were very good.  It was then off to the other end of the ship for a movie, “The Descendants”.  We have an early call in as we have a tour in Dublin tomorrow.

“There is no remedy for love but to love more.”  —  Henry David Thoreau

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