July 14, 2017
Darrynane harbor had an imposing entrance. You come in between some daunting rocks with breaking waves on either side of the boat through a narrow entrance, steer a course of 34 degrees before making a hard 90 degree next to a marker to starboard and come into the totally protected lagoon. The scenery here was very different, it almost resembled the mediterranean. There was more barren rock, the white sandy beaches and turquoise water. We were told to visit this harbor by a local and he thought it the most beautiful in all of Ireland. Well, we haven’t seen much of Ireland yet but this was a winner. We stayed two nights on a visitor mooring and soaked in the natural beauty.
We needed to get to a marina where we could leave Cadence so we could make our way to Dublin for the U2 concert. The closest one in our direction was Lawrence harbor some 30 miles or so away. We left the anchorage of Darrynane and there was not a bit of wind. Once outside the protection of the lagoon the wind quickly built to 20, then 30 knots. We had a west wind up to 35 knots making for a sporting South East sail. With a handkerchief sized headsail and a triple reefed main, we made 8 plus knots to Bere Island and anchored up outside the marina, it was way too windy to try and make it in to a dock that night.
The next morning we into the super friendly little marina. We spent a night, cycled the scarcely inhabited island and next morning caught the local ferry to the small shuttle van to cork, and then the bus to Dublin. Here we met up with my dear high school friend Chris and his wife Erin Hennessey for the weekend and to see our favorite high school band, U2. Chris and I lived on this music during our HS years seeing them several times when they were a young band, to see them in Dublin was pretty special. What can I say, of course we all had a great time. My liver paid dearly and my body took a few days to bounce back.
We made the long journey, bus to bus to ferry back to Bere Island marina. The next morning we left for Bantry Bay and the harbor of Glengariff. Each spot seems to get better. This place was spectacular. Great mountains as the backdrop, very green with special rock formations running through them. Small islands with seals on the rocks, wooded shoreline, sticky holding in mud and little Irish town to boot. We used the bromptons to get ourselves out to some beautiful hikes and I broke out the golf clubs and played the local 9 hole course that overlooked the harbor and Bantry Bay. We spent a few days here sitting out more significant weather. The weather here is all over the place. You get light winds and then gusts to 30 with small rain showers. It rains every day and usually changes every hour or less. The rain should definitely not make you shy away from visiting here. We have had sun close to half or more of the time. And people also warn of the midges….well I think we have seen three or four, so don’t worry about the bugs.
Another boat anchored up next to us in the little cove on our last night, a beautiful ketch from New Zealand. We invited them over for drinks and were treated to some crazy stories. We started talking about how we got a little burnt out our first year as we logged about 10,000 miles. This was Rhode Island to Florida, to Belize and Mexico, back to Florida, across to Bermuda, the Azores, and Portugal, then into the Med making our way to Sardinia. They laughed a bit and told us of their last 9 months. The left the Chilean Fjords and rounded Cape Horn, made their way across the Atlantic to Cape of Good Hope, then back across the Atlantic to Brazil, then again across the Atlantic to the Azores and finally where we met in SW Ireland. Three stories stand out, first was their departure from New Zealand some 25 years ago with their two young sons. They got caught in the Queens storm which is so notorious they made a movie about it, of which they were in several times. They had another where they were in southern Argentina and a storm blew them off anchor while their engine failed and blew them up on the rocks where they stayed until the storm passed, with 80-100 knots of wind. They survived and even had a video of this to prove the tale. The last was a story in Panama where they were held up in the middle of the night at gun point and robbed. The robbers were paid back by being run over in their dinghy while they swam back to shore. Weather they lived or not was a different story.
We decided to follow them for the short hop to our next stop in Bantry Bay which was Adrigole harbor. A real beauty. Ireland’s largest waterfall was in plain view from the harbor and we were surrounded by farm country with some steep mountains as a back drop. I feel like each place we visit is undoubtedly the best this coast will have to offer and each time on arrival I find a new favorite. Adrigole is a lovely spot, not much there but great scenery and a short bike ride away leads to some trail heads for country walks. Jess and I rode and rode until we found access, albeit going across some private farm lands, to get us to the bottom of the waterfall. We enjoyed one more night together with our Kiwi friends and bid adieu the next morning as they headed west and we head east.