Lisfannon Beach

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    • Day135

      Day 135: Causeway Coast

      June 30, 2017 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

      Out of Belfast and back on the road again. Slightly late getting on the road as Belfast's confusing streets did another number on us, but we soon made it out of the northern suburbs and onto the coast. Today's plan was to drive around the north-eastern coast of Northern Ireland, visiting a few famous spots along the way, then eventually crossing into the Republic of Ireland near Londonderry/Derry and on to our accommodation nearby.

      So we headed north for a couple of hours, stopping here and there as we fancied. At the first stop, a cute little harbour, we found an information board showing that a Game of Thrones scene featuring Arya had been filmed on the harbour steps in front of us! Unexpected bonus. Stopped at a couple of other points as well, with nice views or interesting towns. Also stopped at one point in a narrow road as there had been a rockfall from a cliff above! Cleared the rocks with the help of a couple of other drivers and set off again.

      First main stop was the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, which is (obviously) a rope bridge out to a small fishing island. It spans about 20 metres, 100 feet above churning waters, with dramatic cliffs and buffeting winds thrown in for good measure. We bought our tickets and walked down to find a gorgeous spot, and the beauty was probably even added to slightly by the drizzle and wind.

      I crossed the bridge no problems, though Shandos was pretty scared and held on very tightly. Spent some time exploring the small island while taking photos, then headed back across the bridge up to the car park.

      Although our next stop was to be the Giant's Causeway, since we'd stopped more than we were expecting during the day, and had taken far longer than anticipated at the rope bridge, we decided to do lunch first since it was by now after 2pm. We drove over to the town of Bushmills (home to a famous Irish whiskey distillery of the same name), and had lunch at the inn there. Very tasty food, though a little pricey.

      So it was that after doubling-back a bit, we didn't arrive at the Giant's Causeway until nearly 4pm. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site so I had to do a video, but of course managed to forget my microphone in the car! Hopefully the speakerphone audio works OK. We'd read online that although the site itself is free, parking isn't, and they charge you per person rather than per car. And it's 10.50 per head, which is kind of outrageous. So we parked a few hundred metres up the road, walked down through the carpark, dodged the visitors centre and headed down to the site itself, all free of charge.

      The Causeway itself is very impressive. It's a collection of thousands of basalt rock columns of varying heights, formed when a lava flow from 40-60 million years ago cooled and dried (think of the way mud cracks into regular shapes when it dries and you get the picture). Although the local explanation is that a giant named Finn McCool wanted to fight a Scottish giant, and so to go and confront his rival he started building a causeway across the Irish Sea. I think I know which one I prefer!

      Anyway it was a very impressive site, though there were hordes of tourists around. I don't begrudge anyone being there because they aren't doing anything I'm not doing, but it's hard to see the site existing in its current form for a whole lot longer. Although basalt is pretty hardy as rocks go, you can see where they're being worn and smoothed out by gaudy sneakers and hiking boots all day. We'd hoped that by arriving a bit later in the day it wouldn't be crowded, but no such luck!

      Ended up getting the shuttle bus for the mile or so back to the visitor's centre, where we got chatting to an older couple from Camden. They struck up a conversation because they patted Schnitzel, then told us they have a dachshund at home (amongst other dogs). Such a small world sometimes!

      Back in the car where we drove for another 30 minutes to our final stop for the day - the Dark Glades! This is a narrow country lane edged by twin rows of enormous beech trees planted in the 19th century, a very beautiful sight. They're now suddenly famous because a couple of scenes from GoT were filmed there (scenes from the Kingsroad in seasons 1 and 2). We managed some good timing here, as a tour bus just left as we arrived, and another one pulled up as we were leaving. Strange that a narrow lane with tall trees now attracts busloads of people from across the world, but that's mass tourism for you.

      Finally to the car, where we drove the last couple of hours westward now, eventually crossing the border into the Republic of Ireland. Country #6 for this trip! A little more challenging to drive since all of the speed limit signs are now in KPH, whereas my speedo is in MPH (albeit with KPH in small numbers in the centre). Found our way to the farmhouse that is our accommodation for the night, where we're staying with a fairly young couple. Had a good chat with them before they headed out to the movies for the evening, while we enjoyed our supermarket pizza and played with laptops!
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      Crossing the rope bridge


      Don't look down? Pfft


      It's this wide!

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    • Day4

      Rathmullan House

      May 10, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      Unsere Übernachtung in einem echten irischem Herrenhaus ist heute das Rathmullan House und ein echter Hingucker. Es ist von Wäldern umgeben und befindet sich nur wenige Schritte vom Sandstrand am Ufer des Lough Swilly entfernt.Read more

    • Day49

      Eureka North, Skipper South.

      July 11, 2021 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      Drove up to the city hall in Cork and got my second Covid vaccination.
      Job done and straight back to Cobh.
      Early to bed and a very early start tomorrow.

      The photo shows what can happen if you don't pay attention when departing the marina.
      This was a local boat, so no excuses. They refloated on the next tide without any problem but had to endure the embarrassment of being in full view of everyone for the afternoon.
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    • Day46

      Lough Swilly

      July 8, 2021 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      I woke to a lovely morning, the second one in a row. Things were looking up.

      I was having my breakfast in the sun when I saw Jim & Angela were ready to go.
      I was really chilled out and the coffee was better than good so I decided not to rush the breakfast and I helped them to cast off while I continued with my coffee.

      I left at 09.30 and began sailing with the wind behind me before going onto a broad reach. The wind was light and after about an hour I dropped the sails and began motoring before trying again later but eventually had to give up.
      One problem with sailing is that as the good weather arrives, the wind usually disappears in the opposite direction.
      I could see ‘Second Chance’ a few miles ahead of me on the plotter thanks to the AIS but I never caught up with them.

      I rounded Fahad Head and entered Lough Swilly at 14.45.
      ‘Second Chance’ was anchored off Portsalon beach on the west side of the lough and having called them up on the VHF they came out to join me but it turned out that I had interrupted Jim’s afternoon nap!

      Well, the British were right, you could hide a whole fleet in the lough. I wasn’t prepared for the size of it. While it’s narrower than Bantry Bay, its navigable waters are almost as long.

      I continued motoring slowly up the lough enjoying the scenery in the sunshine followed by ‘Second Chance’.
      We passed the town of Buncrana and there was a beach stretching the whole way to Fahan a few miles south of the town.
      When we got to the creek approaching Fahan Marina it became very shallow but with a clear sandy bottom.
      Angela was not impressed and I’m sure was wishing we waited a bit longer for the tide to rise a bit more but we crawled in and were met by Gary who helps on the marina and who took our lines.
      By 17.30 we had tied up at this lovely quite marina and got together on ‘Second Chance’ to chill out while we soaked in the sun before it went down and left a lovely sunset.
      We had dinner soon after and ate in the cockpit as we watched the comings and goings.
      I returned to 'Eureka' about 21.00 but with all the heat and fresh air I didn't keep my eyes open for too long.

      One thing I found out today was that with 0.00m on the echo sounder, I am still afloat, but not by much.
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    • Day48

      Didn't think I'd be home so soon.

      July 10, 2021 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      Up at dawn and Gary drove me into Buncrana at 07.00.
      We had to change buses at Letterkenny and as we travelled I noticed we had crossed the boarder and were heading for Derry.
      I was getting worried that the driver didn't know his way to Dublin but soon he was heading in the right general direction and I enjoy looking out the window and taking in the sights.
      I got off at Dublin Airport and waited for the Aircoach that would take me the rest of the way to Cork.
      Unfortunally I couldn't enter the terminal as it was passengers and workers only but the weather was lovely so I sat outside in the sun
      Maeve picked me up in Cork and I got to Cobh at 16.30

      I hadn't expected to be back in Cobh so soon.
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    • Day50

      The 12th, Marching Season.

      July 12, 2021 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Maeve drove me into Cork to get the 05.00 bus to Dublin.

      As we drove through the north on the Letterkenny bus it was interesting to see people in the various towns preparing for the parades.
      I think many Orange Order members today would find it strange that the Battle of the Boyne was part of a wider European war between the French (James ll) and Europe (William of Orange) and that the Pope was supporting and helping to financing William.
      Such are the sometimes strange facts of history.

      While travelling through Derry on the way back, the bus had to stop to allow a parade to pass.
      Due to covid there were only limited amounts marching. Still it was interesting to see.

      I arrived back in Buncrana at 13.45 and did some provisioning before getting a taxi to the marina.
      I called to Jim & Angela and discovered that they had been to Derry by road while I was away.
      We decided that seeing that it would add two days to our journey sailing up Lough Foyle to Derry and back down again, that we would give it a miss.
      I was a wee bit disappointed as I was looking forward to being able to tie up in the city and seeing the changes since I last visited in 1982 during 'The Troubles'.

      I headed back to Eureka and got her and myself ready to leave tomorrow.
      We are heading around Malin Head the most northerly part of Ireland and from now on instead of heading further away from East Ferry, each passing day will bring us closer.
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    • Day47


      July 9, 2021 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Next morning I had a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit as the sun shone down and then began doing a few jobs on ‘Eureka’ when a knock on the hull brought me up on deck. It was Jim & Angela checking to see if I was still alive.
      They were going to walk into Buncrana so I decided to join them.
      The walk was about 6 kms. with the first half along the sandy beach before we had to take to the road and after the lovely peace and quite on the beach it took us a while to get used to the noise of the passing traffic on the road.

      The town was nice and you could see the council had done a lot of recent work but even though it had wide paths it we couldn’t find a coffee shop that we could sit outside or even a bench to take the weight off our feet as we drank. In fact it was hard to find a coffee shop, full stop.
      We improvised by getting takeaways from Super Value and finding some nearby seating.
      We later wandered down to the town pier and ordered a taxi back.

      I spent the rest of the afternoon making sure ‘Eureka’ was ok to leave for a couple of days and packing for my journey home before heading over to have another of Angela’s lovely dinners.
      Later some of Jim & Angela’s family arrived to join them for a few days.

      I had an early night as I have an early start in the morning.
      Gary has kindly offered to drive me into Buncrana to get the bus. While the bus does pass the marina entrance, it does not stop.
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