Sailing in South West Ireland- County Kerry - 17-21 July 2008

Mon 21 Jul 2008 17:26

County Kerry, Ireland definitely felt more remote and wild than County Cork and there were even less yachts to be seen!

Valencia Island was especially typical of this and as usual we were the only boat on a buoy just outside of Knightstown, the second largest town on Valencia.  This planned village was built in the 19th Century by the Knight of Kerry.  Knightstown was also the European base for the transatlantic cable for almost 90 years up to the mid 1960’s and we could see the old cable dwellings close to the shore .

Nimue moored outside Knightstown, Valentia Island


Transatlantic cable station dwellings

Knightstown with clock tower (red building)

Valencia coastguard station (for those interested sailors)


On walking around Knightstown we encountered an art gallery and opposite met the artist/sculptor – Alan Ryan Hall. I must say; an extremely interesting chap who had an avant-garde approach to his work and much of it displayed opposition to George Bush’s attitude to the world.  


Some of Alan Ryan Hall's sculptures................different!!!!


As always, there is a story to tell about us encountering the Irish humour.  We were both walking back to the quay, when a gentleman from around the back of his van shouted “are you the two sailors”?  As we questioned as to why, he was holding an empty wine bottle and asked if it was ours.  We said that it wasn’t and he replied “oh that’s a shame as the next time I would have rather found it full”.   We then got talking and the gentlemen turned out to be the equivalent to the local mayor, who emptied the bins for free and he also told us about the project he ran to replicate the Altazamuth stone, which was used to measure longtitude.  


The following day, we went up the recently improved buoyed channel to Cahersiveen Marina for a night to water up.  We wondered around the town, but were  very disappointed with the place, perhaps because the rain was non-stop and is was blowing ‘old boots’  One good thing was the Spar Supermarket offered a free delivery service to the marina, so this made up for some of the disappointment.


Back to Knightstown for a night as we motored our dinghy over to O’Neills Seafood Restaurant at Renard Point on the mainland (highly recommended) for our first meal out since our friends had left.  This was definitely worth the wait as the food was superb, especially the crab.


Dingle was a further 15 north up the coast – this adding to our mileage back to Spain, but it was always in our plan to make Dingle, our final destination before heading South.  We had a fantastic sail across Dingle Bay, although we didn’t manage to see Fungi, the famous Dingle Dolphin.  Apparently Fungi has brought the tourists into Dingle and it’s thriving because of him.   


Dramatic coastline prior to entering Dingle harbour


Going up dredged channel to Dingle Marina

Dingle High Street


We spent two nights in the marina and stocked up well with fuel and water.  We also met a lovely Irish couple from Cork on the boat next door and he advised that the ex- Irish Prime Minister has put 6 million Euros into Dingle to make it the place it is now. I can understand why he thought that it was a bit strange that a salaried man (albeit the ex-prime minister) could afford to invest such large sums of money?


With our minds very much set on heading south and to the warmer weather, we spent a good deal of time interrogating weather patterns and GRIB files and we finally saw a weather window to leave on Tuesday 22 July.


Next instalment, crossing from Dingle to La Coruna.