Ireland -- Land & Sea With Joanne

Wallace's Sailing Adventure on "Arbella"
Mike and Vicki Wallace
Wed 1 Aug 2012 13:30

Dear Family & Friends, Vicki here.  We arrived back to Arbella on Tue. July 31 with Vicki's sister Joanne, who is from Tampa.  Joanne was very motivated to sail with us knowing it would be ocean sailing.  She had just finished a week of sailing lessons in St. Pete to get ready for this trip.  Since she was the only student, she was put through the ringer but she "ace'd" her test at the end.  She also had sailed with us in the Oyster Regatta in the BVi's a few years ago.  Weather remains 55-65 and rainy, but that doesn't dampen our spirits as there is so much to do here on and off the water.  We had dinner at the KYC (Kinsale Yacht Club) and joined lots of kids and their families to celebrate the national Optimist Regatta here.  It was fun to see the whole day of racing on a big screen TV and be present for the awards.  On Wed. Aug 1st we headed to the Cork airport to rent a car.  Since it was Joanne's first trip to Ireland, we had to do some land touring.  At the advice of our new friend and Taxi driver, Colum, we headed to the Ring of Beara.  It has not been developed yet so the rugged beauty is pristine and memorable.  Driving was hair raising and frightful, especially along Healy Pass where the road is one lane, without guard rails and shared with lots of sheep with their cute color painted rear ends.  I had to get in the back seat because I was turning white.  We did stop to chat with a very elderly and engaging sheep herder.  He looked like he had just walked off a movie set.  Mike and I agreed that the Ring of Beara tops Ring of Kerry and even Dingle in some ways.  We stayed at a lovely B&B outside of Kenmare with a view of the Sea.  Next day we checked out the Stone Circle in Kenmare, similar time frame as Stonehenge.  We headed on to Killarney Nat. Park, Muckross House and a B&B in Killarney.  You probably could spend a couple days at Killarney Nat. park.  Next day, to fulfill a wish of Joanne's, we headed to Blarney Castle and grounds and she did kiss the Blarney Stone to "receive the gift of eloquence".  The grounds have been developed since we were there 24 years ago with our kids.  Joanne took a lot of pictures around the Fairy Caves & forest to use for her Kindergarten class.  It had a very mystical quality with knarled trees, huge ferns and foliage and oddly shaped stones.  We then headed back to Cork airport to return the car and head back to Arbella.  Next day we left the dock at 9am.  Wind was 8knts out of the west, on our nose, so we motored sailed.  We had lots of rain and it was cold but this is rugged Ireland.  We never get tired of the scenery or  the cliffs dotted with remnants of castles,  forts and lighthouses.  A pair of porpoises joined us for awhile.  We arrive about 2pm at Castletownshend and took the dinghy in for dinner at our favorite place, Mary Ann's, where we again had a great chat on US politics with the owner, Fergus O'Mahoney.  Sunday we headed to the seaport of "Baltimore".  We were able to put full sails up and had a quiet ride cruising along at 7.7knts.  Joanne worked hard to understand Arbella's rigging and how to put all the sails up.  She was a champ.  By 3:30 we had anchor down and headed to town to enjoy the live music and festivities of their Regatta.  A bonus was touring a refurbished castle that included a Pirate museum.  Next day it was time to head back to Kinsale.  It is always too much to see & do and not enough time. Wind was 10knts out of the west on the stern.  Joanne was able to experience the main full out to the side with preventer holding her.  Seas were choppy and wind picked up causing a significant "over-fall", which means conditions are caused by wind and current directions being opposite.  In other words, the sea looks like a boiling pot.  We arrived back to Kinsale and being a Bankers Holiday, there were lots of outdoor festivities in town.  We sat at the Market Square listening to about 40 Irish men singing Irish songs in an open-mic setting---Great Fun.  Joanne and I then took in the Kinsale Ghost Tour.  It is really a drama played out on the dark back streets of town.  It also was great fun.  Sadly, Joanne had one last day to actually tour the historic and very picturesque town of Kinsale.  She departed the next morning at 5:15 am with our friend, Colum to take her to the Cork airport.  PS.  pictures will follow when Joanne sends us her file.  Vicki dropped our camera in the sea this trip! A big oops!!