Week 3 - From the Luck of the Irish sea to the bagpipes of Scotland Saturday 8th - Friday 14th June  

060813 2 The Royal Irish Yacht Club where we had our first Guiness

A week ago today we found ourselves taking up a berth in Dun Laoghaire (Pronunced of course Don Learie) just 12 miles south of Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. Despite the slip up of the incorrect courtesy flag and trying to pay for the bill in pounds rather than euro the local members of the Royal Irish Yacht club were incredibly hospitable and welcoming. We were invited in and before we knew it had two glasses of Guinness in our hand to celebrate our first landing in Ireland.

060813 10 Onto the Guinness Factory

The marina was well located for the train service to Dublin which we departed early on the following morning to take in the sights offered by the Hop On Hop Off Bus. We all found Dublin to be a nice city but one with an industrial feel and definitely not architecturally inspiring. As you must whilst in Dublin we toured the Guinness Brewery its far more commercial and tourist oriented than other distillery and breweries that we had previously visited but the site and location are worth the visit. The highlight for the day was simply the return to the Marina where we were again shown the local hospitality by the members of the Royal Irish Yacht Club joining the afternoon post race bbq dinner overlooking the yachts and local seals. Great people great place. 

060913 5 Portaferry

Our next stop was in Northern Ireland in Strangford Lough - the name apparently meaning strong fiord and relates to the strength of the current at the mouth of the Lough. We unfortunately arrived with maximum flow against us which at one stage saw us drop to just 1.8knots as we had nearly 7knots against us. The slow trip up the mouth of the Lough was certainly worth the anchorage as the surrounding fields were dotted with some beautiful old buildings and ruins. It was a special night for celebration as Kirsten on Islay was celebrating her birthday, Marijn and Tim had sailed with us on Katherine during the day and whilst Tim was assisting Andrew with the sails Marijn was working diligently in the galley whipping up a tea bread for desert and an antipasti  platter for starters.

061113 1 Sailing to Islay from Bangkor

With just an overnight stop in Bangkor at the entrance to the Belfast Lough we were on our way out of Ireland and onto the Scottish Isle of Islay (Eye-La). Unfortunately on this day the weather gods decided to remind us what real weather is like and we found ourselves down to less than 80meters visibility coming in to Islay and having to rely solely on radar. The sound of the approaching ferry blasting its horn in the gloom of the fog made us very appreciative of both our radar and our AIS and we were very happy when we had a lot of chain down and were secured in a very rolly bay. When the cloud and rain finally lifted the following morning we were delighted to see a beautiful shoreline just where it was meant to be. 

We could not come to Islay with out of course going to a whiskey distillery for which the island is famous. Berend selected Lagavulin distillery that has been in operation since 1816 and who today still use the same whiskey safe for every drop that is produced. Even the mill that crushed the barley was built in 1963 - a good year!

061313 7 Lunga House

Unfortunately by mid afternoon we were on the move again this time north to a beautiful marina called Carobh (Creuve). Here we met Sara who happened to be the daughter of the current Lord of Lunga House - a beautiful seaside castle that was built back in the 14th century. Sara kindly invited us in to look around the castle and before long she had us in awe of the books on the bookshelves some dating back to 1920, the chests that had old 1900 dresses just left by guests in the trunks, the attic with moth chewed soldier uniforms from around 1750 but what really was hard to comprehend was a trunk with documents including a book with the date of July 14 !808. The house was literally a living museum and we all agreed that we could have lost a month delving amongst the documents, books, chests and researching the history of the people in the paintings. 

061314 1 Just a couple of lads I found

So now we are in Oban where we have literally heard the sound of bagpipes in the streets and seen gentleman in their kilts. Here if you get measured for a kilt you get your jacket for free.

Islay has sailed out today to head up the Caledonian canal - as we have a slight height issue we will sail the inner Hebrides and we will all meet again in The Orkneys hopefully in time for Summer Solstice on the 21st June.

So to the tune of bagpipes we will sail on north to the Orkney Islands. 

(Click for more photos)

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain