Castletownshend – an English village in Ireland

To pontoon and ashore again in Baltimore. Forecast 6 or 7 south west. Nervous. Don’t want more heavy swells and wind for a while. But outside harbour, which we left early afternoon, was sun and a force 4 all the way to Castletownshend, a pretty wooded estuary and village, reminiscent of Cornwall, with an English-influenced history to it. Picked up buoy on wooded bend of the river, beautifully quiet and sheltered, near trees. Ashore by dingy to Mary Ann’s, a gourmet pub, rather expensive, though nice. There was a children’s band marching up and down in the evening, part of the regatta celebrations.  A very smart holiday village.

Passage notes: 14 miles, 3 hours, max SW 4 (forecast 6-7), min SW 3, long 2 metre swell, sunny and good visibility

Chris as we get ready to leave for dinner ashore
Chris as we get ready to leave for dinner ashore

Continue reading “Castletownshend – an English village in Ireland”

Swiss National Day!

Swiss National Day fondue dinner

Jean-Jacques has offered fondue and white wine for supper because it is Swiss National Day. So lots of discussion over breakfast of how to construct a table-top heater for the fondue without setting the cabin alight! Continue reading “Swiss National Day!”

To Baltimore by the Postman’s Entrance

Left Schull as the rain closed in and the southerly wind built up, aiming for the inside passage to Baltimore, which John said was called the Postman’s Entrance.

Leaving Schull it was worse outside than it looks from this picture.
Leaving Schull it was worse outside than it looks from this picture.

There are two ways to reach it, one outside the islands in the bay and the other more tortuous rote on the inside. Continue reading “To Baltimore by the Postman’s Entrance”

To Schull past the Skellig monastery

As we left Dingle, its celebrated Dolphin came out to play, not with us but with some canoeists near the channel out. But we had a good look as Fungie surged past – a Dolphin on the large side, like a small whale, who has been living at Dingle since 1983.

Continue reading “To Schull past the Skellig monastery”



Chores, various adjustments and repairs, shopping, laundry, fuel – one of those days. Welcomed our third crew member, Jean-Jacques Botteron, who flew from Switzerland to Dublin and got a bus to Tralee and another one to Dingle. Took him to a very superior fish and chip shop, which had fresh mussel chowder as a starter and then lightly battered fish.

Dingle is very pretty, full of tourists, a suprising proportion of them American, probably on the famous Ring of Kerry tour. Looks like a nice place for a family holiday. More than 50 pubs for desperate parents! Lovely warm day.

Midnight sail to Dingle

We decided to leave Inishmore at midnight to make sure of getting through the inside channel at the Blaskett Islands before the tide turned, and also to beat a forecast veer in the wind from south east to south west, which would be almost ahead. It meant running the gauntlet of the lobster pot buoys and ropes, because we could not see them in the swell, even with the bright moonlight. But none of them caught us, though we spent the hours of darkness in fear of the shudder, swish and gurgle that meant we had caught one. The wind was light, so we motorsailed to make sure we did not miss that tide.

Mountains of Kerry
Mountains of Kerry

Continue reading “Midnight sail to Dingle”

Inishmore and Dun Aengus

Ashore for breakfast, left dinghy on beach, and rented bikes from the shop a few yards away. Cycled to the extraordinary pre-Christian fort of Dun Aengus through delightful lanes and by tiny fields with a few cows in each, quite unlike the rocky view of the island from a distance. Ponies and traps trotted by carrying tourists.

Rapid transit
Rapid transit

Continue reading “Inishmore and Dun Aengus”

To the Aran Islands – Inishmore

First, a detour to Clifden to see the Connemara mainland at least briefly, though we had a long view of the hills all day at sea. Quite a swell running as we followed a complicated course through a series of reefs and small islands, with waves crashing unnervingly near.

Clifden Catle
Clifden Catle

Clifden has a peaceful little estuary and river, not the wild Connemara of legend, Continue reading “To the Aran Islands – Inishmore”


A lovely sunny day, though you wouldn’t know it from the forecast. The bad weather seemed to hang  over the Mayo and Connemara mainland, where there were great storm clouds. Motorsailed in light winds past the 2000 foot cliffs of Achill Island, with Clare Island in the distance, to Inishboffin.

Achill Island from the south.
Achill Island from the south.

Continue reading “Inishboffin”

Blacksod Bay and Achill Island

The cliffs of Achill Island
The cliffs of Achill Island

Heavy rain – no mood to get soaked unnecessarily – so rested at anchor until 1600, when it cleared. Headed for the little bay of Frenchport but then heard coastguard saying wind might go westerly, in which case it would be very exposed, so continued to Blacksod Bay, past a series of once inhabited islands (and also past the Eagle Rock, where the lighthouse used to be damaged regularly by storms). Continue reading “Blacksod Bay and Achill Island”

Stormy weather on way to Broad Haven

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Stag Rocks, on passage to Broad Haven

We refuelled from a road tanker and left mid-morning from Killybegs for Broad Haven, 60 miles away,  relieved to get away from the noisy, smelly diesel generator charging the batteries of the trawler beside us. Continue reading “Stormy weather on way to Broad Haven”

Bloody Foreland, Aranmore, Church Pool

Brilliant, fast beam reach from Tory past Bloody Foreland, which is as undramatic as the name is gory (though it in fact refers to the colour of the rocks, not some great battle). Took inside passage round the islands, including Gola, which is being recolonised with holiday homes, by descendants of the original inhabitants.

Restored cottages on Gola
Restored cottages on Gola

So interested in the scenery that we snagged a lobster pot line, luckily on the keel, from which it pulled off without catching rudder or propellor. Continue reading “Bloody Foreland, Aranmore, Church Pool”

The Rodgers of Tory Island

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Hard to believe, from a distance, that 170 people live on Tory Island.

25 miles to Tory, Ireland’s remotest inhabited island, which has an unaccountably large number of Rodgers living there. I read that in an on-line search for possible Rodgers ancestry in Ireland, though the family evidence is for connections to County Cork, not Donegal. Continue reading “The Rodgers of Tory Island”