Irish reflections

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cpedw
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Irish reflections

Postby cpedw » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:55 am

We have returned after our circumnavigation of Ireland so it's time to share a few observations with bluemomenters.

Rubbish is a problem in many parts of Ireland. We had been warned (thanks Shard) about this before we went so we were watching out for disposal places. They are very few indeed. I think it's to encourage recycling but in several parts we couldn't locate any waste disposal at all apart from tourist litter bins, some with seriously threatening notices about the penalties for improper use. One strategy we used quite successfully was to bag rubbish up small and pop it surreptitiously in the bins. A few places did make good provision for yotties, such as Dingle and Crosshaven, but in other places there didn't seem to be anything at all for cruising folk.

In pubs, traditional music means a bloke with a guitar (occasionally 2 of each), singing Wild Rover, Leaving of Liverpool and Daydream Believer. Sometimes competently, sometimes not. Occasionally saw an accordion or a banjo but the only fiddles we saw were nailed to the wall of a pub in Dingle, in which no music was being played at all! Now back in Edinburgh, I'm relieved to find Sandy Bell's is continuing its old ways.

Fresh food from supermarkets and village grocers was generally not up to much. We got some excellent fresh veg from farmers' markets in a couple of places though. In general, meat from butchers was of high quality too.

After all that criticism, I should mention that we enjoyed the trip. People we met were fantastic. The Irish have a terrific "no problem" attitude to getting problems sorted. It's different from "can do" in a very de-stressing way.

Although our timetable was very relaxed compared to many (9 weeks at sea; 3 weeks down the east to Cork, home for 2 weeks for a wedding then 6 weeks up the west), we were getting a bit homesick by the time we left Roundstone. Still, we plan to return to the west coast for further explorations.

Derek

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Re: Irish reflections

Postby Clyde_Wanderer » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:43 pm

Nice to hear you had a good time and enjoyed your cruise around the Emerald isle.
Did you get near Sligo bay and Innishmurray island?
C_W

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cpedw
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Re: Irish reflections

Postby cpedw » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:32 am

Clyde_Wanderer wrote:Did you get near Sligo bay and Innishmurray island?
C_W


No, we took a shortcut direct from Broadhaven to Killybegs across the mouth of Donegal Bay. We were in a rush to get home; it's near enough to be available for a return trip without needing to go all the way round again.

Killybegs was a great place to visit. Local yotties enthusiastically helped us to refuel from the petrol station, and get water from one of the fishing quays. They also called up friends at Teelim, our next port, to make sure we were properly looked after there.

Killybegs has several new visitor moorings and there are big plans for pontoons in the near future.

Derek

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Re: Irish reflections - ps

Postby cpedw » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:07 pm

I just remembered another surprise. I couldn't buy UHT milk anywhere in Eire. Not that I like the stuff but I prefer it to black coffee and neat cornflakes. Marvel or similar powder was available but I prefer black coffee and dry cornflakes to that.

Derek

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Re: Irish reflections

Postby Telo » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:43 pm

To be honest, Derek, on the music front, I think you may have just been unlucky about timing or position. It is there, but you either need to be very lucky, or you have to plan it in the coastal areas. I agree about Dingle; nice place but, when we were there, it had become like a theme town for tourists - you could walk through the place simultaneously listening to different verses of the Wild Rover from about half a dozen pubs. That side of it was a bit of a personal disappointment; in many respects NW Scotland and the islands have a lot more going for them musically these days, having enjoyed the benefit of the Fèis movement.

On the other other hand we've sat in and had great sessions while holidaying in Sneem in Kerry, and Glen in Donegal - but rarely when sailing. The exceptions were the crew off an Irish yacht in Glandore, and a terrific pub about a couple of miles up the road from the harbour in Teelin, Donegal.

Thanks for the UHT tip - we'd either not twigged that, or had forgotten about it.

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Oh, and another thing about Ireland......

Postby Telo » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:02 pm

It's six years since we went around Ireland, but we were very very impressed by the large number of sailing clubs who were giving tuition to huge numbers young people, especially down the east coast (hardly surprising really, being the more populous side). Could be wrong, but I suspect we don't have as great a commitment to that aspect in Scotland and the UK.

I was reminded of that when reading the Biscay thread and looking at Nick's picture taken at Howth;

Image

The other thing is sea rowing, which seems to be becoming more popular in Scotland; again we saw that a few times in Ireland, mainly on the east coast.

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Re: Irish reflections

Postby Arghiro » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:02 pm

Celtic Gigs are very popular in Wales too. My onw club (Royal Welsh) was hosting a race today - in fact I almost gate crashed the start when I returned to port at HW today.

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Re: Irish reflections

Postby cpedw » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:32 am

Yes, we saw a lot of rowing practice going on in almost every harbour and inhabited anchorage where we stopped.

A highlight was to happen upon Roundstone regatta. The village is very attractive itself, reminiscent vaguely of Tobermory, but we saw two days of rowing races in 2 types of boats (curraghs and nemogs I think) with any number of oarspeople up to 4.

When we arrived, we managed to anchor on the start line but we were politely invited to reposition. It's often the way that there's a good reason why that handy-looking anchoring spot is free...

There was also a near-windless Galway hooker race -quite a sight - with 7 or 8 participants, not all strictly hookers but I forget the detailed terminology for the various boats of different sizes and rigs. We watched them adjusting ballast (unloading concrete kerbstones) before the start.

Derek

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Re: Irish reflections

Postby Declan » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:48 pm

I hope those who have made the effort to venture to Ireland enjoyed their trips. As long time lurker here perhaps you may like my 2 cent worth of info on Ireland especially Galway and Mayo my home base. Any other questions please ask away.

Rubbish it is a problem because businesses and householders all have to pay for disposal (we don’t have rates or poll tax) We sometimes ask people to take our rubbish and offer to pay (usually refused) but do separate recyclables inc. tetra packs, cans plastic cardboard paper etc. as this costs less to take away. Other than that ‘shop smart’ and don’t buy stuff with lots of packaging.

Not every Irish person plays the fiddle and is into traditional music, in fact in rural areas country music is often more popular than trad. But the trick is to ask! If you see guys with an instrument on the street stop him and ask where a good seisiun is even if he is the guy playing for tourists he will know where the real stuff is. Be warned however this almost always happens late don’t turn up at 8pm. 11pm would be more like it. Best spot in our area is Inishbofin Island and Inishturk but not such a good anchorage.

Visitor’s moorings are very much hit and miss Big cylindrical buoys usually yellow are for visitors some chargeable, some not, often of unknown maintenance. Again ask anyone you can find or ring the local sailing club. Harbour master, pub most like chatting anyway. I suggest if you hook up to one give it a dam good pull before settling down for the night.

We are constantly asked by UK boats about lifejackets. It is the law in RoI wearing one is almost universally adhered to. The Coastguard, civil defence or RNLI may gently point this out to you if they come into contact with you minus one, but nobody is going to fine you or sling you in jail for not wearing one especially if you are lucky to be basking in sunshine. Most look at it as setting an example to others

The west coast is challenging with big Atlantic waves and a wee bit lonely but the coastguard has full coverage and their weather forecasts are broadcast every 3 hours on varying VHF channels (announced on 16) very accurate for the next 24 hours plus an outlook for 48 you are rarely far from shelter in spectacular scenery. Except the Clare coast, Arran Islands to river Shannon and Donegal bay where you can run to Sligo if it all gets too much.

Most of the west coast is not really set up for yoties which is its charm and downfall quite a lot of good anchorages are far from even a local shop. If you walk into a hotel and ask for a shower it will be treated like some bloke walking in off the street asking for a shower. But as Derek said there is a can ‘and will do if possible’ attitude, it’s all about chatting. Talk to the fishermen, or the bloke that just happens to be on the pier, look up the local sailing club most have phone numbers if un-attended use them! And get the local info about shops, moorings, anchorages music pubs etc.

Good sailing
Hope to make it to Scotland next summer.

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Re: Irish reflections

Postby ubergeekian » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:24 am

Declan wrote:We are constantly asked by UK boats about lifejackets. It is the law in RoI wearing one is almost universally adhered to.


I thought it was only compulsory on boats under 7m long and for those under 16. Has that changed since the law came in?

Many thanks for the rest of the information.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity - Hanlon's Razor
But don't rule out malice - First Corollary to Hanlon's Razor

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Re: Irish reflections

Postby Declan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:26 pm

I thought it was only compulsory on boats under 7m long and for those under 16.

You are right, I just looked it up and I dont think it has changed.
However it is rare to see anyone on a plesure boats of any size without life jackets being worn theses days.
I think we will continue to wear ours on our 9m boat as it a bit feels like driving a car without a seatbelt when you realise you forget to put it on.

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cpedw
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Re: Irish reflections

Postby cpedw » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:30 pm

Declan,
Some useful information. We should have asked you before we went!

You reminded me of another challenge - we found it very difficult to figure what channel to use to listen to the forecasts. The announcements on channel 16 were sometimes spoken very quickly and with quite an accent; deciphering the channel numbers and working out which station was close was challenging at times. Careful study of the almanac revealed all the necessary information if you planned ahead though.

And the forecasts were good when you got the right channel; we had no trouble understanding the weather details.

Derek

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Re: Irish reflections

Postby Clyde_Wanderer » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:35 pm

One place I would love to visit if I ever sail to the west coast is Inishmurry
island in Sligo bay.
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Inishm ... 24&bih=610
Used to look out at it from my Grans house and wish I could get out there, that was long before I ever sailed or had a boat.
Incidently, Declan have you or any of you peeps ever read "The IslandMan" by Tomas O Crohan? a great account of life on the Great Blasket in the late 1800 early 1900s.
Talking of traditional music, I was in Drumshanbo Leitrim in july during a school of music (Joe Mooney) week, there was 13 musicians playing a session in the front bar and 30 teenagers playing a session in the rear lounge of the same pub at the same time, it was magical.
C_W

PS did you get some good pics Derek, would be good to see some.


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