Falmouth to Ireland

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Fri 8 Jun 2012 10:04

The Passage to Ireland

We were blessed with an unusual Easterly wind to send us on our way to Kinsale in Ireland. Richard was almost cross that the winds were so favourable for us. Tim my brother reminded us that he had attempted to reach Ireland a few years ago, and in two weeks managed only to make it over to France and back. He offered us the use of his unused Irish pilot book.

We slipped our moorings at 6.00 a.m. and had a South to South East wind with us for almost twelve hours. The wind then backed, as predicted and increased in strength which led to confused seas and a pretty uncomfortable night, motor-sailing into a force 6/7 Westerly. The wind went down a bit in the morning, but backed round to the North West, leaving  Kinsale dead to windward. People were quite keen to get into flatter waters by this time, having had a pretty rough night, so the decision was made to go into Crosshaven, in Cork Harbour instead of trying to make it to Kinsale. We moored at the Royal Cork Yacht Club at 12.00 p.m.

Crosshaven is 12 miles or so away from Cork itself, and is a very quiet village. It is however blessed with three pubs, so later that evening, having been given a very warm welcome by the RCYC, we made our way through the dusk into the apparently deserted village in search of music. We passed two pubs which appeared to be pretty quiet and came to the third which showed some signs of life. We gingerly opened the door, and were greeted with a glare of lights, a blast of sound and a party in full swing. It was a bit like walking into a Guiness advert – ‘Welcome to Ireland’. There was a band consisting of accordion, whistle and guitar blasting out traditional irish music, including a good smattering of hard core republican songs celebrating  Bobby Sands and claiming Rockall for Ireland for ‘Rockall is Irish to the Core’. Everyone in the pub was singing along, and we were encouraged to join in with the rather dubious choruses - never mind our union jack festooned boat and our own heightened royalist sentiments! I’m sure we were the only visitors in the pub, so this was definitely not put on for tourists. We were in fact made very welcome and our first night in Ireland was memorable. We left the pub at 11.30, with the band only half way through their second set. The Irish certainly know how to party.

We learned in the pub that it was possible to take the boat up to Cork itself; there is a new pontoon right in the centre, which is not in any of the cruising guides. As we have managed to moor up right in the centre of a lot of the cities of Europe, we resolved to add Cork to the list, so the next day we motored up and tied up in the centre of the city.

It was a bank holiday and the Cork marathon was taking place, so there was a general party atmosphere. We found a pub that provided an irish stew for  lunch and we then followed a guided route through the town. Cork has the feel of a city that struggles with deprivation and general lack of money. There are a few fine old buildings and a bustling centre with a lot of small independent shops, but around every corner there are boarded up buildings and signs of decay.

We motored back down to Crosshaven in the late afternoon sun, where we had a farewell meal on board. There was no need to go seeking music in local pubs tonight, entertainment was provided by James and Tess who impressively put together a fine Irish programme of jigs and reels using the on-board instruments.








 Sadly James, Tess, Kat and Theo had to leave us the next morning to catch the plane back to Gatwick. The weather had closed in with visibility seriously reduced,a drenching drizzle soaking everything, which eased the pain of departure for them somewhat.