Ireland

Ireland
We have been in Ireland for 4 days today. On Horta we saw the weather reports before we left and hoped that we would have time to visit Ireland, if only just for one night. Then it turned out we needed to take shelter in Crookhaven (very most south west corner, county Cork), a low was heading our way and was deepening with every 6 hours of our weather report.. And so we did, but it has become more than just taking shelter, or a one day visit, it has become a new exploration, a new view on Ireland.
In 2006 we stayed in Ireland for 2,5 / 3 months, we sailed with groups and with individuals – this was our first year of owning the Tecla. It is now 8 years ago, and although nothing really changed (O’sullivans in Crookhaven still has the same bar tender – a funny and extremely helpful man, and the scenery is still breath-taking) our feeling of being here now, is totally different.
We have owned the Tecla now for 8 years, we have been sailing around the world for the last 1,5 years, we have been exploring unknown coasts in faraway lands – and now find ourselves at anchor at Cape Clear Island, an island that is awfully close to a comparison with the Falkland Islands.  It is remote, it is beautiful, the people are nice and one can go for long walks, with a pub at the end off the walk. Coffee is served in big mugs, instead of small porcelain, beers come by the pint and an Irish Coffee just tastes better in Ireland!
Between Crookhaven and Cape Clear Island we had a beautiful day sail. We set off in the morning and tacked our way to Cape Clear. We found a very small inlet at the north side of the island and dropped our anchor just outside, as not to bother the ferry coming in and out with young Gealic students. Although the sail was amazing, with whales and dolphins, with sun and wind, it was nice to drop anchor and go for a long walk the next day. Some went to the utmost south corner and stood in the wind and spray of the ocean looking out on Fastnet Rock, others went to explore the ruins – we met up in the pub and then back on board for dinner.
We stayed for a day and a half and left on Monday morning, setting sail for Castletownsend. The first bit we had to tack our way through a rocky narrow to then take a short tack out to sea and a long one into the ‘loch’ that Casteltownsend is in, from there a downwind run to our anchorage.
In the morning we got a few showers, one that seemed a bit windy, even for our reefed mainsail and second jib.. but it past us with just a few gusts and after that we had beautiful blue skies with high build up cumulus clouds. Our downwind run around the rocky entrance was amazing. We had already past so many scenic rocks, but doing it down wind with an ‘Oud Wijf’ in the mainsail (this is where the main boom in sheeted in, the halliards eased out to get a really round and full sail, were only the gaff gybes, this way you do not have to sheet in every time the wind shifts) was just amazing! We entered the village with mizzen, main and forestaysail still up. From the water the town seems to consist of only castles, very beautiful! We dropped the forestaysail, turned to the wind, let the main down, dropped anchor and then the mizzen.
Such a nice day.
Today we set sail for England, the wind should turn to the South West, if we have a fast run, a few hours on the Isles of Scilly would be perfect!