Ireland: A Homecoming

Arriving in Kinsale Ireland was quite the culmination of our Atlantic crossing. The tenacious spirit of my mom, a 100 percent Irish woman, was palpable here.

Father and son heading out when the fog lifted
I don’t even know what to call this
This sweet girl stayed on the docks with her best friend

Chilly mornings and icy water temps didn’t faze the exuberant children and adults as they navigated in the fog in tiny vessels with either oars or sails. Bravery manifests itself in many ways; sailing across the Atlantic takes one type of courage, but Alembic seemed a mighty ship compared to these mini watercraft all around us. There was some type of regatta underway and no shortage of enthusiastic participants.
With solid ground under our feet finally, after 9 days of twelve foot seas, we headed for a pub. The first one we stopped in didn’t disappoint. I was not really in the mood for a beer, but the music lured me in.

Sisters dancing to the band
Grandma plays the spoons

Watching the children bust out into Irish Dance routines (while wearing their soccer clothes) and grandma pull out spoons from her purse and join in the merriment gave me a taste for the true neighborhood gathering.

Al and Ann in front of her church in Galway

Next, it was off to visit my brother, Al, and his wife, Ann, in Galway. They were there for a wedding and a funeral. Emotions were covering the spectrum as we met many of Ann’s large family. Paul and Margaret generously gave us a room in their gorgeous home.

Paul and Margaret and one of their three daughters
Paul’s spirited Irish Draught Horses

Carrying on in our rental car, we visited the Aran Islands, staying in a teepee in Doolin after spending a glorious day on bikes, ferries, and foot.

My family used to call me Nelly
Aran Islands
Mama and her calf
A gorgeous pony
A farmer tends to his wagon horse
On the ferry
Our glamping teepee
Phenomenal Folk Music

Back to Alembic, we left the dock to drop anchor in the river. Anchoring is preferable for us because it’s free, peaceful, and closer to nature. Unfortunately, our trusty windlass was acting up again, so Bill dove into the tiny space up forward to explore. Being small has its advantages as he squeezed into the anchor locker.

In our anchor chain locker

We tried to have a new motor shipped to us in the Azores, but the delays were becoming comical, so we redirected it to Kinsale. It showed up just in time. Our grand plans for hauling the huge anchor and lengthy chain by hand never had to be put into action.

The famous Bulman
Stretching out after the cramped anchor locker work

After a two day stop in Cork, only a three hour journey from Kinsale, we headed to Dublin, a 26 hour sail up the east coast of Ireland. The night was ridiculously cold and dressing like an eskimo still didn’t keep me warm, but I was grateful to be in this glorious water, sharing space with so many bird pairs and leaping miniature dolphins.
We enjoyed exploring the city, getting a taste of the culture with a visit to the busy downtown, a tour through Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin’s oldest building built in 1030, and an amazing Dance show.

pubs spilling out onto the streets of Dublin
Christ Church Cathedral
Irish Dancing

While I wished I could have stayed another month, we were eager to see more of Europe, so two weeks after arriving in Ireland, we departed Dún Laoghaire (pronounced Done Leary), heading east on August 17.

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