Photogenic then and now!

My Mum in 1922 ish

My Mum in 1922 ish

94! Who would believe it!

94! Who would believe it!

The weather was not in our favour and the Garden Tea Party that was planned had to be moved indoors, but Hey Ho – we are in Ireland.
What a glamorous lot we turned out to be in our 1920’s outfits!
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Like all Seward (my maiden name!) gatherings there was entertainment…. Songs, poetry readings, music and a balancing act.

Our son has a hidden talent!

Our son, Dan, has a hidden talent!

My Mum read a poem she used to recite as a little girl ….. ‘There are Fairies at the Bottom of my Garden’ and Uncle Geoff, who’s 92, recited the whole of ‘There’s a Green Eyed Yellow Idol to the North of Kathmandu’ by heart ……They are both truly amazing!

92 and still performing

92 and still performing

A wonderful day was had by all….. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

………and we all met up for lunch on Sunday….minus Geoff and my sister, Libby!

Having made the Herculean effort to get himself here and having had a traumatic flight over, Geoff was exhausted and succumbed to a chest infection and needed to be looked after in hospital, so the focus for the rest of the week has been on making sure he recovers and visiting as often as possible.

I just hope I have the same indomitable spirit when I get to 90+, without the trials of a body that won’t live up to my expectations of it!

On Thursday we had a girls afternoon out, away from the hospital, and we took my Mum to visit a nearby garden that is trying hard to avoid closure. The financial cut backs are everywhere here in Ireland and one can’t help but feel that if they keep hitting the soft targets, there won’t be a heart left to the country.

My 'arty' shot in the garden

My ‘arty’ shot in the garden

Geoff was eventually well enough to fly home on Sunday 23rd and Marcus gallantly offered to fly back with him and deliver him to a convalescent home near his home in Dorset, so I’m here on my own for a couple of days, relaxing.

Wednesday

Spent the day getting the mobile phones unlocked for the various sim cards we will need on our travels. It’s only when you don’t have access to the Internet, that you realise how totally dependent on it we are becoming! I trawled the Charity shops looking for costumes for Saturday.
The Clan is gathering….Mummy arrived on Monday, we arrived Tuesday and Liney and Jackie arrived today. Friday is the big influx of all the cousins and Geoff and Saturday is the 1920s themed tea party to celebrate my Mum’s 94th birthday. Looking forward to it.

Thursday & Friday

Waterford is a great city and one not to be missed if you are ever sailing this way. We often want to get as far as we can and overlook places like Waterford that require a detour!

Moored up and settled.

Moored up and settled.

We have spent the last couple of days going to the theatre, shopping and sampling a few of the towns hostelries which have live music. Preparations for the ‘Gathering’ are in full swing and we are now decided on our costumes for the day. All the cousins and Uncle Geoff have arrived …… The Clan is gathered!

Tuesday

We decided to make a break for it and head around Hook Head to Waterford. Force 6s and 7s were forecast for the evening, so tucking up in Waterford was preferable to a lumpy night at Dunmore East.

The waves were big and confused and we had quite a lot of green water on the foredeck.

Testa Rossa down in a trough!

Testa Rossa down in a trough!

Testa Rossa followed us out and was well reefed.

Hook appearing from behind a wave.

Hook appearing from behind a wave.

We got to the Hook lighthouse, avoiding the over falls and caught the tide up to Waterford.

It was a shame the weather had changed to rain as we passed Passage East, where my sister Libby lives, the photos are decidedly grey!

Passage East in the gloom.

Passage East in the gloom.

From Hook Head up to Waterford is 12 miles and when we eventually got there we moored up on a pontoon which is right in the middle of the city.

Easy access to the town

Easy access to the town

Monday

What a difference a day makes…..our first cloudy day for ages.

With a weather forecast of high winds and rain, we decided to stay put here in Kilmore Quay and treat ourselves to a visit to one of the biggest chandleries we’ve been to!

It had everything, including the vacuum extractor pump to replace the engine oil, that we’ve been looking for in every chandlery from Fraserburgh………. so we spent the day coaxing the old oil out, preparing the forepeak and crew cabin for our visitors, catching up with the blog, cleaning the fuel filters, replacing the oil in the bowthruster and generally getting on top of all those jobs that get sidelined when the sun shines.

We were planning to move to Dunmore East today, but having phoned him up, the HM says we would have to raft out in a very uncomfortable swell, so if the weather improves enough, we’ll move tomorrow and make our way up towards Waterford. There are couple of interesting looking anchorages en route that we may pop into.

Sunday

The hottest day of the year so far. Marvelous! We took a stroll around the village.

Kilmore Quay village

Kilmore Quay village. 

A castle turned into a farm. A touch of turning  swords and plough shears!

A castle turned into a farm. A touch of turning swords and plough shears!

We walked down to the shore and looked across at The Saltees.

The Saltees, two miles out from Kilmore

The Saltees, two miles out from Kilmore

Having watched several motor boats being launched from their trailers to go over to the islands, we decided to launch our own dinghy for an afternoon’s adventure!

Leaving the beach behind

Leaving the beach behind

The sea was so calm, we were soon up on the plane and zipping along.

Hand on the tiller, hat on the head and away we go!!

Hand on the tiller, hat on the head and away we go!!

The approach to the landing beach is strewn with rocks, but some careful paddling saw us ashore.

Life's a real beach!

Life’s a real beach!

The western island of the Saltees is privately owned and the family took it over in 1954, when the first owner proclaimed himself Prince Michael the First! When the family is in residence, they fly a flag and there is a notice on the beach asking that visitors leave by 4.30. We walked up the hill to find Prince Michael’s throne at the top, overlooking the ‘principality’.

Prince Michael's throne

Prince Michael’s throne

Marcus, The Pretender

Marcus, The Pretender

The Saltees are home to one of the largest Gannet colonies in Ireland and there are Puffin burrows on the western end of the island.

Part of the Gannet colony

Part of the Gannet colony. We didn’t walk far enough to see the puffins.

This one's for you Dawn and Ian!

This one’s for you Dawn and Ian!

The island reminded me a lot of the Scillies …mmmmmmm!

A little attempt at some mackrel fishing in the bay on the way back, but the fish weren’t biting, so back to the Saltee Chipper for an excellent fish supper.

Another great day doing something wonderful on the spur of the moment.

Saturday

Arklow Fish Dock

Arklow Fish Dock

It was another beautiful warm sunny morning and we were up and ready to move at 0845.

We had arranged with ‘Inizi’, the Sail Against Cancer boat, and ‘Testa Rossa’, a Sadler Starlight 38, that we would all leave together to head for Kilmore Quay. We had a slight delay on leaving, as one of the logging cargo boats, having offloaded, was turning in the river….an incredible sight as there couldn’t have been more than a couple of metres to spare.

Inizi coming off her mooring further up the river.

Inizi coming off her mooring further up the river.

Once out on the water, the wind picked up and we were under sail. Having started together we then went our seperate ways.

Inizi under sail before we parted company

Inizi under sail before we parted company

We had another great sail and were making good time to round Carnsore Point… the bottom right hand corner of Ireland…with tides in our favour.

We were joined for a good 10 minutes by a seal that was playing around the back of the boat and then diving under the hull, only to reappear behind us again.

A very poor shot of the seal...by the time I'd got the camera, he'd seen enough of us.

A very poor shot of the seal…by the time I’d got the camera, he’d seen enough of us.

As we were passing Rosslaire, there was a call on the radio from Testa Rossa. They were having trouble with their engine overheating and were having to head for Carnsore Point and it’s notorious overfalls with no engine. We went out to shepherd them in and give a tow if they needed it ……. which they did, just as the tide was on the turn, the wind was dropping and Carnsore Point was looming.
We spent a while sorting out a tow line….heads down, we nearly ran into the back of them!!

Testa Rossa in tow

Testa Rossa in tow

With very little fuss we managed to get them in tow and made our way at 4/5 knots the last 9nm across the bay and through St Patrick’s Bridge.

Coming through 'The Bridge'. You can see the current behind.

Coming through ‘The Bridge’. You can see the current behind.

At last we were approaching the harbour and Testa Rossa could risk putting on her engine for the last few hundred metres to the marina.

Kilmore Quay tantalizingly close, with swirling tidal eddies.

Kilmore Quay tantalizingly close, with swirling tidal eddies.

Once in, the harbour all was calm and peaceful.

Reflections...... on the water and on the day and lessons learned

Reflections…… on the water and on the day and lessons learned

All three boats safely in harbour, all nine of us got together in our cockpit for a ‘sun downer’ or two and then a trip to the ‘Chipper’ to bring back dinner.

Friday

We pulled up the anchor and set off at 1145, bound for Wicklow. The sailing was so good that we decided to push on to Arklow! It’s great to be able to change plans and alter course on a whim.

Arklow has a marina, but access is restricted for larger boats, so we arranged with the HM to go alongside one of the Wind Farm catermerans in the fishing dock. Having secured ourselves, it was quite a climb up onto the cat.

The Yellow Cat we moored against

The Yellow Cat we moored against…..quite a high freeboard!

It was a longish walk up to the bridge and round to the sailing club. On the way round we noticed the Sail Against Cancer Ireland boat that we had last seen in Ardglass. There are 5 people, from Shannon Sailing Club, who are fulfilling the Captain’s dream of sailing around Ireland in his Jenneau 28. Two of the crew have had cancer. The captain, Chris, is in remission and the navigator, Dave, is due to have his last chemo this weekend. He’s travelling to Cork and back in a day and will be back onboard by the evening! We met up with them at the SC, over a couple of Guinesses, and found ourselves being invited back for dinner.

Cosy, but great company

Cosy, but great company

Once again we have met more friends on our way ……… and on our wavelength!

They have a Facebook page:- ‘Sail Against Cancer Ireland’ where you can follow their progress if you’re interested. Just press the ‘Like’ if you visit.

Wednesday

We spent today doing odd jobs onboard. Marcus bought 20ltrs of engine oil and started to get ready to replace the old with the new and I spent some time catching up with the blog. Unfortunately the clever little pump, that was supposed to draw the oil up through the dip stick hole, didn’t fit; consequently the aft cockpit is rapidly turning into a ‘back yard’ with all the bits waiting for a job to be done. We’ve been told there’s an amazing chandlery at Kilmore Quay, so hopefully we will be able to get the necessary bits there.

Tomorrow we are heading down towards Dublin and plan to stop over in Howth overnight. It will be a shame to leave here. It’s been a delight to spend some time here and relax a little. Looking out over the harbour is an entertainment in itself. The local herons are very tame and appear whenever there’s a new boat in.

Herons that think they're seagulls

Herons that think they’re seagulls

Thursday

An early start and we said goodbye to Ardglass.

Goodbye Ardglass

Goodbye Ardglass!

The sea was flat calm as we motored out past Killough and the light house.

A view of Killough to add to my memories

A view of Killough to add to my memories

A very colourful lighthouse for what used to be a very grey Killough

A very colourful lighthouse for what used to be a very grey Killough

The wind began to blow and we hoisted the sails. The 3 knots we made gradually increased to 8 and we had a great sail all the way down to just north of Howth to an anchorage behind an island called Ireland’s Eye. (We thaught it looked more like Dan’s broken tooth than an eye!)

Ireland's Eye. We were anchored just to the leaft of this photo.

Ireland’s Eye. We were anchored just to the left of this photo.

This was the first night we’d spent at anchor with our new Manson …. it did a splendid job and we both slept well. Putting the MOB position on the plotter was a great idea, Ian, we could easily check we weren’t dragging.

Tuesday

We got the bikes out of their bags and cycled the 3 or so miles into Killough. Visiting Killough after 55 year’s absence filled me with excitement and trepidation.

I have such vivid memories of an idyllic childhood in Killough, where the sun always shone and days were spent playing on the farm or down by the harbour.  I was scared that the reality experienced in adulthood would rob me of my treasured childhood memories.

My first view of Killough

My first view of Killough

As we entered it was just as I remembered with the trees lining the street.

The trees don't look fifty years older!

The trees don’t look fifty years older!

I immediately spotted our first house, Paletine House, where Liney was born. We used to go up into the attic and meet up with the neighbour’s girls, Elizabeth and Christine Nelson. The house had been joined at one time and they hadn’t got round to separating the attics.

Paletine House.....Very grand.

Paletine House…..Very grand.

House .. Lane ..School

House .. Lane ..School

Next to the house was the leafy lane down to the church, with the school Chris and I used to go to on the other side. I remember sitting in Mrs Cray’s classroom, looking out of this window, watching Aunty Nancy (Mrs Nelson) sitting out on the window sill  cleaning the upstairs window.

I remember looking out of this window, watching Aunty Nancy cleaning the sash window.

I remember looking out of this window, watching Aunty Nancy cleaning the sash window.

The school is now a youth and community building, but apart from the coat of paint, it was just as I remembered.

The School today

The School today

We walked on down past the church and along the track that I knew would lead to the back of the second house we lived in…..sure enough, there it was. Gone are the stables and pig sties, but the man doing the garden remembered where they had been so I knew I had the right house…… no.14 Castle Street.

Looking back up the lane to No 14

Looking back up the lane to the rear of No 14

The front of No 14. The middle two dormers and both the green and brown doors.

The front of No 14. The middle two dormers and both the green and brown doors.

On along the lane to the bay and the quay. This had changed, it was not the dilapidated stone pier that I remembered with a ruined tower. There had been repairs and refurbishments in the 80’s, but the layout was the same.

The old tower refurbished

The old tower refurbished

The quay with a boat thatcould have been there 55 years!

The quay with a boat thatcould have been there 55 years!

Looking at the wreck at the end of the wall took me back to the time Chris was held upside down by his ankle over the water. The owner of a boat, very similar to this one, had caught us trying to get on-board. When I add this memory to the one of peeping through the gaps in the door of the old tower and seeing rifles stacked like a stook of corn, my adult mind suspects we had stumbled on some gun smugglers …… they did a very good job of scaring us off!

This was where we saw the guns.

This was where we saw the guns.

I have always liked the smell of seaweed when the tide is out, it makes me feel good, whereas most people think it stinks.     Standing on the quay, looking out over the harbour, I realised that the smell and the place go together…. all became clear ….. the smell simply reminds me of happy days spent here in Killough.

The church from thequay at low tide

The church from thequay at low tide.                     Aaaaah!….Killough

Up from the beach to the ‘top of the town’ …..we were never allowed up there near the post office….that was where the Teddy Boys hung out! It was also where the pubs were, so we stopped off for an hour or so in the Saddle and Sail
…very aptly named as we were on our bikes and moored in Ardglass.

The major change in Killough was Duffy’s store. Gone were the four big windows and the huge arched doorway, but inside the modern frontage there was the same emporium, selling everything including the kitchen sink!

The delivery van, that brought us our new gas cylinders, with the new store behind.

The delivery van, that brought us our new gas cylinders, with the new store behind.

We met two of old Thomas Duffy’s sons, who were delighted to talk about the Killough I remembered and produced a painting of the old store of my memory. When they renovated,last year, they took up the old door step which they have placed outside as a seat. It was surprisingly bigger than I remembered.

I must have walked over this stone ..... it gives some idea of the size of the old doorway

I must have walked over this stone ….. it gives some idea of the size of the old doorway

So on down memory lane to see the Parochial hall where I had my BCG jab when I was 4 ….. TB was rife in the area. It put me off injections for life…. I still have to lie down or faint!

The one place that holds my least favourite memories

The one place that holds my least favourite memories

It was also where the traveling dentist, with his pedal driven drill, put me off dentists for life when he slow drilled one of my teeth when I was 6.

The time had come for us to cycle back home to the boat. What a great day.

A last look  back at Killough

A last look back at Killough

The fear I’ve had all these years about coming back and ruining my memories was totally unfounded…. Killough hasn’t changed…… and my treasured memories remain intact and, perhaps, even a little more shiny than before.

Monday

Ardglass Marina

Ardglass Marina

We pulled into Ardglass, the smallest marina we have been to. We took a stroll around the town and I tried, unsuccessfully, to dredge up some childhood memories of the place.

View from the boat. That's a bathing house in the foreground.

View from the boat. That’s a bathing house in the foreground.

This castle is now and old people's home. Stenna stairlifts must have rubbed their hands when they onverted it!

This castle is now and old people’s home. Stenna stair-lifts must have rubbed their hands when they converted it!

Ardglass has six ‘castles’ in the village and a history of wealth and siege. The youth of Ardglass gathered in the evening at the quay ……. nothing threatening, just having a good time jumping into the water, between the fishing boats, and being watched and cheered by their mates.

The fishing quay where the 'youth' gather.

The fishing quay where the ‘youth’ gather.

This is a lovely place, but like all small fishing ports, is struggling to keep it’s identity as the fishing industry declines. With it’s deep water harbour and 24 hr access there is hope that the wind farm industry may have a base here, but that is a contentious issue as it would mean Change……