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14th June, 2014


This morning early we entered Bantry Bay under a bright blue sky, light winds and piloted by dolphins. The scenery of the bay is spectacular. We arrived at the pilot station at 11 am anchor and were ready for the passengers to go ashore at noon. It was a fair run in to the tender landing ashore, so we had hired a shore tender to help us transfer the passengers between the ship and the shore. Glengarriff, noted for its Italian gardens, is a small sea side village positioned on the sheltered Bantry Bay surrounded by high rugged mountains pocked with old bogs being famed for peat.

The tour today was Molly’s Cottage and Kenmare. This tour takes one on a scenic drive through a rocky valley and heather covered hills into County Kerry, where the tour visits Molly’s Cottage. This is a traditional farm museum. After the farm and cottage we continued on to Kenmare, founded in 1670 and three time winner of the Irish Tidy Towns competition in recent years.


Scenic Gougane Barra begins with a scenic drive through Ballylickey via Kealkill to the serene and beautiful setting of Gougane Barra, where St Finbarr, patron saint of Cork, is said to have built a hermitage in the seventh century before moving his mission to Cork.  The magnificent mountain scenery and dense forests rise above a tiny lake and a picturesque island, connected to the mainland by an artificial causeway. After a good look around and visiting the small 18th-century church, St Finbarr’s Oratory you could enjoy an Irish coffee in the local hotel before returning to the ship.

The magical ring of Beara, Glengarriff is the gateway to the Ring of Beara, the most spectacular peninsula in south-west Ireland. First stop is Castletownbear, where you can visit McCarthy’s Bar. Next stop is Eyeries, which is a historic village characterised by its cheerfully painted houses. It is also home to the international award-winning Milleens cheese. Then it’s on to Kemare, after which the tour returns to the ship.

For the passengers who wanted to discover the village and its surroundings independently, the tender dropped them of in the village.

For those passengers on board the cruise staff had organised and hosted different activities and the surroundings offered beautiful views.  All on board was 6.30pm. After all passengers were on board we recovered the tenders and the tender platform and started to heave our two anchors. Due to the restricted anchorage in this part of the bay I had used one forward anchor and the stern anchor to ensure that the ship would stay in the same heading and not swing around the bow anchor. This worked beautifully. After both anchors were up we sailed out of beautiful Bantry Bay and set course for Guernsey.

The evening started with cocktail hour in the Cooper’s Bar and early evening music for listening and dancing in the Drawing Room, followed by dinner. After dinner the Britannia Lounge hosted a performance of the Divertimento Trio presenting A Musical Journey around the World part 2 and the very popular Irish House Party returning with more Irish dancing, music and craic. This was followed by music for listening and dancing with the “You and Me Duo” in the Drawing Room and Late Night Musical Melodies with Lloyd Hulme at the piano in the Cooper’s Bar.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.