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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

1st July, 2012

The overnight journey, rounding Land's End and up through the traffic separation scheme, was in relatively windy conditions, but affected us little on board. By the time we had closed the Irish coast the swell had reduced and a bright sunny morning greeted those who chose to rise early to watch our arrival. The River Lee was in full ebb as we made our approach to Cobh, the port for Cork. The impressive neo-Gothic St. Colman’s Cathedral dominated the skyline above the brightly painted houses, the pretty view gradually filling the bridge windows as we approached until finally the pilot gently manoeuvred us onto the two large floating pontoons that are effectively the berth. These are so placed against the river wall to ensure the ships have enough depth in which to float comfortably at all states of the tide.

In this century year, of course the Titanic is very newsworthy and Cobh, or Queenstown as it was known then, was the last call before its fatal voyage. The nearby heritage centre, which is part of the railway station, had apparently even more to remind visitors of the infamous tragedy than was usually on display. The pilot also told me that the locals had celebrated the event in style and dignity, with a huge open air concert on the promenade, a cast of hundreds and an audience of thousands. No doubt the Guinness, which just happened to be an added inclusive to our walking tour, was flowing well that night.

A few brave souls went on a 'Rib Safari' out of Kinsale, while there was quite a number who travelled up to Cork and onto Blarney Castle. Some said that they had actually kissed the famous Blarney Stone, and I do recall having seen a few practising, perhaps unknowingly, in the Drawing Room over the previous few days. For us it was emergency drill day and by the time that was finished the rain had started to fall. The wind came up as a cold front came over the hills and the afternoon ended somewhat grey, before fortunately drying up a little before we departed

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