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24th August, 2016


Leaving Cobh before lunch gave us the time to take in the scenery as we travelled around Ireland’s southern coast.

The lights on the old Head of Kinsale and Fastnet Rock passed by relatively close, clear in the good visibility and light winds, then, later in the afternoon we came upon the Skelligs. These majestic islands rear from the sea in jagged splendour, Little Skellig covered in the guano of thousands of gannets. Great Skellig, however, has no such stains, just a long man made track winding its way round from a landing on the south east side up to a light house, and then continuing up to what remains of a monastery, high above on the western cliff. Monastic life is believed to have started here between the 6th and 8th centuries and continued possibly until the 13th century. The islands, since 1996 have been classed as a World heritage Site, and it is possible in good weather to make the 8 mile sea voyage from the mainland in order to visit the six stone beehive cells and two oratories that remain. You’d need to be fit though as they sit on a terrace six hundred feet above the waves.

The pilot in Killybegs is a familiar face, not because I’ve met him several times over the years, but because he seems to have a remarkable resemblance to Captain Kees, different accent of course. We had a fine day there, arriving in good time for those folks on the afternoon tours to also take a quick run into the little town. The sheltered harbour is very much geared up to the large trawlers that use it as a base, but at present it also seems to be a parking lot for wind turbines waiting to be delivered to their intended location.

We left on schedule, with my intention to give a ‘surprise and delight’ that was not on the itinerary. My fingers were firmly crossed in the hope for good weather.

Captain Philip Rentell

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