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The West coast - Dingle Peninsula to Donegal

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Fairwinds Round Ireland - The West Coast
Kilronan to Cashla Bay


Sunday 25th July Kilronan (Inishmore, Aran Islands)

Slept like logs – in the saloon, as the forepeak was damp and in total disorder after yesterday's 'interesting' sail. Eventually had brunch – Irish black pudding is chewily different – then went ashore at lunchtime for a walk.

Kilronan itself is mobbed with tourists, the Playa de las Americas of W. Ireland. The best known landmarks are very busy, so instead of heading for Dun Aengus we decided to walk to Dϊn Dϊchathair, the Black Fort. From here we walked along the cliff edge to the puffing holes – which weren't puffing, probably due to the fact that it was low water. The clifftop was deserted on this grey windy day. The whole island is limestone pavement, with the rocky landscape divided into tiny 'fields' by a maze of intricately constructed stone walls. It is probably the most extraordinary landscape I have ever walked through.

Aran Landscape 1
Aran Landscape 2
Aran Landscape 3

Had to have a couple of pints of Smithwicks in a handy pub to rehydrate, then back to the boat for Haggis again. After dinner we repaired to Jonika for beers and gossip. We finished the Inishgower, bringing on a malt crisis on Fairwinds. Luckily we were both developing a taste for Irish whisky by now.

Monday 26th July Kilronan – Cashla

Andrew and Gerry from Cirrus (Malo 96 based in Ballachulish and also going round Ireland clockwise – we had last seen them in Lawrence Cove) dropped in for coffee and made me paranoid with tales of blocked fuel filters. This had been nagging me since Jim Hall's episode in Samedi when he was towed into Kinsale, particularly when we had to motorsail in heavy seas – all that roling is sure to stir up any dirt, although I do try to keep the tank full and always fill from a can through a fine mesh funnel. Nonetheless, I now decided we needed spare filters for the rest of the trip. Not thinking clearly after the exceses of the night before, it took a while before I got the numbers off the existing filters and looked up a motor factors in Galway in the phone book.

We slipped Kilronan at two o'clock and had a very pleasant close reach across to Sruthan in Cashla Bay. Many of the visitors moorings here have local boats on them – we picked up one with a very nice long pickup on it, a very strong piece of polypropylene rope with a hard eye connector – obviously the usual user was away. There was another visitors mooring with a large hard dinghy left on it; later an immaculate Galway Hooker sailed up and picked it up.

Galway Hooker in Cashla Bay

Firing up the laptop to look for a phone number, I plugged in the inverter and everything went electrically pear shaped . . . the battery apparently drained to under 8V and the inverter shut down. Now every time we switched anything on with the domestic battery on line the voltage dropped away off the scale immediately, but with nothing switched on and the Aerogen going well the battery showed over 14V – all very bizarre and slightly alarming. I eventually traced the problem to a short in the 12V socket, which was rebuilt and the fuse replaced, and the whole control panel sprayed with Teflon spray. No idea what caused the symptoms – electricity is quite beyond me.

It was too late to go into Galway now, so we investigated bus times and walked up to the village for a pint. Everyone was speaking Irish, and all the signs were strictly Irish only, no English translations – really like being abroad. (Some useful information if you are in a pub – Fir means Gents and the other one is Ladies). Bought some lambs liver in the Spar on the way back – all the shops seem to stay open very late – and had delicious liver and onions for tea.

Sruthan Quay, Cashla Bay
Aran Islands Cashla Bay Roundstone Inishbofin Inishturk Frenchport Teelin