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Shop Street in Galway, Ireland.

Irish Coast Guard preparing to land

May 28, 2008

Kinsale, Ireland.

On May 10th we returned to Crosshaven Ireland where Onora stood on her keel propped up by timber. The small village of Crosshaven sits at the mouth of Cork Harbor and is lubricated by four pubs including one at the Royal Cork Yacht Club which claims to be the world's oldest. In the village square space normally reserved for a patriot's statue sits a large boulder bearing the inscription that it is the rock that 'the giant threw from the opposite shore'.

Crosshaven has a proud history of building fine yachts including Sir Francis Chichester's Gypsy Mouth and the leather and oak replica of St. Brendan's open boat that sailed across the North Atlantic to prove an Irishman discovered America two centuries before the Vikings.

We had a short list of projects that we left in the hands of Tony Canny, a retired owner of a string of automotive repair shops. Tony was keeping a watch and seeing that the work got done. Tony is a delightful character. He is full of stories, Irish goodwill and is a bachelor. He confessed that his girlfriend gave up after seventeen years of hoping. He is the uncle to every teenager in need of advice and is in constant demand as an escort for widows and divorcees.

We left Tony with four projects to manage. We made a special trip in April to reconfirm everything. Nothing was even started. This was disappointing but not surprising. Our experience is that we have to do all of our maintenance and it is a pleasant surprise when we find local help. When we returned in early May we placed the projects on next year's 'too do' list.

Onora returned to the water on May 12th. The next three days were spent replacing the backstay, bending on sails and getting ready for our first guests, Chris and Peter Gable. Our friends arrived to find Jim stressed about our batteries that would not hold a charge. Our short sail to Kinsale confirmed that they needed replacing. In addition to navigation, communication and lights, our modern sailboat uses electricity to raise the anchor and sails. Only one make and size fits our custom made boat. The English dealer had them in stock but it took two weeks for them to arrive.

With two castles, a couple of dozen restaurants and many pubs, Kinsale is a good place to be stuck. We found that the "White House" and the "Spaniard" had the best music and pints of stout. The Irish take their music seriously and we joined in the songs we had learned in our grade school St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

June 20, 2008

Baltimore, Ireland

We have finally left Kinsale. After many delays blamed on the 'English bastards' the batteries arrived and Onora was ready to sail again. When we paid for dockage we discovered we had to contribute to the harbormaster's new office by way of 'harbour dues'. The local fishermen have christened the place "Castle Phil" after the harbormaster who has managed to wangle a tower that Dublin must envy.

Our feeling of being poorer was offset by a lovely sail to Baltimore where we dropped the anchor as the wind rose too high to head around Mizzen head or even to risk a trip to the village in the dinghy.

June 28, 2008

Galway, Ireland

After six days of heading out into gales we managed to round the south west corner of Ireland at Mizzen Head and run up the west coast to Galway's new marina. It is squeezed in between the scrap metal yard and an apartment block. It was built for next year's Volvo round the world race. I don't think they measured correctly. We take up three spaces. We are quickly tiring of sharing the jetty with the scrap metal dealers. It lacks security. I returned from buying a morning paper to find a drunk untying our boat after already casting an unoccupied vessel adrift.

Galway, however, is not to be missed. Its winding pedestrian streets are filled with vibrant shops, outdoor restaurants and people enjoying life. Our friends, the Powers, have joined us here. There are museums and great walks along the many canals.

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