Hi Crazysails friends.
It’s been a bit challenging to find wifi to update our blog (and complete some work on-the-go too), so apologies for the recent delays but I hope you are still enjoying our Round Britain Sailing Challenge news, when we can post.
In the last blog I promised a separate update focusing on our time in ‘Dublin’s fair city’ of the song, so here it is… BUT before we begin, I must tell you some REALLY EXCITING NEWS! Thanks to donations from many of you and, during our stay in Dublin, the exceptional generosity of brother in law, Trev, we have hit the HALF WAY mark in our fundraising for the National Autistic Society. Very, very many thanks. Having heard from the National Autistic Society Community Fundraiser this week, I know they are very appreciative of all your contributions.
After several long sails and poor weather (last blog), crazysails readers will recall we decided to have a slightly extended stay in Dun Laoghaire and to take in the sights of Dublin, a city Simon makes a bi-annual pilgrimage to watch the rugby international but one which I have not had the pleasure to visit, until now.
Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dunleery) is situated to the south of Dublin and is connected to the centre via the very efficient and regular Dart railway. It is home to no less than four yacht clubs – the Royal Irish, the Royal St George’s, the National Yacht club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Sailing Club. We visited the Royal Irish on our first evening. This is the oldest club and has a very palatial building but was also rather formal so we made our way to the Royal St George’s, which also has magnificent facilities and a beautiful view over the harbour but was also incredibly welcoming and helpful offering to share our information about our trip, inviting us to use the internet there and also accepting us as visitors to their Fruit de Mer evening on Saturday. This was a very enjoyable evening, especially as the evening was masterminded by a club member who is Dun Laoghaire’s local fishmonger and is a real character. The evening’s more formal entertainment moved on into a more impromptu singsong around the piano, led by amazing pianist Duncan, the fishmonger and several others – we had the Irish favourites such as Molly Malone and Danny Boy, as well as some Abba. Thanks to Gina (Flag Officer, Social) and Amy (Marketing) and Laura (Admin) for arranging this for us – a great night at a great yacht club.
The Culture Trail
Friday saw us visit all the well-known tourist destinations in the city. we started with the Dublin Castle area then walked down to Trinity College. There we saw the Book of Kells and the amazing and mind blowing Long Room, which is the library filled with so many old books and the beautiful harp, which is supposed to be the original harp which is the symbol of Ireland. This room absolutely oozed history, so much so you could absolutely feel it – I loved it.
After the historical culture, we thought we had better try some of that other culture Dublin is famous for, so via the statue of Molly Malone, we then headed up to the Guinness Storehouse. I realise from the comments on my Facebook post that I must be the only person in the universe who hasn’t been to the Storehouse before but I feel I have now come of age. I even tried a pint of the black stuff in the skytop bar – which, sorry everyone, I still don’t really like, so Simon had to do the honours. I have to say we both enjoyed the tour, which was really interesting, though Simon has done it before so I think it was the pint of Guinness at the end that was most interesting to him!
After the Guinness factory, we decided to continue the cultural tour in the famous Temple Bar area where having listened to some amazing Irish music and tested some more Irish hospitality, things got a little silly and we ended up having our faces painted and buying local hats – which I immediately lost and arrived back at the boat without it however my crazy, lovely husband sneaked back there the next day, while I was working, to get me a replacement. I think that’s why he went back anyway!
Our final real Dublin experience was of the Leinster Hurling final at Croke Park, the Gaellic national sports stadium. Before the match an old rugby friend of Simon’s (and Phil Mead and Martin Eley’s) arrived at the boat. Jon Dineen is a real Irish character who chats a lot and lives locally in Blackrock. He kindly offered to take us to Croke Park and show us some of the sites of Dublin on the way, so we had a guided tour around Googletown and the canal area, the embassies and rich roads, with some beautiful houses before being deposited at Croke Park – very many thanks Jon.
Now, neither of us knew anything about Hurling until that afternoon – and really we still don’t know much, except it is an exciting, crazy game played by crazy, very fit, passionate sportspeople – who are amateurs, so not paid. The first game was Dublin v. Killkenny (winners)and was rather slower so gave us a chance to get to grips with how the score worked; this was also helped by some passionate fans, who sat next to us and helpfully explained some key points. The second game, which was the final, was mental but there was a brilliant atmosphere and the Wexford and Gallway (winners) freely mixed together with a friendly rivalry.
We left Dun Laoghaire Marina on Tuesday, having stayed an extra day due to the rather heavy previous day at the Hurling at Croke Park, another evening in Temple Bar and the realisation we hadn’t completed the passage plans (not good). So given Monday wasn’t looking great for sailing and I really needed to do some work, I set up office in the laundry, which is one of the more unusual places I have worked but it seemed the best place to get internet at the marina and I was able to multi-task doing our washing and plough through some work, while Simon serviced the autohelm and did some supplies shopping.
We’d like to thank the marina staff at DL Marina, who were so helpful and friendly and really made our stay very enjoyable and along with harbour and marina staff at Neylands in Wales, Killmore Quays, and Arklow really supported our trip for the National Autistic Society – thank you, your support is appreciated. We have now arrived at Carlingford Lough, which we will tell you about in our next blog, but the staff here have also been amazing and shared our post – thank you to you too.
Yet again, I am deferring the bests and worst of the trip but the list is gradually refining itself and we have had some amazing times and met some fantastic people – now weather….. if you could achieve the same loveliness, it would be really wonderful! Who knows… the next week looks set fair, everything crossed!
For now though Crazysails friends, it’s farewell to Dublin, Guinness, Molly Malone, cockles and muscles and the lovely people we have met here and off to the land of….. nod!
Next stop Carlingford Lough (as guessed in our Facebook competition by Carole and Chris from Deal – prize on the way), then Bangor and a crossing to Scotland.
For now, though, thanks again for following us but for now,