Adrigole was lovely, but Glengarriff at the top end of Bantry Bay beckoned. This is the legendary harbour for cruising in Ireland. It's where the Irish Cruising Club was born and the place that must be checked off the cruising destinations list in Ireland. We were really looking forward to exploring this iconic anchorage. I hoped we would not be disappointed. We sailed past Bere Island, promising to stop in another time.
We weren't disappointed. We had a great stay in Glengarriff. Our first impression was that it was akin to the Adirondack lake region, but full of salt water. It was a rocky inlet lush with forest and spectacular "camps" all around. With small islets strewn throughout, it was truly reminiscent of a lake rather than a sea loch.
We dropped anchor in the wide open anchorage at 1300 hours. There were more boats here than any place else in Ireland, four sailboats and one power cruiser besides ours. And the anchorage was vast. I kept imagining what this would be like as an inlet off Long Island Sound in NY. It would be filled to the brim with boats there.
Lunch of prawn salad, then shore duty. Our first port of call was the amazing garden island of Garinish. We spent the afternoon exploring the restoration works of these amazing subtropical treasures. An Italian Garden, a Greek pavilion, the formal walled gardens -- all in various stages of restoration. Beautiful old trees and amazing specimens from all over the world. Impressive in a natural sort of way.
Afterwards, a walk through the picturesque town with a mountain at the end of it, fresh bread and chocolate chip cookies from the Spar, a pint with spontaneous traditional music on the street, a walk to the Blue Pool, dinner of local mussels at the bistro and back home again. It was a very good day, and they speak English here as a bonus. So who misses going to Spain?
So far we've spent one week underway and have three weeks left to go. Some minor decisions to be made. Left or right when we exit Bantry. I think we can handle that.
Part 2: The Ewe Experience